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November 7, 2011MADISON - The sample size is about as small as it can get, but by the looks and sounds of things don't be surprised to see true freshman Traevon Jackson playing some solid minutes for Bo Ryan's Badgers.
At least during he early portion of the season.
"He has developed very quickly and has adopted our reads a lot quicker than some of the other guys," Ryan said of Jackson's defensive ability. "That's why he's got the potential to get more minutes."
During Wisconsin's media day press conference two weeks ago Ryan talked about the impression true freshman Jarrod Uthoff had made during that early juncture of the season. Ryan said that Uthoff would play and play early for the Badgers.
That's probably still in play.
But the fact of the matter is that Jackson, along with Uthoff, has picked up things quicker than any of the other newcomers, particularly defensively. As long as that continues, or as long as both those two freshmen stay ahead of the other freshmen, they'll play.
Should Jackson get passed there is nothing guaranteed.
"If that stops happening and other guys learn a little quicker and move ahead of him then those guys will be playing more," Ryan said. "It's still all about what you can do in game situations to help the team overall both on the offensive and defensive end.
Jackson played 17 minutes against UW-Stevens Point in Saturday's exhibition. He scored five points and dished two assists in that game. No other true freshman played more than seven minutes.
Same old, same old:
Since Bo Ryan has been around Wisconsin he's always left it up to the player in regards to redshirting. If a player feels like he has a chance to play then a lot of time they'll forget about redshirting with hopes of seeing the floor.
The coaching staff will talk about a given players options prior to making that decision, but ultimately it comes down to what the player feels is the right option for him.
This season is no different. According to Ryan, though, there haven't been any discussions with any of the players to this point.
"It's always on the player," Ryan said. "I know, Jon Leuer should have redshirted, Keaton Nankivil and Tim Jarmusz, too. They all would have been back this year. Is that what you were going to say?
"It would have to be this week, a decision, if somebody wanted to."
NBA lockout effect:
With the NBA currently locked out and seemingly in a standstill negotiation wise, a couple of former Badgers have found it worthwhile to practice with the UW team. Both Michael Finley and Devin Harris, two of UW's all-time greats, spend Friday afternoon practicing with UW.
"We have good practices when we don't have NBA guys on the court," Ryan said. "But it was kind of neat to have the two of them out there. They interacted pretty well with the players and they made some observations to me about certain guys and certain things.
"They did everything that our guys did and it made for an interesting practice."
Ewing a Badger basketballer?
For those of you that follow Badger football, can you even imagine what fullback Bradie Ewing would look like in a basketball uniform? Could you imagine what he would be capable of doing on any given block out attempt?
It almost happened.
"He's always been very special," Bret Bielema said. "He's a kid that Bo Ryan and those guys were trying to recruit for basketball so I had to out recruit Bo just to get him here.
"That was a task in and of itself."
Instead of taking Ryan's preferred walk-on offer, Ewing took Bielema's walk-on offer to play for the football Badgers. Judging by the way his career has gone and what seems to lie ahead for the senior fullback, it's obvious he probably made the right choice.
But who knows, he might have been a similar player on the basketball court.
"He had come to our camps," Ryan said. "He was a tough, hard-nosed player. A Josh Gasser type. I'd still like to see Gasser and Bradie go one on one. Maybe we can get a little charity thing set up."
In the dark:
Believe it or not, UW's season-opening opponent Kennesaw State does not play on national television a lot, or any television for that matter. That probably explains why Wisconsin is having such a difficult time acquiring film from the Owls in preparation for Saturday's game.
"I'm not even going to attempt to say anything about Kennesaw because we do not even have anything," Ryan explained. "I couldn't say it. I don't know. We're trying to get information, but we've got so many things to take care of on our own. We've got plenty on our drills today and the rest of the week to worry about us.
"But we'll eventually get something."
The following is the audio file from Ryan's presser: