Nov. 5, 2012
BY MIKE LUCAS
MADISON, Wis. -- As a freshman, Wisconsin's Traevon Jackson made seven shots in 17 games.
In Sunday's Red/White scrimmage, he made seven shots in eight attempts.
Nobody was jumping to conclusions, least of all Jackson.
But he agreed that it was a good starting point, and something to build on.
"This was just a scrimmage so I need to continue doing it when the regular season gets under way," conceded the 6-foot-2, 213-pound Jackson. "But it was good to just play; it felt really good."
Especially since he played so little last season. In his 17 appearances, Jackson averaged 5.4 minutes, and accounted for 19 points on 19 field goal attempts (7-of-19).
Sunday, he finished with 16 points, three assists, one steal and zero turnovers.
"I felt like I got to show that all my hard work has been paying off," Jackson said.
Over the summer, Jackson went back home and trained with Anthony Rhodman, who has been the personal trainer for a number of Columbus, Ohio players, including Michigan point guard Trey Burke.
Among Jackson's training partners were Burke (Northland High School), and Darian Cartharn (Canal Winchester) who's now at Missouri-St. Louis after stops at Wright State and a junior college.
"We were in the gym every day," said Jackson, the all-time leading scorer at Westerville South. "My focus was on becoming a better all-around player, skill-wise."
That entailed "perfecting areas" of strengths and "getting better in areas of weaknesses" to which he summarily volunteered, "According to a lot of media, my shot needed work."
The obvious irony is that his dad, Jimmy Jackson, is part of the media; a Big Ten Network analyst. "I've always been confident and I'm going to continue to be confident with that (his shot)," he said.
In the same breath, he admitted that his shooting "can definitely use work all the time."
Now that junior guard Josh Gasser has been sidelined for the season with a knee injury, Jackson is in line to get considerable more playing time in the backcourt rotation.
"But I didn't want it to happen this way," Jackson said.
Gasser was at courtside for Sunday's scrimmage at the Kohl Center. He was introduced with the "White'' squad, which featured Jackson, Ben Brust and Dan Fahey as the starting guards.
Gasser was wearing a brace on his left knee and white game pants under a red warm-up top. Moving around slowly with the assistance of crutches, he's scheduled for surgery this week.
"Josh was a big part of our team," Jackson said. "He was a leader and we miss him a lot. But we have to move on in terms of everybody else - we have to have a good season for him."
Jackson was planning on elevating his game before Gasser was injured in practice.
"I felt like I had prepared and I was ready to step in if there was a void," said Jackson, who wants to stay even-keeled. "I can never get too high, and never get too low. I have to continue to play hard."
Gasser, meanwhile, has the utmost confidence in Jackson.
"He's going to help out a lot," he said. "He was going to be a big part of our team no matter what. He's great offensively. And, defensively, he's one of the best on our team.
"People are going to see this year how good of a player he is."
George Marshall, who had 14 points in Sunday's scrimmage, has already seen the improvement.
"He has gotten better as far as his decision-making and his ball-handling skills," said Marshall, a redshirt freshman from Chicago. "His mid-range jump shot has really come around."
Marshall's shot looked pretty good Sunday, too. He drained 4-of-5 from beyond the 3-point arc. Marshall, like Jackson, knows that he must shoulder much more responsibility without Gasser.
"We obviously lost a big piece with Josh," said Marshall, who was the scout team point guard in practice last season. "All of us, collectively, will have to make up for that loss."
Marshall was a member of the "Red" squad which also featured seniors Jared Berggren, Ryan Evans, and Mike Bruesewitz and freshmen Sam Dekker and Zak Showalter.
Bruesewitz, of course, wasn't in uniform. He's still recovering from a severe laceration to his lower leg. His hair, though, was approaching mid-season form, circa 2010, when he grew it out.
During the scrimmage, Fahey went diving out of bounds after a loose ball - about three chairs down from where Bruesewitz was sitting. Fahey knocked over the water bucket behind the bench.
Bruesewitz had to like the hustle. Ryan did. He was seated at the scorer's table.
Following the scrimmage, the first wave of interviewers engulfed Zach Bohannon, the Air Force transfer who sat out last season. Bohannon is the brother of Jason Bohannon, a top-25 career scorer at UW.
"It was a year-long process for me and George (Marshall)," said the 6-foot-6, 210-pound Bohannon, a junior from Marion, Iowa, who was also relegated to the scout team in 2011-12.
"It was definitely good to get out here in front of fans (Sunday). I've always liked the Kohl Center feel. I've been here probably 25 to 30 times watching my brother. It's really a nice fit for me."
Bohannon had 13 points, six rebounds and three steals in the scrimmage.
"He has some pretty good leadership qualities in his own way; he's a lot more vocal than J-Bo," Berggren said of Z-Bo, who made both of his 3-point shots in the scrimmage.
"He's really a smart player. He's always talking with coach (Greg) Gard and coach (Gary) Close and bouncing ideas off them and sharing different things that he sees on the floor.
"As far as his game, he's a real crafty player. He's going to find a way to get the job done. He's not the biggest or most athletic. But he uses his body well and he's got quick hands.
"I don't know if he's going to get 20 minutes a game or five minutes a game, but he's someone who's going to stay ready and whenever coach calls his number, he'll come in and contribute."
At the Big Ten media days in Chicago, UW coach Bo Ryan said, "Zach brings moxie."
Historically, Ryan's teams have gotten a lot of mileage out of that quality. This one should be no different. "Every day," Marshall said, "is another step to get better."