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Penney dominating D-League, including a 40-point night

Penney_Kirk_2008.jpgIn just four games with the NBA Development League's Sioux Falls Sky Force, Kirk Penney is feeling right at home. The former Badger star and New Zealand standout is averaging 23.8 points, 4.3 rebounds and 2.3 assists thus far. Penney is also shooting .583 from the field and a scorching .529 (9-of-17) from 3-point range.

Penney scored 31 points in his second game with the Sky Force, a 113-104 win over Springfield on March 27. The 6-5 guard then topped that effort with a 40-point performance in a 123-110 win over Bakersfield on April 2. Penney played 44 minutes in that game, connecting on 16 of 23 shots, including 5-of-6 from beyond the arc. He also added eight rebounds and two assists in the win.

The Sky Force (32-18) are 4-0 since Penney joined former Badgers Greg Stiemsma and Joe Krabbenhoft on the roster.

Kirk Penney NBDL highlights

Hughes scores 12 and helps team to All-Star Game win

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Wisconsin senior Trevon Hughes scored 12 points and was one of six players in double figures as the Reese's College All-Stars topped the Hershey's College All-Stars, 106-101, in the Reese's College Senior All-Star Game Friday night before a crowd of 10,103 at Lucas Oil Stadium.

Complete Box Score

Coach Gene Keady's Reese's All-Stars trailed by one at the half, 58-57, but had balanced scoring in the contest. Hughes started and played 21 minutes making 5-of-13 shots while pulling down six rebounds, dishing out four assists with a block and a steal.

The game, conducted by the National Association of Basketball Coaches (NABC), is played annually during the NCAA Final Four.  Cal's Jerome Randle, who scored 12 points with seven assists, was selected as the most outstanding player for Reese's.

Fellow Badger senior Jason Bohannon competed in the 22nd-annual State Farm College 3-Point Championship on Thursday. Bohannon would knock down 19 triples in round one to advance to the semifinals, but his second-round total of 15 was not enough to reach the final pairing.

Marcus Landry recalled by Boston Celtics

Former Wisconsin standout Marcus Landry was recalled by the Boston Celtics on Sunday. Landry, who was traded from the Knicks to the Celtics on Feb. 18, had most recently spent a month with the Maine Red Claws of the NBA Development League.

NYK_092809_108P.jpgIn 13 games with the Red Claws, Landry averaged 11.4 points, 4.3 rebounds and 1.6 assists per game, highlighted by a 34-point night that included eight 3-pointers on March 21.

In 18 NBA games with the Knicks and Celtics, Landry has averaged 2.4 points and 1.1 rebounds. He posted a career-high 8 points vs. Indiana (1/3/10) and career-high 4 rebounds vs. Dallas (1/24/10).

Landry now joins fellow former Badger Michael Finley on the Celtics roster. Finley, a 14-year NBA veteran who signed with Boston in March, has appeared in 15 games with Boston 4.9 points, 1.5 rebounds and 1.1 assists per game.

UW Class of 2010: Gasser named Wisconsin player of the year

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The Badgers' 2009-10 season may still be warm, but it's never too early to start looking at next season is it? With that in mind, congratulations go out to Wisconsin's Class of 2010 signee Josh Gasser (pronounced GAH-ser), who was named the 2010 Gatorade Wisconsin boys basketball player of the year.

Thumbnail image for 1852ce06-a96e-11de-a1f0-001cc4c03286.preview-300.jpgThe award, which recognizes not only outstanding athletic excellence, but also high standards of academic achievement and exemplary character demonstrated on and off the court, distinguishes Gasser as Wisconsin's best high school boys basketball player.

The 6-foot-4, 190-pound senior point guard led the Pirates (19-5) to the Division 2 state tournament regional finals this past season, averaging 23.9 points, 9.6 rebounds, 4.6 assists and 2.7 steals per game. A returning Division 2 First Team All-State selection as named by the Wisconsin Basketball Coaches Association, Gasser shot 50.3 percent from the field and 84.5 percent from the free-throw line this winter. Also a 2010 McDonald's High School All-American Game selection committee nominee, he averaged 22 points, 11 rebounds and three assists as a junior.

Gasser has maintained a 3.58 GPA in the classroom. In addition to donating his time on behalf of the Special Olympics and as a youth basketball instructor, he has volunteered as part of an elementary school literacy-outreach program, a grounds-keeping effort at a local nature preserve and a holiday gift-giving campaign for underprivileged children.

Gasser is joined in UW's Class of 2010 by 6-foot-11 center Evan Anderson (Eau Claire, Wis.) and 6-foot-8 forward Duje Dukan (Deerfield, Ill.).

Complete Signing day story with bios of the Class of 2010

Penney looking for NBA look

Former Wisconsin legend Kirk Penney is back in the United States trying to crack an NBA roster for the stretch run. After completing another successful season for the New Zealand Breakers, Penney recently signed with the Sioux Falls Sky Force of the NBA D-League. He is scheduled to make his debut Friday night vs. the Springfield Armor.

DF0111075-PENNEY2.jpgAfter earning back-to-back first-team All-Big Ten honors at Wisconsin, Penney had brief stints with the Los Angeles Clippers and Miami Heat before spending five seasons playing overseas in Europe and his native country New Zealand.

In signing with the Sky Force, Penney joins former Badgers Greg Stiemsma and Joe Krabbenhoft on the roster. Tanner Bronson also serves as an assistant coach for Sioux Falls.

Sioux Falls coach Tony Fritz told the Sioux Falls Argus-Leader:

"We have great leadership on this team, and to add a guy that's played internationally and can come into a nice role can only benefit you," Fritz said, adding that Penney's ability to shoot at a high percentage should open up the offense.

"We need someone who can really stretch the floor for us, so guys like Greg (Stiemsma), Ray (Sykes) and (Alexander Johnson) can dominate the middle like they have been."

Added Penney on his new home: "This team has already established itself. I'll just try to fit in where I can and enjoy being on what seems to be a great team with great guys."

Krabbenhoft, who returned to the Sky Force after playing in Korea, is averaging 12.1 points and 7.2 rebounds per game. Stiemsma, who has started 40 of 41 games, is averaging 8.3 points, 6.7 rebounds and a team-high 3.5 blocks.

Elsewhere in the NBDL, Marcus Landry has been turning heads since being optioned from the Boston Celtics to the Maine Red Claws. In nine games with Maine, Landry is averaging 11.6 points per game, highlighted by a 34-point night that included eight 3-pointers on March 21.

Brian Butch continues to post some of the league's top numbers, averaging 18.0 points and 11.6 rebounds per game for the Bakersfield Jam. In a 120-109 win over the Tulsa 66ers on Thursday, Butch posted game-highs with 33 points and 15 rebounds.

Butch is also keeping his daily blog on BigTenNetwork.com that is worth a read.

Field of 32: Making 32 observations until 2nd round tip-off

After the success of the first round's 'Field of 64', @BadgerMBBall is back at it with the 'Field of 32' for round two. Leading up to Sunday's NCAA tournament game between No. 4 Wisconsin and No. 12 Cornell, @BadgerMBBall sent out 32 Tweets with observations and commentary from the Badgers' stay in Jacksonville. Follow along to get them in real time (http://twitter.com/BadgerMBBall).

If you're not a follower, here's what you missed...

1. Tip-off Wisconsin vs. Cornell!

2. Hard to tell the difference between the Cornell and Wisconsin sections today ... lots of red in the building

3. Philly connections all over the place in Jax ... Bo Ryan and Cornell coach Steve Donahue grew up 15 yrs & 10 mi apart

4. Game officials for today: Anthony Greene, Scott Thornley, Mike Kitts

5. Starting lineup for Wisconsin: G Trevon Hughes, G Jordan Taylor, G Jason Bohannon, F Keaton Nankivil, F Jon Leuer

6. Starting lineup for Cornell: G Louis Dale, G Chris Wroblewski, F Ryan Wittman, F Jon Jaques, C Jeff Foote

7. During the national anthem, Cornell's cheering section yells out loud when the word "Red!" comes up

8. The UW band just finished up the national anthem ... best version of the Star Spangled Banner yet in Jacksonville

9. Family affair today with Leuer, Taylor, Jarmusz, Nankivil & Bohannon families in the seats to take in the game

Final Bo Ryan radio show tonight at 7 p.m.

Join Bo Ryan and the entire Wisconsin men's basketball team tonight at the Great Dane Hilldale (357 Price Place) for the final Bo Ryan radio show of the season. Admission as always is free and the show begins at 7 p.m.

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Alongside hosts Matt Lepay and Mike Lucas, Ryan will recap the season including the Badgers' postseason run to the second round of the NCAA tournament.

Ryan's show is broadcast statewide on the Wisconsin Radio Network. Here is a complete list of local stationscarrying the program.

Stop out and show your support for the team after another great season.

Scouting Report

Wisconsin took the floor Saturday for it's closed practice at Jacksonville Veterans Memorial Arena. Assistant Coach Howard Moore led the team through the scouting report for Sunday's opponent Cornell.

Moore has been breaking down the Big Red ever since the brackets were announced last Sunday, however the Badgers know one day of on-court preparation is a major challenge.

Head coach Bo Ryan said in his press conference Saturday that he has had several coaching friends call him with the same message: "A coach's worst nightmare is preparing for Cornell in one day."

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Hello Jacksonville

NCAA_Jax 005sm.jpgThe Badgers landed in Jacksonville around 9 p.m. (ET) Wednesday night and were greeted by chilly and damp conditions. Who would have thought it would be warmer in Madison when we left than Florida? Don't fret... temperatures (and sun) are supposed to rise over the weekend.

NCAA_Jax 002sm.jpgA Jacksonville police escort led the way on our 25-minute drive from the airport to our team hotel downtown. Nothing beats a traffic jam like a swarm of police motorcycles zipping in and out, blocking the path for our team buses to roll through.

A television crew from Milwaukee also greeted the team and interviewed Coach Ryan and Jon Leuer.

It's practice and media interviews on tap for the Badgers today, as they begin their on-site preparations for Wofford.

Look what they're saying about the Badgers

Just about everyone is talking college hoops these days and everybody becomes an "expert." Well we've sifted through countless articles and blogs to come up with a few gems about the Badgers that you might enjoy.

Andy Katz of ESPN:
"A potential Sweet 16 matchup between No. 1 Kentucky and No. 4 Wisconsin could be a tough matchup for the Wildcats. The Badgers have taken down Duke this season and have the ability to fluster a team like Kentucky if senior guards Trevon Hughes and Jason Bohannon make shots. Junior forward Jon Leuer presents a tough a matchup with his ability to hit shots facing the basket as a step-out 4 man. Oh, and Bo Ryan is one of the most underrated game coaches in the biz."

Dick Vitale:
"Don't worry, Badger fans. Despite the loss to Illinois in the Big Ten quarterfinals, keep an eye on Bo Ryan's Badgers. This team was impressive in beating Duke earlier this season as well as strong league wins. They have a great understanding of how to play winning basketball. The return of Jon Leuer from a broken wrist has been a big positive. They have strength on the perimeter with Trevon Hughes, Jordan Taylor and Jason Bohanon. I really feel this team can compete with the big boys."
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Adrian Branch:
"I think Wisconsin is one of the hottest teams coming into this tournament. With Jon Leuer, 6-10, he's like a Robbie Hummel-type of mismatch when he is playing well. Then Trevon Hughes, who can score from the outside. They have got a good inside-outside. And, by the way, a fantastic coach."

Jimmy Dykes:
"The biggest problem for the Terriers? His name is Bo Ryan. If you had to take a coach in this tournament and say who do you think is going to be most prepared on opening day, Bo Ryan is going to get a lot of votes now. This guy can flat out coach. He's got an underrated point guard in Hughes. They are not going to beat themselves."

"Here's the toughest game for Kentucky out of this whole bracket. It's not West Virginia. It's Temple or Wisconsin. It's how they play and how they are coached. They are going to shrink that floor. They have good offensive players. That's the most difficult game for Kentucky to get past."

Bob Wenzel of CBS referring to Bo Ryan:
"He's one of the top 10 coaches in the country," Wenzel said. "Every year Wisconsin isn't supposed to be good and every year they are terrific."

ON WISCONSIN