A four-year letterwinner on the mens basketball team, Tanner Bronson was best known for his underdog story at Wisconsin. Bronson began his tenure with the team as a student manager, but earned a roster spot as a walk-on for his final four years (2005-08) in Madison. A Kohl Center crowd favorite, Bronson appeared in 39 games for the Badgers, capping his career with a Big Ten title as a senior in 2008. Now you can find him answering to the name Coach Bronson as a member of the Sioux Falls Sky Force coaching staff of the NBA-Development League.
When was the last time you were in Madison
BRONSON: I havent been back in about nine months since I moved away. I left in the fall for my job in South Dakota and havent had a chance to get back.
When is the next time you are planning on returning to Madison
BRONSON: I think Im probably going to come back in July to play in Coach Ryans `Love of the Game golf tournament and see all my former teammates.
What do you miss most about Madison
BRONSON: I think just being around my teammates. We had great chemistry on the team and all of those guys are my best friends. A lot of them are still in Madison and I think I just miss being around the guys and hanging out. I miss the atmosphere of the city of Madison.
What is your greatest memory as a member of the Badger mens basketball team
BRONSON: For me it was undoubtedly senior night against Penn State when we got to clinch the Big Ten title. It had been a goal for every one of the seniors and it was our final opportunity. To do it at home, in front of our fans and family.
That and hitting a 35-foot 3-pointer in that game, huh
BRONSON: Ha ha yeah, exactly. It was a just great time. We could celebrate with all of our friends and family and teammates, who are pretty much your best friends. So that was really cool for me.
Where are you working these days
BRONSON: Im currently on the coaching staff for the Sioux Falls Sky Force of the NBDL. Its a little different here than the college game. Its full of guys who are trying to make it to the NBA. Ive been doing everything from working out guys every day, to helping with practice, helping get the game-plan prepared and scouting. Thats pretty much what Ive been doing for the past year.
Have you always wanted to get into coaching
BRONSON: Ive wanted to get into coaching for a while. I always felt that I thought about the game like a coach. I just wanted to try it and see if I could succeed. Obviously its a tough profession. Its not easy to keep your position, you have to be very successful and there is a lot of competition for jobs. For me I just thought I had a pretty good coachs mind and I wanted to see if that was the case.
What does next year hold for you
BRONSON: It looks like Ill be here for another year working as an assistant again. Last year was obviously really new to me. I learned a lot and this year I fell like Ill be more prepared and able to do some different things that maybe last year I wasnt ready for.
What do you think is the biggest difference between pro and college basketball
BRONSON: I think the biggest difference is that everybody is bigger, faster, stronger at this level. There is also more spacing on the floor and its easier to see peoples weaknesses in the pro game, I think. With the spacing and the deeper 3-point line and things like that.
Do you get and chance to play with the team ever or are you mostly holding the clipboard and coaching
BRONSON: Im mostly holding the clipboard, but there are times. In our league you can only hold 10 guys, so if a player gets injured we need someone to fill in. We need to have 10 to practice, so at times I get to lace it up which feels good. Ive been a basketball player my whole life, so its fun to get back and play a little bit.
Did you have any other Big Ten players on your roster this season
BRONSON: We had Justin Johnson who played at Iowa and also Frank Williams, from Illinois.
What was it like coaching former teammate Greg Stiemsma for one game this season
BRONSON: Greg and I have a really good relationship and it was fun I think for both of us having him on the team and getting a look. It was good experience for Greg because there are a lot of NBA guys that watch the D-League. I think thats a potential goal for him. There wasnt much difference in our relationship from being teammates or player-coach. Were still friends and we both just want whats best for each other. It was a lot of fun for both of us.