Everything that is supposed to be good and right about College Sports, is represented by The University of Wisconsin Basketball. I know that UCONN walked off with a National Title last night, beating Kentucky, but that is just part of the story. The Huskies are fresh off of a post-season ban, while their opponent—Kentucky is seemingly destined to find the NCAA knocking on their door sometime soon. That may be unfair speculation…but it is the history of Wildcat Head Coach John Calipari.
This is not about UCONN cutting down the nets, or Kentucky’s “One-and-done” revolving door of McDonalds All-American Freshmen. This IS about the Wisconsin program…this is about Bo Ryan…this is about 13-years of sustained greatness…this is about being above suspicion…this is about 4 and 5-year players…this is about toughness—commitment—and excellence.
The biggest mistake in judging Wisconsin is—“they don’t have talent.” The Badgers actually have NBA talent in Frank Kaminsky, Sam Dekker, and maybe some others--Nigel Hayes? That being said, Wisconsin had the least amount of “Athletic Talent” on the court in the Final Four. What is Wisconsin’s greatest attribute—if not talent? Toughness… that comes from Chester’s Bo Ryan. This program builds and breeds no excuses Basketball.
Guys like Ben Brust, the lone on court contributor finishing his eligibility. Guys like Josh Gasser who was choosing between Northwestern and Northern Iowa when UW offered. Guys like Frank Kaminsky who fielded scholarship offers from Northwestern, DePaul, Bradley, and Northern and Southern Illinois. Guys like Traevon Jackson who only received one BigTen offer. Guys who are talented and tough…but not threatening the One-and-Done class.
Wisconsin Basketball is free of Academic suspicion. Checkout this great piece in The New York Times last week. http://www.nytimes.com/2014/03/30/sports/ncaabasketball/for-wisconsin-student-athlete-is-not-an-oxymoron-in-ncaa-tournament.html?_r=0
Bottom line description of the Wisconsin Basketball program—proud, tough, committed, student-athletes. The Badger Way.