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October 24, 2011
Ryan talks team, replacing voids
MADISON - Just as the sun rising on a daily basis has become reliable throughout the millennia, so to has the inevitable question during Wisconsin basketball media day.
'Coach Ryan, how will you replace the talent you lost a season ago, in this case specifically Jon Leuer, Keaton Nankivil and Tim Jarmusz?'
Consistent with the reliable theme, Bo Ryan, dressed in a black Wisconsin pullover, handled the question like he has during his career at UW, now about to start his 11th season.
"That's about 90-plus minutes a game between those three guys," Ryan said. "I know there are guys that want to and they're trying to prove that now on the practice court. It might not be someone putting up Jon Leuer numbers, but we don't ask for that.
"We just ask them to make their contributions."
Between Leuer, Nankivil and Jarmusz, Wisconsin needs to figure out a way to make up nearly 32 points per game, 13.6 rebounds and plenty of explosive ability. The three-point shooting, the ability to carry a team in tough situations and general leadership will all be up for the taking in 2011.
Ryan, staying consistent with his answer of recent media day press conferences, made it a point to say it's not about replacing individual statistics. He made it clear that they never told Jordan Taylor that he needed to take over for what Trevon Hughes was able to accomplish, or for Josh Gasser to pick up the slack left by the void of Jason Bohannon.
That's simply not the way Ryan has built his program. He's not going to stray from that philosophy now.
"Jordan Taylor had played the prior year, but he understood his mission," Ryan said. "He understood what our concept was for him to accomplish for the team. Take care of the ball, take good shots and play good defense.
"So he went out and had an All-American year."
That, in essence, is the story of a Ryan coached team. Players may not always play at an All-American level, but they will improve. That's just how he runs things.
So though it's a tireless question, it's far from a tired process.
"We have to figure out right now where the points are coming from," Ryan said. "There's something about points. People usually step up and get them if you run good offense, get good shots and have guys that are unselfish.
"We have to get guys who can fill those minutes that understand the system better than what they did a year before."
-Though it's early, it's apparent that Rob Wilson is in danger of falling behind the curve due to nagging injuries. According to Ryan, he's suffered an injury separate from the hamstring injury he was dealing with a year ago.
"You can show you're hungry if you're on the court," Ryan said. "If you're not on the court you can't. He's missed practices. It's hard when you're on, you're off, you're on and you're off.
"He's trying to fight through that right now."
-Jared Berggren, who has had issued with his shoulder throughout his career, is fully healthy entering the season.
"Jared is ready," Ryan said. "He got a taste last year. Somebody would have to do whatever to keep him off the court. It's his time."
Ryan on the performance of Jarrod Uthoff so far in practice:
"He'll play at the University of Wisconsin and he'll play early. He's a player. Better than expected, but don't tell him I said that. I think the other guys have a chance to play. I'm just saying he's kind of picking up things that Josh did last year. Coaches like good listeners and fast learners. I've never seen a more conscientious guy. He's extremely conscientious."