Feb. 18, 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 Iowa, 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: Do you think Jared (Berggren) makes for an intriguing pro prospect, given his versatility, and could be like a cross between Jon (Leuer) and (Greg) Stiemsma or something like that?
Ryan: He's a young man who's trying to play basketball at the highest level he can. He has size. He's worked through things over the years. Came through a tough injury with the shoulder problem. What's after he's finished playing with the University of Wisconsin is not in my control at the present moment.
Ours is to try to see what he can do to help Wisconsin while he's helping himself. Guys have dreams. Everybody has that dream. We certainly don't hold people back from pursuing that. Whatever happens after Wisconsin will be on performance. It will be on can you get something done for a team?
The guys who played for us that are playing in the next level, they've been able to -- they were drafted or picked up on a team for something that they offer. So that's what Jared's working on. He's trying to offer as much as he can at Wisconsin and hear about the other later.
Question: You guys lead the country in wins over ranked opponents. You guys have played nine games against ranked opponents. Does it get to a point where --
Bo: Good scheduling.
Question: Do you guys -- does that wear you guys down as the season goes on, or does that make you better as we get into late February and March?
Ryan: I would never look at anything in our schedule or the games you play or anything in a negative way, meaning the teams are there, they're listed, how good they are. Who knew that California and Arkansas would be this good late in the year. But when we played them, we prepared for them, as we do every team. I'm just talking about two teams that weren't ranked that you're playing, and they're pretty good teams.
So every time you ask something about rankings, remember it wasn't coaches or players who put rankings into college athletics. So we don't -- when you're a player and you're growing up and all that kind of stuff, it's -- at the end, there's one team that wins the high school state championship in your division. In basketball, you're trying to do that too in college.
So as far as rankings or anything during the year, that really for me -- maybe other people put more into it, but I really don't put a lot into it. Individual awards, things like that, I've never been -- I don't fill out my ballot. I let the assistants do it at the end of the year. Individual awards to me mean absolutely nothing. That's why I coach a team sport.
Question: Bo, how difficult or how unique/difficult is the Northwestern preparation from year to year both for what they like to do on offense and defense?
Ryan: Because it is different. Sometimes you play more Princeton style offenses maybe in your nonconference. I don't think we've played that many that come to mind right now. But there's no one that knows that offense better than Greg Gard over the years.
He was with me at Plattville. He was with me at Milwaukee and obviously here. Any teams that ran any of that stuff, he's the one that's put it in with the scout team. I'm sure today and tomorrow, they'll be running some good stuff. Now, Northwestern, obviously, does it every day, but we'll get a pretty good look for the regulars defensively.
But you go down there, and then the way they play their defense, it is different on their reads and the way they scramble and their -- they have their rules or reads, and offensively they obviously do, and they do them at a little quicker pace because they know exactly what the next move is, what the next read is.
So, yeah, they are hard to prepare for that way, but you just get them ready.
Question: Bo, kind of piggy-backing off that question, the work of the scout team probably doesn't get a lot of notice to people outside the program. How much do you value the work they do? These are guys that, for the most part, aren't going to play, and they know that, but yet they show up every day and work hard so the top group is ready. How much do you appreciate that?
Ryan: We never take them for granted, and we always let them know. We've probably said more about our scout players over the years than any other coach in any other program we've ever heard of. Guys that do that for us, they know what they bring to the table because they can see it.
They're young men who are getting a college degree, and they're going to be doing something later on, whether it's in athletics or not. I can remember at Platteville, we had like 30, 40 guys before they stopped -- and the reason was 20-some of them were going to be coaching in high school. The others were engineers or business.
Then it came in, the rule came in that you couldn't have more than 20 because there were a lot more young men who wanted to play basketball at that time -- it was a sign of the times -- than women. So with gender equity, we were cut to -- and the only thing I said was, well, these are young men that aren't going to be playing and it's a non-scholarship school, they want to hang around at practice because they felt they were getting something out of it that could benefit them later. So I turned a lot of them into managers.
So I had a lot of managers that ended up going into coaching, but they weren't allowed to practice or be on a competition list. The eligibility list.
So scout team, 11 through 15, 11 through 17, 11 through 16, whatever you have, they're trying to get minutes, and they're willing to pay their dues because they're smart enough to realize in life, when they get out of college, they're not going to become the CEO of a corporation. They're going to have to pay their dues. They're going to have to overcome some obstacles and figure out what it is they really want to do.
So while they're putting in their time with us, they're treated the same way. None of our players stick their noses up in the air and treat the guys who aren't playing any differently than the guys that are playing.
Question: Bo, you mentioned yesterday, when asked about your offense, about how the players were reading what Ohio State was trying to do defensively and reacting to it. You talk about that a lot. Do you think this team has gotten better? I know defenses vary from game to game, but better at being able to read what the team is doing and make the proper adjustment or reaction to it to get good shots?
Ryan: Well, if you ask me that same question after the Minnesota game, what kind of answer would I give you? If you ask me after Ohio State, I give you the same answer. The reads are great. The work ethic, the trying to get open, the trying -- it's not like guys were trying to miss shots. To me, it's always about did we put ourselves in position to make good shots?
What happened was we had some times we penetrated against Minnesota and did not make good decisions at the end and finish. So we went over that on tape in the video room, and guys took good notice of it, and of course I always say, now, excuse me, young man here, but this is what you might have thought about doing rather than this, and the guys say, okay, yeah, Coach, you know, you're right. I probably should have. It maybe doesn't come out just like that, but the message is still the same.
I had coaches tell me, believe it or not, that there's some things that I should change in my behavior when I was playing or that I should do things a little differently. You develop thick skin. You get over it, and you say, you know what, he's right. I should probably do it this way. We got guys that listen.
Question: You see it from time to time in college basketball this time of year, teams like losing a step because of all the games that pile up. But has it impressed you how your team really hasn't, considering yesterday, coming off of three straight overtime games really, the amount of energy that it was able to bring?
Ryan: Yeah, once we got through all the people that were mad because we didn't play our fourth overtime game. Some people actually thought that that might be a record, four. Some other teams have had three.
Scott Hettenbach and Henry (Perez-Guerra) and everybody involved with anything conditioning or training or medical, our guys get first class treatment here and advice on nutrition, and yet still you get some things that pop up. But overall, I think I'm pretty fortunate to be coaching at an institution where they value the health and welfare of the players at the highest level.
So I think that's why they've been able to handle a lot of the different things over the 12 years that I've been here the way they have.
Question: Bo, you obviously have that streak of top four finishes in the Big Ten going. What do you think that says about the program, and is it something you and/or the players think about as something you strongly want to keep going?
Answer: You know, I don't know what the players sometimes think when they're away from, but we never bring it up. It's not anything in any discussions. There have been times in the past where I mentioned there's been a lot of sweat dropped on this floor by a lot of guys before you, and you might want to think about ever taking a possession off or not playing hard all the time. You know you represent more than just yourself when you play here.
But I've never mentioned numbers, championships, where we want to position ourselves or need to be up at this level. I've never done that. But when Patrick does his statistical thing sometimes, what I hear from people outside the area, that is the one thing about our guys that they comment on is how consistent they've been.
So I think they should take that as a pretty good compliment, and hopefully that spurs guys on to say, hey, we want to finish higher than average. That's still -- in this league, you finish higher than average, you tend to get a chance to play some more, and you know what these guys want to do at the end of the year. That's never been a secret.
Hopefully, they can keep that going.
Question: Ben Brust leads the team with five double doubles. How does a guy with his size or lack of size accomplish something like that?
Answer: Because you just brought up his size. He's tired of hearing it all his life. Guys with a little chip on their shoulder, they always figure they've got something to prove. If you're always told that you weren't very handsome, some guys would start to not go very many places, wear disguises, if they weren't handsome, and hide.
But, Ben, he's been told he wasn't -- a lot of people didn't think he'd play in college, then Big Ten, you've got to be kidding me. A lot of people say, Ben Brust in the Big Ten? In life, it's not bad all the time to have that edge. He's got the edge. Along with the shaved head, or the short haircut.
I don't know if that's shaved or not. Is that shaved? That's pretty short. I got in the locker room and had to put sunglasses on yesterday when I gave my pregame talk. He sits right under one of those lights.