Hey hockey fans! My name is Madison Packer and I am a senior on the Badgers women's hockey team. I am an English and creative writing major here at Wisconsin, and one of my passions along with hockey, is writing. This season I am teaming up with our athletic communications staff and my fellow Badgers to bring you a look at life as a member of the women's hockey team. I will be posting a blog, to keep fans and followers in the loop about games, activities and life in general for myself and my teammates. The blog will consist of game and practice information, behind the scenes experiences, and video interviews with my teammates on aspects related to our season and life away from the rink.
My intention with this blog is to inform fans about the players, and give you a look at the girl behind the mask. There will be opportunities for you to post to my blog and have questions answered by a Badger, updates about life on the road, and first hand reflections post game from the point of view of a player. The blog will be monitored and updated every week, several times, and will be the most accurate and reliable way to keep up with the team. I am looking forward to this opportunity and reaching out to the fans who have been supportive of our program over the years!
Stay tuned for the first official post, as I will report on the summer life we have been living these last eight weeks in Madison! The first blog will be packed with information from over the summer, and is something you won't want to miss. On Wisconsin!
Following the Orlando Summer League (July 7-12), which featured recent graduates Ryan Evans (Detroit Pistons) and Jared Berggren (Orlando Magic), the focus of GMs, scouts and fans shifts to Las Vegas where the 2013 NBA Summer League continues play from July 12-22.
Former Badgers Jordan Taylor (Toronto Raptors), Marcus Landry (LA Lakers), Brian Butch (NBA D-League Select), Mike Bruesewitz (Milwaukee Bucks) and Jon Leuer (Memphis Grizzlies) are all looking to earn their stripes in the Vegas summer league and solidify a spot in a teams' rotation or in the case of some, an invite to an NBA squad's fall camp. The Las Vegas Summer League, held at the Thomas & Mack Center and COX Pavilion, will tip off July 12 and concludes with the first-ever summer league championship game on Monday, July 22.
Butch displayed a bevy of solid performances during his time with the D-League select team, including a double-double (18 pts, 11 reb) in a tournament play win over the Minnesota T'Wolves. Despite a quiet outing in the D-League's Elite Eight loss to Charlotte, Butch finished with averages of 8.2 points and 4.8 rebounds per game it will be tough for GMs and scouts not to take a second and third look at Butch when evaluating and deciding on bigs to invite to fall camp this upcoming season.
Bruesewitz's summer league experience concluded on Friday with a 90-80 loss to the San Antonio Spurs. Despite only playing five minutes combined in the previous four games, Bruesewitz was a spark off the bench for the Bucks in their finale, earning 16 minutes and scoring five points on 2-for-3 shooting.
After a career in which he earned the label of the "Ultimate Glue Guy", Bruesewitz will take that same mindset and persona and attempt to turn it into a professional basketball career. That journey begins in the NBA Summer League for the St. Paul, Minn., native who is teaming up with the Milwaukee Bucks, where he will look to impress coaches, scouts and GMs alike, with his tenacity and passion, along with his fearlessness around the basket and his defensive intensity.
Due to his old school personality and experienced mentality both on and off the court, Landry has and always will be known as an elder statesman, regardless of where he plays. His play in the 2013 Las Vegas Summer League was on par with that persona as his numbers mirrored that of an experienced NBA role player.
Landry ended his summer league experience in the top-20 among all NBA summer league participants in scoring (15.2 ppg), while grabbing 4.7 rebounds per game for a LA Lakers squad that fell to top-seeded Golden State in the Elite Eight. Landry has already been tabbed by some as a definite to be invited to the Lakers' fall camp and the relationship between LA head coach Mike D'Antoni and Landry, dating back to their time in New York, only improves those chances.
Taylor garnered starts in two of Toronto's three summer league contests, but his minutes took a hit with the addition of former Marquette grad Dwight Buycks, who inked a deal with Toronto as a back-up PG for the 2013-14 season following the Orlando Summer League.
Berggren played sparingly for the Cleveland Cavaliers during the Las Vegas summer league. He tallied a rebound in nine minutes of action during the Cavs' final summer league contest, an 82-76 loss at the hands of the Miami Heat.
Garnering the start in his 2013 NBA Orlando Summer League finale, Berggren chipped in five points and four rebounds. The Princeton, Minn., native saw action in just two games for the Magic, earning the starting nod in his finale.
Although it wasn't enough to garner the win or go a long way in solidifying him a roster spot come fall, his final showing will hopefully give the former second-team All-Big Ten honoree something to build on heading into the latter part of the summer.
In his 2013 NBA Summer League finale, Evans not only garnered the start at shooting guard, but he also exploded for 19 points on 7-for-15 (.460) shooting from the field and a 3-for-4 (.750) performance from the free throw stripe. Unfortunately, his efforts weren't enough as Detroit fell to the Miami Heat in tournament play.
Evans ended his 2013 NBA Summer League experience with averages of 7.5 points and 3.0 rebounds per game and although his numbers aren't eye-popping, he definitely left NBA scouts and GMs in attendance at the Amway Center on Friday morning with something to salivate over.
Leuer, who recently signed a three-year contract to rejoin the Grizzlies beginning in 2013-14, was expected to compete for valuable minutes off of the bench next season. After spraining an ankle during the first practice in Las Vegas, it is doubtful Leuer will have an opportunity to begin that quest during the NBA Summer League.
Leuer did not appear in any of the Grizzlies' six summer league games due to the injury.
Ben Brust was shown a map of the Road America track at Elkhart Lake and prodded to pinpoint his location during last Saturday's NASCAR Nationwide Series race, the Johnsonville Sausage 200.
Using a pen to identify where he was standing on the winding 14-turn, 4-mile circuit that winds through scenic Kettle Moraine, he jabbed at the map and said, "I'm near a hamburger stand right here."
X marked the spot -- or in this case -- the spotter, who just happened to be the leading scorer on last season's Wisconsin basketball team. That would be Brust, a passionate NASCAR devotee.
Brust was spotting for Brendan Gaughan, a 37-year-old driver for Richard Childress Racing and a former walk-on basketball player at Georgetown University.
"Boom, right there," said Brust, pointing to the Road America map, "I had him (Gaughan) coming out of (turn) 6, the slight right at 7 and then I had a really good view of 8 from my angle."
If necessary, he could also partially follow the No. 26 car (Gaughan's car) through turns 9 and 10, otherwise known as the "Carousel" -- a lengthy tight-turning stretch that curves into a straightaway.
Whereas one full-time spotter is standard for oval racing, multiple spotters are necessary on a road course to see everything. Brust, a volunteer, was one of Gaughan's three spotters at Elkhart Lake.
Armed with a two-way radio, he might alert Gaughan to a driver that had spun out ahead of him by merely saying, "Spin in front, spin in front. Check up, check up. All clear, no pressure."
Short is sweet for Brust who has had some experience as a race fan monitoring scanners. "It's got to be precise and to the point," he said, "to make sure he (Gaughan) knows what's going on."
Less can be more. As such, there were some situations where Brust had to use his best judgment on what to say or not say. "Brendan trusted me," he said. "He knew I'd be able to handle it."
Brust and Gaughan were brought together by fate, resolve and racing.
A couple of years ago, ESPN basketball analyst Steven Bardo alerted Brust to Gaughan.
"He (Bardo) said, 'Hey, I heard you're into NASCAR, if you get a chance, you should check out Brendan,'" Brust recounted. "He put the name into my head and I went on Twitter and looked him up."
Brust learned that Gaughan, a Las Vegas native, was a 5-foot-9 walk-on guard at Georgetown; a practice player that wound up befriending Allen Iverson and seeing action in 25 career games.
Gaughan was also a placekicker on the Hoyas' football team, which competes within the NCAA's Football Championship Subdivision (FCS). In 1994, he converted on 39 of 40 extra points.
As a driver, Gaughan has steadily evolved from off-road to NASCAR. There had been some Twitter dialogue between Brust and Gaughan before meeting at the Chicagoland Speedway last year.
"I got a chance to talk with him," Brust said, "and hang out with him a little bit."
Following the UW's elimination from the NCAA tournament, Brust and two of his teammates, Jared Berggren and Dan Fahey, headed to Las Vegas, where Brust again crossed paths with Gaughan.
The Gaughan family has strong Vegas roots and resources, including the South Point Hotel and Casino, a sponsor for Brendan Gaughan, a veteran of the Sprint Cup and Nationwide series.
When Brust was at Road America last year, he was talking with one of Elliott Sadler's spotters, who suggested that if he had the time next year that he might look into spotting for a driver.
"It was kind of joking, kind of serious," Brust said. "But it gave me the idea."
Brust ran it past Gaughan during spring break in Las Vegas.
"When it came up," Brust related, "he said, 'Do you want to do it?' I said, 'Of course.' As it got closer (to the Elkhart Lake event), he texted, 'Still want to do it?' And I replied, 'Yeah, of course.'"
Gaughan made it happen. "Spotting isn't athletic," Gaughan told The Sporting News, "but you have to use your brain, you have to make decisions on the fly, which he (Brust) is used to (doing)."
Brust admitted to having some pre-race anxiety, not unlike the feeling prior to an opening tipoff.
"I was a little nervous," he said. "A nervous excitement, because I knew that I could do it. It's the same type of thing (in basketball); I'm there to help the team be successful.
"So I wanted to do my job and do it right."
As part of his pre-race preparation, Brust viewed a YouTube video featuring a road course driver, Ron Fellows, whose on-board camera taped laps 13-34 during a Road America event.
"I used it to memorize the track -- it's braking points and what are good passing zones -- just to give me some familiarity," said Brust, who had previously watched the race as a spectator from turn 5.
"That's where a lot of the action was, but I didn't know the whole track."
Brust arrived over an hour before the race to get his spotting directions from Team Gaughan and stake out his territory. He estimated that there were nearly 30 spotters in the same area.
"Everybody minds their own business and does their job," said Brust, who was originally scheduled to work out of the "Canada Corner" before a change in assignments.
Late in the race, when Gaughan encountered some difficulty in that corner, Brust fielded some disparaging tweets on Twitter from fans who mistakenly thought that he was responsible.
It was nothing that he couldn't handle; after all, he has played in Big Ten road venues.
Although none of the Childress cars were exceptional last Saturday -- Gaughan finished 11th -- Brust sounded like he was truly in his element. "I would do it again in a heartbeat," he said.
But that will have to wait.
"Right now, I have to focus on what's ahead," said Brust, whose eyes are fixed on his senior year at Wisconsin and the summer training phase in Madison. "I'm here to lift, get stronger and get better.
"Getting better in every category possible is one of my goals every year. We have a lot of young guys (six freshmen) so it's my job to set a good example for them and help them get better each day."
The thought of another Big Ten season, his final one, had his heart racing, as you might expect.
The 2012-13 season was monumental for the University of
Wisconsin swimming and diving program.
Not only did more than a dozen Badgers earn all-american
honors, but the men's squad crowned its first individual NCAA champion (Drew
teDuits) in over five decades and the women's team saw Ivy Martin set a Big Ten
record in the 50-yard freestyle en route to her Big Ten championship.
It was fitting that the Badgers capped off the 2013 academic
year with another memorable moment: a visit from Workaholics star, Anders Holm.
Holm, a 2003 graduate of UW and former member of the swim squad,
stopped by the team's facilities on Friday afternoon to visit with the coaches
and student-athletes. The Comedy Central comic
was in town to deliver the 2013 commencement address at all four ceremonies over
the weekend, but found time to reconnect with his former team and many of the
student-athletes who were in his shoes just 10 years ago.
@BadgerSwimDive chronicled the visit, while many of the
student-athletes quickly turned to Twitter to show their gratitude for Holm.
Here is an archived account of the afternoon's events, including a video of the
comedian hitting the pool for a relay race with members of the coaching staff:
Although next year's slate is far from complete, the Badgers have many of the pieces in place for the 2013-14 season. That schedule will feature one of the toughest home slates in school history. According to ESPN.com's preseason Top-25, Wisconsin will host seven of the top-25 teams in the nation.
No. 3 Michigan State, No. 7 Florida, No. 8 Ohio State, No. 10 Michigan, No. 16 Marquette, No. 20 Indiana and No. 25 Iowa are all scheduled to visit the Kohl Center next winter.
Wisconsin opens the season with a pair of big-time showdowns against St. John's and Florida. The season tips off in Sioux Falls, S.D., with a neutral-site game against the Red Storm on Nov. 8. The contest will be the first-ever Division I college basketball game played in the new Sanford Pentagon, a $19 million complex which is scheduled to open this fall.
The Badgers then open the Kohl Center with a Nov. 12 appointment with the Gators.
The league schedule is also beginning to take shape as the Big Ten announced which conference rivals will face off only one time next season. Among Wisconsin's single-plays in 2013-14 will be trips to Penn State and Nebraska, as well as home dates with Michigan State and Ohio State.
As a result, UW will play twice against Purdue, Indiana, Michigan and Northwestern, its four single-plays from last season.
The Badgers and Buckeyes split their series last season, with the host team protecting home court on both occasions. The Badgers will not have to visit Michigan State in 2013-14, a site where they have not won since 2003-04.
The Badgers swept both Nebraska and Penn State last year.
Tentative non-conference schedule:
Nov. 8: St. John's (Sioux Falls, S.D.)
Nov. 12: Florida (Kohl Center)
Nov. 26: vs. St. Louis (Cancun)
Nov. 27: vs. West Virginia/Old Dominion (Cancun)
Dec. 4: at Virginia (Charlottesville, Va.)
*BOLD indicates home game (Nov. 8 neutral site showdown vs. St. John's will serve as home game for Badgers)
KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Another bid to the NCAA Tournament means another round of #Fieldof68. Let us guide you on the Badgers journey leading up to their opening round match-up with the Ole Miss Rebels. 68 teams in the tournament, that means 68 inside-access tweets about Wisconsin from @BadgerMBB all the way up to Friday morning's tip between the Badgers and Rebels.
And so it begins... The #Fieldof68! 68 teams in the tourney, 68 tweets from inside the #Badgers huddle.
With the high school basketball season winding down, five of Wisconsin's incoming freshmen are closing in on their final days as prep standouts. Two signees who have become close friends since making their commitment to UW are Ohio natives Vitto Brown and Nigel Hayes, who were recently featured in an article by the Toledo Blade (Photo Courtesy of The Blade/Andy Morrison).
Vitto Brown: 6-8, 240, F, Bowling Green (Ohio), HS
An honorable mention all-state pick as a junior, Vitto Brown is averaging 21.5 points, 13.0 rebounds, 3.0 blocks and shooting 61.7% from the field this season at Bowling Green High School. Last weekend, Brown went head-to-head with Michigan signee Mark Donnal (Whitehouse, Ohio) and came away with a win, tallying 25 points, 16 rebounds and six blocks. The 6-foot-8 forward surpassed the 1,000-point career scoring mark on Feb. 2, recording a 39-point, 16-rebound effort in a 77-61 win against Medina. Brown averaged 20 points and 12 rebounds per game last season. (VIDEO: Vitto Brown Highlights)
Riley Dearring is averaging 18.8 points, 6.2 assists and 3.0 rebounds per game this season for Minnetonka High School. Dearring, who recently eclipsed the 1,000-point career scoring plateau, returned from breaking his wrist a couple of weeks ago to score 17 points in a 73-61 win over rival Hopkins. A four-year varsity player for the Skippers, Dearring earned All-Lake Conference honors last season as a junior after averaging 15 points, 4.0 rebounds and 2.0 assists per game. (VIDEO: Riley Dearring Highlights)
A three-time MVP for Whitmer High School in Toledo, Nigel Hayes scored his 1,000th career point in December and is averaging 16.0 points and 10.0 rebounds per game for Whitmer during his senior campaign. Hayes averaged nearly a double-double last season (14.0 points, 9.0 rebounds), while becoming the school's all-time leader in blocked shots. He earned first-team Northwest District selection and second-team all-state honoree and was named to the 2012 OHSSA Division I State Tournament Team. (VIDEO: Nigel Hayes Highlights)
Jordan Hill: 6-3, 175, G, Pasadena, Calif. (Exeter Academy, N.H.)
A post-grad from Pasadena, Calif., Jordan Hill is tallying 7.5 points, 8.0 assists and 4.0 rebounds per game for Exeter Academy in Exeter, N.H. Hill graduated from LaSalle High School in Pasadena, Calif. in May earning first-team all-Del Rey League honors as a senior. He posted per game averages of 15.5 points, 7.0 rebounds, 4.0 assists, 2.0 blocks and 2.0 steals and was a second-team All-California Interscholastic Federation honoree.
Bronson Koenig: 6-3, 170, G, La Crosse, Wis. (Aquinas)
La Crosse, Wis., native Bronson Koenig is a nominee for the 2013 McDonald's All-American game and is averaging 16.1 points during his senior campaign after missing the majority of his junior year with an injury. Koenig tallied a game-high 25 points this past week as Aquinas defeated Madison Edgewood, 75-49. Despite missing several games, Koenig averaged 18 points, 4.0 rebounds and 3.5 assists per game last season. Koenig's breakout season came as a sophomore when he earned first-team All-State accolades after leading La Crosse Aquinas to the 2010 Division III State Championship. The co-conference Player of the Year that season, Koenig racked up 17.0 points and 3.0 assists per game while shooting over 50 percent from the field. (VIDEO: Bronson Koenig Highlights)
This weekend, Bo Ryan and the Wisconsin coaches are participating in the annual Suits and Sneakers awareness weekend.
By wearing sneakers with their suits, the coaching staffs from both teams are trying to raise awareness of the many ways people can reduce their risk of cancer, like eating right, exercising, making healthy lifestyle choices, and following the American Cancer Society's recommended cancer screening guidelines.
Bo-Tie 'Dress up' the Kohl Center Saturday
Fans are encouraged to help up 'dress up' the Kohl Center by wearing today's 'Bo Tie' t-shirts provided by Coaches vs. Cancer Wisconsin as part of the Suits and Sneakers weekend.
People not attending Saturday's game can purchase the Bo-Tie t-shirt at the UW Bookstore online, or at Bucky's Locker room with all proceeds going to Coaches vs. Cancer.
This year's gala will take place on Saturday, May 4, 2013 at the Kohl Center.
In 2013, Coaches vs. Cancer Wisconsin will hold its 6th Annual Coaches vs. Cancer Wisconsin Gala, an evening filled with dinner, a silent auction and impressive keynote speakers. Past galas have featured special guests like Syracuse head coach Jim Boeheim and ESPN's Jay Bilas.
Since its inception, Coaches vs. Cancer Wisconsin has raised over $1 million for the fight against cancer. The funds raised go directly towards the American Cancer Society's mission of celebrating more Birthdays.
Contact CvC Wisconsin at 608-662-7555 or CVCWI@cancer.org for additional information.
Charity Stripe Challenge Earlier this year, Bo and his wife, Kelly Ryan, witnessed over 1,600 UW-Madison students brave undesirable weather conditions to participate in the Charity Stripe Challenge, raising a grand total of $41,279.
"My wife and I did this event because we firmly believe that with enough funding, a cure for cancer will be found. We took this as another opportunity to have our team interact with the students and involve our campus in this event. What a fun time and for a great cause. I figure one of these half-court shots might be the difference in curing cancer."
Nearly all UW athletic teams were represented as well as numerous campus organizations, including the Homecoming Committee and Colleges Against Cancer. In total, 36 UW students made half-court shots, which were worth a $1,000 donation each and countless students made the $10 free throw.
Just a week ago the Badgers were nowhere to be found on the
national radar. Now after a pair of wins over top-15 foes, including UW's 64-59
upset at second-ranked Indiana on Tuesday, Wisconsin finds itself directly in the
Here are a few things being said about the Badgers:
After the Badgers' 64-59 win at No. 2 Indiana on Tuesday
night, you can lose the thought of Wisconsin having anything resembling a
"down" season. And you can repeat the phrase until it hums like a