Sunday, October 28, 2012

A Post from the Future

Through a quirk in the space-time continuum, this post appeared in my drafts folder this morning. It is dated October 28, 2020. 

Update: Further quirks in the space-time continuum seem to be correcting this post as the universe works its way along. As we all know, the arc of the basketball universe is long, but it bends toward Bo Ryan.

Badger fans are chattering with excitement about how the team's stacked recruiting class gives Bo Ryan's Badgers a legitimate chance to close out his Hall of Fame career with yet another trip to the Final Four. But every now again someone throws cold water on this chatter with the supposed truism: Bo Ryan doesn't start freshman, so as good as the Badgers may be don't count on any immediate contribution from the Big Three. The response is always the same: what about Alando Tucker, Devin Harris, Josh Gasser, and George Marshall—all of whom started most every game as true freshmen? 

Of course, these four were special players. After all, it was the backcourt of Gasser and Traevon Jackson Marshall that led Wisconsin to its first second Final Four national championship since 1947 and then to the Undefeated Season back to the Final Four again the following year. But they do prove that Bo Ryan starts freshmen when freshmen are the best players available

Still, we sometimes forget the unusual circumstances that led to these young men starting as freshman. All the way back in 2012, I explained the unusual circumstances that allowed Tucker, Harris, and Gasser to start a lot of games as freshman underclassmen. And although we all remember that Marshall Jackson started at point guard for four three years, we sometimes forget the tragedy that allowed this to happen: Josh Gasser's knee injury right before Marshall's redshirt freshman Jackson's sophomore season began.

So Bo Ryan does start freshmen, but history shows that it takes unusual circumstances for it to actually happen. It remains to be seen how unusual this upcoming 2020-21 season will be.


  1. I must admit, I'm still to devestated by the injury news on Gasser to post much. I could barely read your post on the frontcourt today. I am a big Gasser fan, and expected him to be the best player on the Badgers this year. Maybe not in terms of scoring or other stats, but he was going to be this teams leader. He has a competetive drive like few players. That will be missed this year.
    I was looking forward to seeing Marshall and Jackson develop this year. I guess I'll get to see plenty of that.

  2. The only silver lining I see is that my expectations for the basketball team are now down to a much more reasonable level.

  3. When I daydream about the Badger's future success I tend to look for 2 things that sync up to give them a chance for a special season. A group of experienced and productive upperclassmen, and an couple young guys that have lots of potential to be productive early in their career. This season's team seemed to fulfill that potential with 5 productive upperclassmen in Gasser, Brust, Bruiser, Evans and Berggren. Decker seemed poised to take on the role of productive youngster, and I was confident that between Marshall, Jackson, and Kaminsky that Bo would find another major contributor. With Gasser's injury I now have to realistically downgrade my expectations, although not my hopes.
    2 questions now dominate my daydreams: Who will get all those minutes Gasser would have played? When will the stars align again?
    The natural choice for taking Gasser's minutes is Marshall, Jackson and Brust. I'm sure Bo will get his best players on the court, which is why I'm now fascinated to watch the early season games. Does Bo stick with his guards and give freshman Schowalter minutes? Does Bo go Big and play Kaminsky at the 4? Is Decker good enough to start, and if so why not start him at the 2? Bo is not afraid to go big at the 2. Some may remember a much less athletic but equally big Ray Nixon starting at the 2 for Bo. What about Bohanon, Dukan, and Anderson? Have any of those guys made jumps in improvement over the summer warranting minutes?
    The stars don't look like they will align next year. Next year does not look like a super promising group of seniors unless Dukan and Bohannon make huge jumps and contribute this year. Brust would be the only other senior in that group. That does not bode well for next year's team. UW should have a good group of juniors in redshirted Gasser, Kaminsky, Jackson and Anderson.
    2014-2015 looks better with the Gasser class as seniors, and Marshall, Decker and Showalter as juniors (if Showalter doesn't redshirt). The question then would be who are the youngsters that will make that solid group into contenders. I guess I'll have to wait to find out.