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Dekker Shines, Courts "The King"

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Dekker_Guarding_Lebron_blog.jpgFollowing his recent standout performance at the Kevin Durant Skills Academy, junior Sam Dekker was one of 30 players invited to attend the LeBron James Skills Academy in Las Vegas this week.

From the look and sound of things, Dekker has taken full advantage of his most recent opportunity.

Vote for Best of the Badgers

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Two weeks removed from one of the greatest seasons in Wisconsin history, the men's basketball team will be celebrating a year that witnessed 30 wins and a magical trip to the Final Four at Thursday's Postseason Celebration.

With so many great wins and highlights, it's nearly impossible for us to decide the "Best of the Badgers" for the 2013-14 season. So we need your help.

We've come up with five categories for Badgers fans to vote on to help determine the: Game of the Year, the Highlight of the Year, the Moment of the Year, the Team Achievement of the Year and the Image of the Year.

Cast your vote below. Results will be revealed at Thursday's event and posted on UWBadgers.com soon after.

Thanks fans for one of the most memorable seasons at the Kohl Center and beyond!

 

Game of the Year
Highlight of the Year
Moment of the Year
Team Achievement of the Year
Image of the Year

Field of 8: Tweeting 8 observations prior to tip-off

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ANAHEIM, Calif. -- Following a victory over Baylor in the Sweet Sixteen on Thursday, the Badgers earned a berth in the NCAA Elite Eight on Saturday, with a trip to the 2014 Final Four on the line.

Follow the team's every move via the #Fieldof8, as @BadgerMBB sends out 8 tweets with observations and commentary leading up to Saturday's contest between No. 2 Wisconsin and top-seeded Arizona.

Check out the Field of 68, Field of 32 & Field of 16 to see what you missed from the first two weeks of the Big Dance.


Field of 16: Tweeting 16 observations prior to tip-off

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ANAHEIM, Calif. -- After a thrilling Round of 32 match-up in Milwaukee, the Badgers are off to California for their third third Sweet 16 appearance in the last four seasons.

Follow the team's every move via the #Fieldof16, as @BadgerMBB cranks out 16 Tweets with observations and commentary leading up to Thursday's contest between second-seeded Wisconsin and No. 6 Baylor.

Check out the Field of 68 and Field of 32 to see what you missed while the team was in Milwaukee.

Badgers preview Sweet 16 matchup with Baylor

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Wednesday was the Badgers' introduction to the Honda Center, the site of UW's Sweet 16 game vs. Baylor on Thursday night. But before they got to step on the court, the players and coaching staff met with the media to talk about the matchup with Baylor. The complete transcript from the podium sessions with Coach Ryan, Ben Brust and Traevon Jackson can be found here.

In addition, here are some quotes from the Badgers' open locker room:

Sam Dekker on defending Baylor's big men: "Me and Frank [Kaminsky] will probably have to share the duties inside on those two early on. It doesn't matter who we have [to defend] as long as we are physical. We need to out-tough them. We can't play weaker on those guys, otherwise they will eat you alive."

Josh Gasser on Baylor's strong play in March: "They are playing really well right now. You have to come out with a lot of energy and match their intensity. It will be a physical game with their bigs down low. We have to come out right from the start."

Bronson Koenig on breaking down Baylor film: "Obviously we saw a lot of length and athleticism out of them. They are quick in closing out on the shooters in their zone."

Also check out our complete photo gallery of the Badgers' day at the Honda Center.

Head west, young men!

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That tweet says it all! 9 a.m. CT departure led to an 11:15 PT arrival in Los Angeles International Airport. On the way to the hotel and then a 4 p.m. practice at Cal State Fullerton to begin getting acclimated with the west coast time zone and shake out the travel weary legs. Rumor is the hotel is relatively close to Disneyland. Stay tuned for any surprise appearances.

Field of 32: Tweeting 32 observations prior to tip-off

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MILWAUKEE, Wis. -- The Badgers have advanced to the 2014 NCAA Tournament Round of 32, and that means @BadgerMBB will send out 32 Tweets with observations and commentary leading up to the third round NCAA tournament game between No. 2 Wisconsin and No. 7 Oregon.

22-5 run sparks Badgers to halftime lead

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The partisan Bradley Center crowd was getting a little antsy about midway through the first half but a Ben Brust 3-pointer ignited a 22-5 run over the final 9:17 to give Wisconsin a 32-22 lead heading into halftime.

The Badgers started the half hot offensively, going inside to Frank Kaminsky for their first three buckets of the game. A dunk by Sam Dekker gave the Badgers a 10-5 lead but then UW went cold, missing its next seven shots. During that time American went on a 12-0 run until Brust halted it with Wisconsin's first 3-pointer of the game, at the 9:17 mark. From that point until the end of the half, American scored just five points, going 1-7 from the field with four turnovers.

After a hot start, Kaminsky picked up his second foul with 4:44 left in the half. Undaunted, the Badgers outscored the Eagles 12-4 the rest of the way.

At the half, Brust leads all scorers with 11 points, Jackson has seven and Kaminsky has six. Guard John Shoof started hot for American and led the Eagles with eight points.

Despite missing seven in a row at one point, UW finished 11-of-26 (.423) from the field and made all seven of its free throw attempts. American was 8-of-18 (.444) from the field, 3-of-4 from the free throw line and committed eight turnovers.

Field of 68: Tweeting 68 observations leading up to tip-off

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MILWAUKEE, Wis. -- It's March Madness once again and that can only mean one thing: another edition of #Fieldof68. Follow along as we chronicle the Badgers journey through the 2014 NCAA Tournament, leading up to Wisconsin's first-round match-up against the American Eagles at the BMO Harris Bradley Center.

Sixty-eight teams in the tournament, that means 68 inside-access tweets about Wisconsin from @BadgerMBB all the way up to Thursday morning's tip between the Badgers and Eagles.

Overheard at Badgers media day

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Ben Brust, Josh Gasser, Frank Kaminsky and head coach Bo Ryan met with the media on Wednesday in advance of the Badgers' game Thursday morning against American. The complete transcript from their sessions can be found here: ASAP Sports.

Here are some of the highlights:

Josh Gasser on playing in Milwaukee: "It's awesome. It just means that you did something special during the year to get rewarded to play close to home. And it's great for my family, these guy's family, to be semi close. Just to be able to experience NCAA Tournament atmosphere is awesome for my family and friends and other people as well. It's kind of a home-court advantage in a way, but, at the same time, once the clock starts, once you get between the lines, it's all what we do and we control that."

Frank Kaminsky on his high growth spurt in high school: "I got into high school at 6' 2" and left high school at 6' 10". I had a lot of growing to do both physically and mentally. Sometimes I would just be running down the court and trip over my own feet because I was just getting awkward. And I think just growing into my body took a little bit of time because I did kind of have a later growth spurt than most people."

Ben Brust on Coach Ryan winning 700 games and earning national respect:
"It's very special to be a part of that, and I think the number 700 just shows if you're getting that many wins, you're doing a lot of things right. As players we'd be smart to listen to a guy who has won that many games because he's successful for a reason. You don't get 700 wins with luck. He's doing something right, and, you know, Coach doesn't care what other people think. He's the type of guy who wants to get stuff done and get it done the right way, and we're just looking to continue what we can do."

Coach Ryan on his philosophy: "I always tell young coaches when they're asking for advice, 'take a job at a place where you can coach for five years or 50 years.' Because if you take a job and you're always looking left, right, behind you, in front of you, if you're always looking in different directions, you're not going to do as good a job with the people who believed you in the first place and hired you. So, if you're hired to do a job, for a nickel, give them a dime's worth. That's been my philosophy that I learned from my parents. I'm sure they learned from their parents."

Coach Ryan on Nigel Hayes' humor: "I got a guy that beats me, and old line is obviously 'the early bird catches the worm.' As we're done with our video session, Nigel always tries to beat me to the court. I said, "good, Nigel, the early bird catches the worm."
"Coach, the second mouse always gets the cheese."

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