Posts Tagged ‘Greg Gard’

Notebook: Gasser has historic debut

November 15, 2010 Comments off

MADISON – When asked about the kind of impact Josh Gasser could have, assistant coach Greg Gard said Wisconsin did not recruit him to sit on the bench.

Gasser didn’t wait too long to show why.

In his collegiate debut, the point guard from Port Washington scored 21 points on 5-of-8 shooting, while grabbing nine rebounds and dishing out three assists. Gasser also grabbed one steal against one turnover.

“He took care of the ball, he made great decisions,” head coach Bo Ryan said. “People will remember the points, but he did some other things pretty well.”

In just one game at Wisconsin, the 6-foot-3 guard has put his name in the record books, just behind Rashard Griffith.

With his 21-point debut, Gasser ranks second behind Griffith, who scored 27 on Nov. 27, 1993, in his first career collegiate game.

“Obviously that’s going to help his confidence level and that’s going to be great for us down the road,” Jordan Taylor said. “We knew what Josh could do, and we’ve been talking about that since the season started about guys having to prove themselves. He took a step toward doing that tonight.

“He almost had a double-double and the second-most points for a debut in Badger history. Maybe he’s the next like Devin Harris or something like that.”

What could make Gasser an essential piece to the Badgers offense, though, is his ability to grab nine rebounds in 26 minutes at the guard position.

As long as he continues to take care of the ball and play confident, aggressive basketball, Gasser will continue to see minutes, even when Rob Wilson returns. Gasser’s aggressive style showed in the 10 free throw attempts and the fact that six of his nine rebounds came on the offensive end.

“I always want to try and get my rebounds,” Gasser said. “I’ve always been pretty good at that in my career. I knew I could bring that to our team.

“I was just trying to do whatever I could out there to help us.”

Of course, Gasser’s impressive debut did not come without its teaching points.

As impressive as the freshman point guard was on the offensive end, his defense left something to be desired at times, as noted by his head coach.

“He got a lesson about a guy hitting a three and then hitting another one and then hitting another one, and not making a guy move off a spot or make a guy put the ball on the floor,” Ryan said. “So we guarded the three much better. They got into a little rhythm there, but he got some help from his teammates. Plus, he recognized an earlier pick up.”

Smith impressive in first career start

He had just one point in 17 minutes of play, but Wquinton Smith showed what he could contribute to the Badgers if given regular playing time this season.

Smith grabbed five rebounds, all on the offensive end, while dishing out three assists and turning the ball over just once. He picked up just one personal foul in the game as well, while going 1-for-2 at the free throw line.

“His shot didn’t go down, but he did the other things,” Ryan said. “I thought defensively he chased on the screens pretty well, manned up on his guy, got on the glass, was opportunistic. He’s just hungry to contribute. You can’t go wrong with those kind of guys.”

Bruesewitz continues to impress offensively

When putting together a defensive gameplan for stopping the Badgers, the first goal has to be limiting Jon Leuer‘s effectiveness. After that, Taylor is the secondary focus.

As for Rob Wilson and Keaton Nankivil, opponents are familiar with their names as well. After his impressive debut, Gasser is sure to get plenty of attention as well.

But not many people are going to expect Mike Bruesewitz to knock down outside shots the way he did Sunday.

“Mike looked like J-Bo out there for a stretch from last year,” Taylor said, referring to graduated guard Jason Bohannon. “I don’t think he hit the rim.”

Bruesewitz went 3-for-3 from beyond the arc as he scored 11 points on a perfect 4-of-4 shooting from the floor. His one basket that did not come via the three ball was perhaps the most impressive.

After hitting a couple open shots from the outside, Bruesewitz shot faked and drove around a defender to the rim for the easy bucket. It’s just one of a few things the sophomore appears ready to bring to the UW offense this season.

“He read the defensive player, that’s in our shooting drills,” Ryan said before adding some humor about Bruesewitz’s much talked about new look. “But I think the biggest key in the offseason was he felt a few times last year that he was open and he wasn’t getting the ball. So he wanted to make sure he was seen better this year.

“You can’t miss the Brueser out there. You’re going to find him.”

Gasser could play major role

November 9, 2010 Comments off

MADISON – As a freshman at Port Washington High School, he quickly made a name for himself as he led the Pirates to the Division II championship game.

Now a freshman guard for Bo Ryan‘s Badgers, it shouldn’t take long for Wisconsin fans to become familiar with Josh Gasser either.

“He understands the game, he plays much more mature than his actual age, he makes good decisions, makes plays, he knows how to play, and he doesn’t get rattled,” assistant head coach Greg Gard said. “He plays like a 21- or 22-year-old that’s been here for two or three years, not like a freshman that’s only been on campus for three months.”

As evidenced by his ability to lead a team as a high school freshman, and noted by Gard, Gasser plays beyond his years at point guard, something that players and coaches have quickly noticed about the 6-foot-3, 185-pound freshman since he arrived this summer.

Could that poise and confidence as a freshman result in more playing time for Gasser?

“Absolutely,” Gard answered. “I don’t think there’s any doubt. We didn’t recruit him to sit on the bench very long. So, he’s been given an opportunity to show what he can do in practice, and he definitely hasn’t disappointed. He’s definitely shown what we thought he could do and the impact we thought he could have.”

Gasser has already given fans a taste of what he can do in the Badgers’ scrimmages earlier this month and Saturday’s exhibition matchup against UW-La Crosse.

When the Badgers scrimmaged at the Field House back on Oct. 16, Gasser connected three times from beyond the arc, finishing with nine points and showing that he was not afraid to release the ball with a defender in his face. In 17 minutes of play during the Red-White Scrimmage, he tallied three points while dishing out two assists against one turnover while grabbing four rebounds and two steals.

In his first collegiate action against someone other than his Wisconsin teammates, Gasser was even more impressive. In 20 minutes, Gasser did not commit a turnover, while collecting four rebounds, one assist, and nine points on 3-of-6 shooting.

For fellow guards like Jordan Taylor, it was likely a relief Saturday to have Gasser on their side, rather than going up against him as they do every day in practice.

“He’s a competitor,” Taylor said. “He’s a tough kid and just loves to compete, bang his head around and bang other people’s heads around, too. He’s given me a few headaches already.

“As he continues to get better and his confidence continues to grow, I think he could see a lot of minutes. I’m looking forward to it, I like playing with him and it’s fun to play against him. He’s a great competitor and a great teammate, so I’d love to be on the court with him at the same time.”

Despite the hard work of trying to secure a major role on Ryan’s squad, Gasser has enjoyed his time so far at Wisconsin, going so far as saying he, “Wouldn’t want to be anywhere else but here.” The biggest challenge and difference in adjusting to the collegiate level for Gasser has been the physicality and intensity of the game.

Based on the early results and reviews from his teammates and coaches, though, Gasser seems to be getting along just fine in the more physical competition with the Badgers.

While he looks to be putting himself in position to take on a major position within the Wisconsin rotation, Gasser is happy for now with any role that comes his way.

“Whatever they put me in, I’ll do,” Gasser said. “If I come off the bench for a few minutes here and there, I’m fine with that. If I play a bigger role, that would be fine as well. Whatever I need to do to help us win.

“I’m not expecting anything as far as a lot playing time, but I’m working at it. If that’s what happens, it’s what I want.”

Leuer’s return to court underwhelming

February 23, 2010 Comments off

When junior forward Jon Leuer emerged from the locker room in uniform Thursday for the first time in 40 days, the question was when, not if, he would see his first action since Jan. 9.

There he sat, for the first 2:22 of the contest, watching his teammates from the bench, a familiar spot for Leuer, who had missed the team’s last nine games. What happened next was something relatively new for the native of Orono, Minn.

With 17:38 remaining in the first half of the contest between Wisconsin and Minnesota, Leuer entered the lineup in place of guard Tim Jarmusz, seeing his first action in nearly six weeks. According to Leuer, though, nothing had really changed in his time off.

“When you’re out there, you’ve got to be ready to go,” he said. “The game doesn’t change at all, you just have to really start picking up on things when you get back in there.”

Leuer played 26 minutes in his return, which was down only 1.2 minutes from what the 6-foot-10 forward had averaged before his Jan. 9 injury. In those 26 minutes, though, Leuer was decidedly less effective than usual.

Several of Leuer’s 12 shot attempts in the game were well off the mark, while a few of them were questionable to begin with in terms of shot selection.

Out of 12 shot attempts, Leuer converted on only two for four points, far less than the 15.4 points he had averaged before his injury. He also grabbed one defensive rebound and added one block, both of which were down — albeit only slightly for his number of blocks — from his averages of 6.2 rebounds and 1.2 blocks per game.

After saying he felt “game ready” earlier in the week, Leuer was less than satisfied with his performance.

“It’s not what I expected,” he said. “I would have liked to have played better and helped the team more, obviously. But you know, that’s just what it is. I’ve just got to learn from that and hopefully get better.”

On the defensive end, Leuer did not do much to slow down the Gophers’ pair of 6-foot-11 forwards. Both Damian Johnson and Ralph Sampson III reached double digits in scoring, contributing 11 and 10 points, respectively.

Johnson and Sampson also combined for 12 rebounds in the game.

Minnesota’s strong inside presence, combined with the lack of one for Wisconsin against the Gophers’ 2-3 zone despite Leuer’s return was one of the deciding factors in the Badgers’ 68-52 loss Thursday.

In his postgame press conference, head coach Bo Ryan thought Leuer’s performance was about what could have been expected for his first game back. Ryan was not worried about Leuer’s inaccuracy during his return from injury.

He also noted lineup changes due to foul trouble for starting forward Keaton Nankivil resulted in a change from the original game plan regarding Leuer’s return.

“I thought 20 to 25 minutes max was what he could get,” Ryan said. “He’ll find his mark. That wasn’t Jon’s fault or anything. … He’s still a good player; he still means a lot to us.”

According to assistant head coach Greg Gard, Leuer’s 2-for-12 performance may have had more to do with shot selection than an inability to make open shots.

That, Gard said, is something Leuer has to readjust to after an extended time off.

“I think maybe some of the shots Jon would like to have back, or maybe take a different shot at different times,” Gard said. “It’s going to take him a little while. Everybody’s expecting him to start where he left off — you step away from something for five to six weeks, it’s not going to be back.

“It’s like not golfing for five to six weeks,” Gard continued. “You’re not going to hit it down the middle — maybe Andy (North) can, but the rest of us can’t.”

Leuer echoed his coach’s comments, adding that he thought he had gotten tentative at times and perhaps his timing was off after so much time away from the game.

On a more positive note, Leuer’s left wrist — the one in which he fractured a bone in the Badgers’ Jan. 9 win over Purdue — felt no adverse effects during Thursday’s game.

“It felt pretty good,” Leuer said of his wrist. “Obviously, I’m not used to playing with something on it, so that’s kind of been an adjustment. But for the most part, it felt pretty good. It was pretty much pain free.”

A day later, Leuer said it felt no differently than it had on the days leading up to Wisconsin’s game against Minnesota at Williams Arena.

Ryan, Leuer and Gard all remained optimistic that the junior forward would continue to improve on a game-by-game basis.

According to Ryan, it’s just a matter of getting the chemistry and timing back between Leuer and his teammates; and that’s something that he said can only come with time.

“Our players need to have Jon in practice more,” Ryan said. “And Jon needs to get more reps in practice.”

MBB grades 2/23

February 23, 2010 Comments off

By Jordan Schelling
The Badger Herald