Dec. 6, 2013
BY MIKE LUCAS
MADISON, Wis. -- Lamont Paris is a neophyte to the Marquette-Wisconsin rivalry. But since joining the UW coaching staff, Paris has gotten up to speed on the intensity that makes this intrastate series so special.
“It’s deep-seated,” said Paris, a fourth-year assistant under Bo Ryan. “I feel, at times, there’s some dislike between the groups (fan bases), not necessarily the players and coaches.”
Marquette fans will remember Maurice Lucas making a clutch jumper at the buzzer and Al McGuire dancing on the scorer’s table in celebration of a 59-58 win in the 1974 Milwaukee Classic.
Wisconsin fans will remember the dance and Glenn Hughes, the father of 6-foot-11 twins Kim and Kerry Hughes, reacting with a “You’re No. 1” salute to McGuire from his seat behind the scorer’s table.
Papa Hughes used his middle finger.
On the other hand …
Wisconsin fans will remember Alando Tucker scoring 17 points, including a critical shot in the paint over Steve Novak with 45 seconds remaining, in a 63-59 win at the Kohl Center in 2003.
Marquette fans will remember the Badgers shooting 32 free throws to only nine for the Golden Eagles in what was then only the second time both teams were nationally ranked when they played.
“From a fan’s perspective,” Paris concluded, “It’s very intense.”
From a player’s perspective, newbies have always been welcome in this rivalry.
In Dwayne Wade’s first game against Wisconsin, he had 23 points in 25 minutes. But it was not enough to overcome Kirk Penney, who had 33 in a 86-73 victory over previously unbeaten Marquette.
That was 2001 in Madison -- one year after Penney went 0-for-6 from the field and 0-for-3 from the stripe against the Golden Eagles, though the Badgers were still able to pull out a win in Milwaukee.
Bo Ryan’s first victory in the series as a head coach was also in 2001, his first year back. Ryan was a UW assistant in 1978 when the Badgers snapped a 15-game losing streak to Marquette.
Four players scored in double-figures for Wisconsin that day: Larry Petty, Claude Gregory, Joe Chrnelich and Wes Matthews, whose son, Wesley, also became a part of the lore of the rivalry when hey played at Marquette.
As a young coach, Ryan once said, “My dream and goal was to be involved in games like this.”
• • • •
When the next chapter in this series is written Saturday at the Kohl Center, there will be a handful of freshmen who will get their first introduction to what this game means to both schools.
For Marquette, it will be Deonte Burton and JaJuan Johnson.
For Wisconsin, it will be Nigel Hayes and Bronson Koenig.
“I don’t know too much about the rivalry, but I know these two teams love to play each other,” said Hayes, a four-year letterwinner for the Whitmer High School Panthers in Toledo, Ohio.
“I went to the dominant public school in the area so our rivals were all the Catholic schools -- and any other school in the state of Ohio.
“My school was kind of a focal point. We got picked on a lot. Our rivals were everyone, so I’m used to playing in so-called rivalry games.”
|A freshman, Hayes will get his first experience with the Wisconsin-Marquette rivalry on Saturday.
Paris backed him up about Whitmer -- “He had a good high school team and they had a bullseye on their back” -- but he added, “He’s been in something quasi-similar” to what is Marquette-Wisconsin.
Hayes is a quick study, so it won’t take him long to learn about the rivalry. At that, he’s still in the very early stages of his development as a college basketball player; he’s learning on the fly.
“I think it’s a work in progress,” said UW associate head coach Greg Gard. “There have been a lot of in-game adjustments to the speed and the physicality at times.
“Not that he can’t play physical -- and doesn’t play physical -- but I think he gets a little surprised at times because of the newness of it all. So the ongoing adjustments have been to what teams are doing to him and what teams are doing to other players and how do you read and react and make your adjustments.
“Nigel has done a pretty good job defensively and he has gotten better there. But I think he can continue to be more physical around the rim offensively and be even more of a factor on the glass.”
Hayes has appeared in all nine games. While the minutes haven’t been there in abundance -- he’s averaging 15 with a high of 25 -- they have been quality minutes because of the schedule strength.
“One of the biggest things when you’re playing limited minutes,” Paris said, “is that sometimes it can be hard to get into any kind of flow when you get in the game.”
For many first-year players who are not getting the playing time they expected, Paris said, “It’s easy to feel sorry for yourself and, because of that, you’re not prepared when you do get called.”
But that hasn’t been the case with Hayes. Paris pointed to what he was able to do Wednesday night in Wisconsin’s 48-38 win at Virginia in the Big Ten/ACC Challenge.
“He was thrown in there during the second half in a critical situation,” he said, “and was called upon to defend, rebound, block a shot and make something happen for us, and he was able to do that.
“They drove to the basket, he chested a guy up (Malcolm Brogdon) and got a blocked shot. In another possession, they had a wide down-screen and he was guarding the screener.
“But he came and helped (on the ball) and he was able to get back to his man when they tried to look to him for a layup. On offense, he had an aggressive, attacking move to the basket.
|“He was thrown in there during the second half in a critical situation,” Paris said of Hayes, “and was called upon to defend, rebound, block a shot and make something happen for us, and he was able to do that.”
“He missed the shot, but we rebounded it because he drew so much attention.”
Sam Dekker was fouled on the put-back and split at the free throw line.
“I did think I had it,” Hayes said of his layup attempt. “I have to focus a little more and make sure I get that shot. Instead of one point, we should have had two.”
Hayes ended up playing nine minutes at Virginia.
“When I come in, I just try to be as effective as I can with the time that I have,” Hayes said. “I haven’t been seeing the minutes that I may have hoped for, but Coach Ryan knows what he’s doing.”
Hayes realizes that there are only so many minutes available, especially with Dekker averaging 30 and Frank Kaminsky averaging 28. Hayes and 6-9 Duje Dukan have been the frontcourt subs.
So, what’s the next step for Hayes?
“He can give us more presence,” Gard said, “from five feet and in.”
“The more activity he exudes,” Paris said, “the more achievement he seems to have.”
“Offensively,” Hayes said, “I have to be more aggressive and assertive and less tentative.”
How would he account for his early season tentativeness?
“Part of that comes from a little inexperience,” Hayes said. “But it’s also the confidence in myself. I read an interview with Brandon Jennings (the former Milwaukee Bucks guard).
“He was saying that the coaches were telling him to take shots that he didn’t want to shoot because he didn’t have the confidence to shoot them. I just need to get my confidence up. I know I can hit these shots. I just need to make sure when I shoot them, I stood them with confidence.”
It goes back to what Hayes was saying earlier.
“I’m sure it’s obvious to the people when they see me catch the ball,” he said. “I look like I’m not sure if I want to score or pass. I just need to apply more aggression to my offense.”
Offering a caveat -- “I don’t need to be a ball hog” -- Hayes talked about how the really good scorers know “whatever shot they shoot, it’s going in. And if it doesn’t, they know the next one is.”
That’s the type of mentality that he would like to adopt on offense without sacrificing anything on the defensive end, which is still the quickest way to earn more playing time on a Ryan-coached team.
Especially against Marquette.
The 6-7, 250-pound Hayes and the 6-4, 230-pound Burton could both have a presence -- physically -- in Saturday’s game and it won’t go unnoticed by either fan base. Nothing ever does.