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Creating The Ultimate TBT Wisconsin Alumni Team

With many college basketball alumni teams taking part in the 2017 The Basketball Tournament (TBT), we looked at what a potential Wisconsin Badgers alumni team would look like. Who would be the coach? The booster? The players? Find out here.

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While September through March is always filled with a lot of fun and excitement for Wisconsin Badger fans, the sports calendar from the end of the NCAA Tournament to the start of college football season is miserable. With no teams to cheer on, fans are left with nothing better to do to fulfill their Badger craving than watching Bronson Koenig hit the occasional three-pointer in NBA Summer League games and read mindless, time wasting offseason posts on your favorite Badger blog (hi).

But what if that didn’t have to be the case? The Basketball Tournament, or TBT, is a 64-team basketball tournament played in the dog days of the sport’s year. The teams consist of former high school, college, and NBA players, all competing to win their team a $2 Million prize. There are many college alumni teams in the tournament, including Pittsburgh, Colorado, Villanova, Syracuse, Texas Tech, VCU, Ole Miss, Iowa State, and Marquette (spoiler alert: Marquette won’t win).

Unfortunately, Wisconsin didn’t put together an alumni team this season. But they might give it a try in the near future. It would be a great opportunity to win some money for the players and it would give the fans something to watch and get excited about with football season still a month away. I put together a dream team of Wisconsin alumni. Teams consist of a celebrity booster to bring attention to the team, a coach, and 9-15 players (current NBA/NCAA players not allowed).

Team Name: The Buzzcuts (shoutout Mark Titus)

Booster: Aaron Rodgers

What better person to bring attention to the team than their biggest celebrity fan? He has also been involved in some legendary Badger shots.

Coach: Bo Ryan

Who else could it be? As a college basketball Hall of Famer (he should be in the Naismith HOF too), Ryan would instantly be the best coach in the tournament. There’s no doubt he misses coaching, and this would be a great way to keep doing what he loves. The only problem is that I doubt TBT refs get paid enough to have to deal with Bo Ryan.

Players

-Jordan Taylor

A former All-American and a current professional for Hapoel Holon in Israel, Taylor is a no-brainer to run the point for the Badgers alumni team. It will be fun to see Taylor pull rabbits out of his hat with the shot clock winding down again.

-Traevon Jackson

Since Koenig is preoccupied with drilling triples for the Milwaukee Bucks, the team is going to need someone to take and make  clutch shots. Jackson could definitely fill that role. Just ask Michigan State. And Penn State. And Minnesota. Actually, just ask all the teams in the Big Ten.

– Josh Gasser

The return of Captain America! Every team needs a glue guy, and there is nobody better at that role than him. I guarantee he sets the record for charges taken and loose balls grabbed in TBT history.

-Zak Showalter

Remember what I said 30 seconds ago about Josh Gasser setting the record for charges taken? Nevermind. It’s going to be Showy. He can be the spark plug any team needs to make a deep run.

-Ben Brust

Just what this team needs! A scrappy white guard that can hit the three. Emphasis on the last part. Brust could, and likely still can, really shoot the three.

-Jared Berggren

When talking about great Badger big men, Berggren often gets overlooked. But that says more about his company than him. Wisconsin’s last five centers have been Ethan Happ, Frank Kaminsky, Berggren, Jon Leuer, and Brian Butch. But he was a remarkably consistent rebounder and shot blocker, while also scoring double figure points.

-Brian Butch

Despite never playing a game in the NBA, the “Polar Bear” has had an excellent proffesional career both overseas and in the D-League. He’s currently playing in Japan, but he was a D-League All-Star just three years ago. He’d be an instant double-double in TBT.

-Keaton Nankivil

Someone needs to hit that top of the key three-pointer.

– Mike Bruesewitz

A team can never have too many glue guys. It would also give me the opportunity to bring out my Bruesewitz wig.

– Greg Stiemsma

Although he was never that special as a Badger, Stiemsma is the only one on this list that cracked an NBA regular season roster. Stiemsma would be one of the best shot blockers in the tournament.

– Zach Morley

Although he’s 34 years old, Morley is still playing professional basketball for Alba Berlin.

– Joe Krabbenhoft

With his playing days in the rearview mirror, Krabbenhoft is now an assistant coach with the Badgers. But I bet he could still deliver a hard screen.

– Mike Wilkinson

As one of the original Bo Ryan Badgers, Wilkinson would be one of the oldest players on the team. But he’s only a few years removed from playing professional basketball, so I bet he could provide a few solid minutes per game.

All in all, this looks like a solid team. It may not be very talented but they are full of tough, gritty, blue collar, high IQ glue guys who bring their hard hats and lunch pails to the court every day. Just kidding, they have plenty of talent. In fact, with the amount of former professionals and college stars on the roster, they would likely be one of the favorites to win it all. It’s too late for this year, but hopefully we can see a team that looks something like this in the near future.

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Badgers Basketball

Former Badger Jon Leur traded to Milwaukee Bucks

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They say you can always go home, and for one former Wisconsin Badger he’s coming back to a state he called home for four years.

Former Badgers forward Jon Leuer was traded early on Thursday morning from the Detroit Pistons to the Milwaukee Bucks. In exchange for Leuer, the Bucks gave up the 30th overall pick in tonight’s NBA Draft and traded away Tony Snell.

Last season, Leuer played in 41 games for the Pistons and made just one start. He averaged 3.8 points and 2.4 rebounds per game in his ninth season in the NBA.

Leuer is a very similar player to Snell, but comes at a much more team-friendly salary.

In trading away Snell, the Bucks free up an additional $4 million in salary this year and another $12 million next year.

This could be seen as a way for the Bucks to pony up the big money that Khris Middleton wants from the team in order to stay in Milwaukee.

As for Leuer, he is 17th on the all-time Badgers scoring list with 1,376 points to his name. He also finished his career with 551 rebounds.

Leuer’s final season in Madison was his best statistically, as he helped lead the 2010-11 Badgers team to the Sweet 16. He averaged 18.3 points and 7.2 rebounds per game that year.

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Badgers Basketball

Badgers basketball land Davis twins

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After missing out on the Hauser brothers late last month, the Wisconsin Badgers added a different pair of siblings on Saturday night.

Following an offer to the brother of 4-star shooting guard Johnny Davis and an appearance at a team camp this weekend, the Davis brothers announced their pledge to the Badgers according to Badger247.

It took less than a week after head coach Greg Gard gave the O.K. to offer Jordan for the pair to commit to Wisconsin.

Johnny held offers from Marquette, West Virginia, Iowa, Minnesota, DePaul, UNLV and others.

Jordan had offers from UW-Milwaukee and Green Bay, while also becoming a sought after recruit on the football field as well. Once he became serious about wanting to play basketball first, it seemed like a matter of time before Wisconsin offered.

That time came after seeing Jordan play in a camp last weekend.

It also came because it was time to figure out if Johnny was serious about the Badgers or not.

With the July evaluation period coming up, Wisconsin’s coaching staff put the final chips in the middle with this recruitment and it appeared to pay off.

Johnny joins as the No. 141 ranked player in the country and the No. 14 ranked combo guard in the nation according to the 247Sports composite rankings.

The twins will join Detroit, Mich. native Lorne Bowman in the 2020 class.

Wisconsin still has one scholarship available in the class as well, which is likely being held for 5-star and Wisconsin native Jalen Johnson.

After missing out on talented in-state players over and over again, this was a major win for Gard and his coaching staff considering how hard schools like West Virginia and Marquette were after Johnny’s commitment.

As for Jordan, it appears the coaching staff believes he is improving enough to get a scholarship and continue his improvement with this program.

Offers don’t come out just because it may win over a different recruit at Wisconsin. That wasn’t Bo Ryan’s style and it also isn’t Greg Gard’s style.

The trio of players put the Badgers at No. 8 in the country and No. 3 in the Big Ten in the 2020 class as of today.

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Badgers Basketball

Former Badgers get No. 2 seed in The Basketball Tournament Columbus regional

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Who doesn’t want $2 million? That’s the prize at stake for winning The Basketball Tournament and a group of former Wisconsin Badgers want in.

On Tuesday it was officially announced that the Kohl Blooded team — spearheaded by former Badgers point guard Kam Taylor — will be the No. 2 seed in the Columbus regional.

They will take on No. 7 seed Mid-American Unity, which is making its second appearance in the TBT after a year off. That group represents teams from across the Mid-American conference.

As for the Badgers, the roster will be made up of some very strong names from the past. The headline names include members of the back-to-back Final Four teams in Nigel Hayes and Vitto Brown. Also joining will be Jordan Taylor, Ryan Evans, Trevon Hughes and recent grad Charles Thomas. You can see the full roster here.

The regionals will take place July 19-21 in Columbus with the winner of this regional meeting seven other winners in Chicago for championship week.

All games will be broadcast on the ESPN family of networks, so you should be able to find them either streaming or on cable television.

Kohl Blooded vs. Mid-American Unity will tip at 1pm ET on Friday, July 19.

The winner will take on the winner of Red Scare (Dayton alumni) and The Region (players from Northwest Indiana) in the regional semi-final the next day.

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Badgers Basketball

Badgers play final card in attempt to land 2020 G Johnny Davis

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A week after losing out on Joey and Sam Hauser, the Wisconsin Badgers basketball program needs some positive momentum on the player acquisition front.

With three scholarships available in the 2020 class and two top in-state players in their sites, the Badgers coaching staff has been about as patient as possible.

On Wednesday, Badger247 reports that UW has offered Jordan Davis, the twin brother of top target Johnny Davis. It’s not a walk-on or grayshirt, but a full scholarship offer.

After two years of waiting for that offer to come, it finally did.

Jordan is an unranked player in basketball at this time, but I expect that to change once the scouting services catch wind of this offer. Johnny Davis is the No. 131 ranked player in the country, a 4-star rated prospect and the No. 3 ranked player in the state of Wisconsin in the 2020 class.

With the brothers set to make a weekend visit for team camp in two weeks, this is a move that undoubtably puts the pressure squarely on Johnny Davis at this point.

Simply put, the Badgers need to know if Davis is going to commit or if they need to move on.

Offering Jordan a full ride is about the only thing left in the Badgers quiver at this point. If getting the dream of playing basketball together at the same school and in-state no less doesn’t tip the scales, at least the Badgers know they can move on.

Is it a desperate move? In some ways one could see it as such. Clearly the Badgers want Johnny in a major way and they see offering Jordan as a critical move that could separate themselves from the competition.

However, this also isn’t a coaching staff willing to just throw away a scholarship in an effort to get a coveted player to play for them. That’s simply not Greg Gard’s style.

Jordan is also a player they see as a contributor, or he wasn’t getting an offer. Plain and simple.

There’s no doubt that this move ups the pressure, like I mentioned before. But, that’s not a bad thing, as UW needs to know where they stand heading in to July’s evaluation period.

If the Davis brothers can’t commit or at least internally give the coaching staff the information that will make them feel comfortable, they need to start getting offers out to other big time players whom they’ve been waiting to offer.

Consider UW is an underdog to land in-state five-star prospect Jalen Johnson, and you have to consider this move a smart one for the long term prospects of the 2020 class.

Will the Davis twins jump at the offer to play together at Wisconsin?

Some in the recruiting world believe this was the situation that was holding Wisconsin back all along. So, don’t be surprised to see this affect the recruitment of both players in a big way.

As for Jordan, his game has also caught the attention of Iowa and Minnesota and he did have scholarship offers from both Green Bay and Milwaukee prior to this one.

What may have really held the Badgers coaching staff and others back was the fact that Jordan is also a good player on the football side and wasn’t sure which sport he wanted to pick.

It seems like UW has gotten the clue that Jordan may be more receptive to a basketball future and pulled the trigger on the offer.

We’ll see how much longer the two stay uncommitted, but don’t be surprised to see something happen following July’s AAU season.

Letting that play out and getting all the offers out there on the table is just a smart move for the twins. From there, it’s up to them and clearly the Badgers have left no stone unturned in this situation.

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