Jan. 28, 2013
• Watch Bo Ryan Press Conference
MADISON, Wis. -- Wisconsin men's basketball head coach Bo Ryan spoke about Wisconsin's upcoming Big Ten match-up with No. 11 Ohio State, among other things.
Archived video of the media session is available through the link above, and a complete transcript of Ryan's remarks can be found below.
Question: Bo, now that there's no Jared Sullinger, there's no William Buford on that team for Ohio State, how has Deshaun Thomas taken his game to that level where he is kind of their focal point scoring-wise as evidenced by Big Ten scoring?
Ryan: Well, the main reason is he's talented. He can score in so many different ways. He can score around the basket. He's shooting better from the perimeter, at least in the clips I've been looking at. He's a threat out on the three, and he's so strong and long.
Physically, he's -- whatever he's listed at, you can add four more inches. It's like Mbakwe, whatever he's listed at, add five or six more inches because of his wing span. Thomas can score in a lot of different ways, and that's what makes him a real threat.
Question: I have a general question for you about just free-throw shooting and college basketball. I was hoping to get your perspective on why you think it hasn't improved in the last 50 or 60 years. It's been around 68 percent, 69 percent that whole time.
Ryan: Plus you look at some other games over the weekend, several teams struggle. Obviously, some more than others. And sometimes it's because of an individual or two. When we led the nation, it was two guys getting most of the free throws in Jon Leuer and Jordan Taylor. Two guys that believed, every time they walked up there, they had their routine. Nothing ever entered their mind, anything other than saying the other team is going to take the ball out of bounds because it's going to come through the net.
Larry Bird used to stand at the free-throw line, and guys would try to trash talk him and say, I got shooter, no, you got it. And he said, whoa, hold up. Hold up. You, after I make this, are going to take it out of bounds and throw it to him. That's it. And then Larry Bird would proceed to make his free throws.
You've got to be confident. You've got to be somebody that just believes that there's nothing that can change the routine.
Question: I saw that Frank (Kaminsky) was back in limited action at practice yesterday. Is he out then for tomorrow for Ohio State?
Ryan: I don't know. We'll find out tonight if they'll let him run up and down with us a little bit. Then if he doesn't have any problems or any issues, then maybe we can get him back in there.
It's like anything else. It's like with you get Bruesewitz, and you think he's going to come back right away in that very next game and play at the level where he was before. Frank has missed a lot here because he hasn't done very much. So I'm not sure. We'll know more tonight, and we'll definitely know tomorrow something.
Question: Bo, your team defense has been solid. I might know the answer to this, but I'll ask you anyway. How much better can your team get defensively?
Ryan: What they're doing is they're really hustling and working so doggone hard to limit looks and to not give teams second shots. Night in, night out, if you look across the country, it's very difficult to stay consistent with that. You're going to have to have some nights where you're hot offensively to offset somebody getting hot from another team or a couple guys getting hot from another team.
Positioning-wise, they're working at it. The bench has been shortened for several games this year, meaning you don't have the same substitution patterns that you would like to have, and you just say, hey, suck it up. Here's what we have. Here's what we're going with. And just trying to get contributions from everybody.
Anybody that we put in off the bench defensively -- Z. Bo or Evan or Showalter or anybody like that -- it's give us something, add. But defensively, we've got to stay as solid as we can be because I don't think there's any team, when they do their scouting report, shudders and shakes when they look at us offensively. I don't think we're intimidating anybody.
Question: Jared (Berggren) is kind of in a shooting funk the last few games here. I'm just curious, when you're watching film, are those good shots he's taking, or are some of them maybe a little tougher than you'd like them to be?
Ryan: No, they're good shots. I think he's a little tight right now. He needs to get a game here or a flourish of hitting some free throws, getting to the glass, getting a put-back or two, hitting a three because he is a good pick and pop guy for a big man. He just needs to get something positive going.
And he works so hard defensively, especially with Frank out the last three games. He hasn't had pretty much the same substitution pattern, rest periods that he was getting used to.
Question: Where are you most comfortable with Jared offensively? Do you like to see him bang around in the post more, or do you like to see him step out and shoot more? Which do you prefer when you watch him play?
Ryan: I like to see it go through the net, wherever that is, but he is a threat inside and outside. That's a good thing because he pulls his big out from the paint. So that allows Ryan Evans, Mike Bruesewitz, Sam Dekker inside to get some things done.
Question: Bobbie (Kelsey) was asked a little bit earlier about updating us on some of her injured players. I figured I'd ask you about Josh (Gasser) and how he's holding up. Has he added anything from the bench?
Answer: Well, he's there every day. He's always getting a workout in. He told me yesterday he was tired of seeing Henry and Scotty because he has to see them every day and spend a lot of time with them with the rehab, but I think he's okay with seeing them again every day.
He's getting a little -- come on. When you're a competitor like him and you're watching guys out there on the court in practice and in games, it's hard, but he's not the first guy, and he won't be the last that has to deal with a season ending injury.
So he'll say some things to the players. He's not one of those guys that stands there and barks things out. He knows there's another guy out there that does that, not sure who. But he's a quiet voice in the background type guy.
His presence, especially to guys that have played with him, they know how tough he is. They know what he was doing this summer. They know what he was doing in the fall. So there's not too many guys that have had the respect that Josh Gasser's had.
Question: Bo, I just wanted to thank you. I appreciated your comments after the game on Saturday about putting the ball in the net. I was wondering if any --
Answer: Saving money, you mean?
Question: Exactly. Did any athletic officials say it would be okay to put the ball in the net because they could afford a few more nets?
Answer: When I was walking out, Barry (Alvarez) said he found some extra funds in case we wanted to burn a few nets. I don't know if he meant just burn the ones that we aren't hitting on. I wasn't sure.
What are you going to do? You've got to stay sane, and you got to keep encouraging your players, and you just keep -- you know, I play baseball with guys that got into this thing where they couldn't throw the ball to first base after fielding the ground ball. The ball would go over the first baseman's head, into the grass, wide right, wide left. And somehow they started aiming the ball -- pitchers in little league. There was a kid that was just mowing people down until he hit a streak, or he kept walking people. The guy couldn't throw a strike after that.
What causes that? I don't know. I have received a lot more e-mails from unknown sources about people that can do these mind things with players.
Question: Did you call them?
Answer: No, not yet.