Posts Tagged ‘Tim Jarmusz’

‘Need to rededicate ourselves’

March 13, 2011 Comments off

INDIANAPOLIS — It took little more than three minutes for Wisconsin head coach Bo Ryan to sense something wasn’t right about his team Friday against Penn State.

With the Badgers trailing 10-0 in their second round game at Conseco Fieldhouse, he called for an early timeout and made a couple substitutions. As play resumed, Ryan stood in front of senior forward Keaton Nankivil and freshman Josh Gasser.

“I just can’t believe that you can’t compete better than that,” a noticeably frustrated Ryan said to his two underperforming starters.

Two hours later, Nankivil sat in front of his locker fielding questions from reporters. Once again, Wisconsin had made an early exit from the Big Ten tournament, suffering an ugly 36-33 loss to Penn State.

With a week to prepare for the NCAA tournament, Nankivil was faced with the question of what they needed to do to get ready, and whether there was enough time to do so.

“I think we have a lot of guys in here, we need to rededicate ourselves, especially for us seniors,” Nankivil said. “At this point, it’s one-and-done for your college career.

“There better be enough time, because we don’t have much time left.”

Between sitting on the bench early in the game and sitting at his locker following the loss, Nankivil walked off the court along with his teammates, dejected after seeing a solid defensive effort stymied by an awful shooting performance offensively.

When asked after the game how he felt, Nankivil thought of that walk.

“To be honest with you, I walked off the court about as frustrated as I’ve ever been today,” he said.

It was the first time the Badgers had lost consecutive games since a six-game losing streak in January 2009.

On the other side of the room was Gasser, a guard who despite starting for the Badgers, is relatively inexperienced, especially when it comes to postseason play.

For the freshman out of Port Washington, Wis., the question came up about what was going on with the team that could allow them to give up its highest point total in years one game and score its fewest in years the next.

Put simply, he just didn’t know.

According to his head coach, it didn’t have to do with focusing too much on one thing.

“The story of the guy, the coach who asked one of his players how his grades went, and the kid said, three Fs and a D, do you know the answer the coach came back with? He says, “I’ve got the answer for you. You spent way too much time on one class,” said Ryan. “Defensively we couldn’t have done things any worse than we did in our last game. So before you ask did we spend all our time on defense, no, but it might have looked like that.”

Another starter, Tim Jarmusz, remained confident in the Badgers’ ability to come back in a week and begin a strong postseason run.

Despite looking a lot like recent Wisconsin teams that have struggled late in the regular season before making early exits from the postseason, Jarmusz insisted that it would not happen again.

“It’s a new year; it’s not going to be the same, it’s not last year,” he said. “We’re a good team, we can bounce back and we will. I know we will.

“This is a good team with a bunch of good guys. We’ll be out ready to play. This is the last go round for at least the six of us and we’re going to make the most of it.”

Seniors lead the way as Badgers finish perfect at home

February 28, 2011 Comments off

MADISON, Wis. — With 35 seconds remaining in Sunday’s game, Bo Ryan called a timeout. But with a 14-point lead, the Wisconsin head coach’s decision had nothing to do with game strategy.

As the UW student section chanted, “We want J.P.,” Ryan called for his three senior reserves, who entered in place of the Badgers’ three senior starters. One by one, Tim Jarmusz, Keaton Nankivil and Jon Leuer received standing ovations from the crowd.

Walking off the court at the Kohl Center for the last time, Leuer hugged Ryan, as the students had switched to “Thank you, seniors.” Taking a seat on the bench, the three seniors got the opportunity to watch Wisconsin’s final offensive possession of its 78-63 victory over Northwestern.

“It hasn’t really set in yet, I don’t think, for me,” Leuer said. “I definitely have a lot of emotions going. It’s just been an unbelievable four years here at the Kohl Center, and I’m definitely going to miss it.”

Just 22 seconds after they had entered, Wisconsin’s other three seniors were given their moment. Like the three starters, Wquinton Smith, Brett Valentyn and J.P. Gavinski walked off the court, one by one, for the last time.

It will not go down as the best game in the careers of the six seniors, but for the last one they’ll play at home, they were happy to come away with the victory. More often than not, that has been the result at the Kohl Center during their four years.

With a home record of 61-6 over four years, the 2011 senior class finished with a winning percentage of better than 91 percent at the Kohl Center. Overall, the Badgers have gone 97-33 over the same stretch, already making Wisconsin’s current seniors the winningest class in school history.

UW finished 16-0 at home this season, marking just the third time in 80 years the Badgers have gone undefeated at home.

“When we’re at the Kohl Center, we don’t plan on losing,” Leuer said. “Ever. This team did that this year, and I think that’s one of our goals.”

But the final score hardly indicates how close Wisconsin was to suffering its first home loss in nearly a year. With 7:14 remaining in the game, a 3-pointer from John Shurna drew Northwestern within three points at 58-55.

Five minutes later, a rare Jordan Taylor turnover allowed the Wildcats to score twice in just 10 seconds to cut the lead from 11 points to seven with 2:22 to go in the game. On the next trip down the court, Nankivil hit a 3-pointer to put the Badgers back up by 10 points and spark an 8-0 Wisconsin run to close out the game.

While the Wisconsin fans may not have shared his confidence, junior point guard Jordan Taylor said afterward that he never believed the outcome was in doubt.

“I just felt like we were always in control, especially the way Jon was playing,” Taylor said.

With the way the first half had gone for the Badgers, the game looked to be an easy UW victory until the Wildcats made their second-half run. While Northwestern shot well throughout, Wisconsin was even better, especially in the game’s first 20 minutes.

UW scored 43 points in the first half matching the second-highest total for the Badgers in a first half during Big Ten play. Wisconsin’s 65.4 shooting percentage marked the team’s best-shooting first half this season and the team’s best-shooting half overall in Big Ten play this season.

Leading by 13 at the break, the Badgers extended it to a 16-point lead over the first three minutes of the second half on six points from Leuer. From there, however, the game’s momentum switched in Northwestern’s favor.

Fueled by their hot shooting from 3-point range, the Wildcats went on a 20-7 run over a nearly 10-minutes stretch. The run was sparked by a 3-pointer from Michael Thompson and capped by Shurna’s big shot that cut the lead to just three points.

For Ryan and the Badgers, the Wildcats’ run was something they expected.

“When you prepare for them, you talk about those kind of runs,” Ryan said. “You really do. I’ve seen them do that to other teams, and the other team gets down, the other team gets a little disjointed. And they’re going to do that at times. They’re going to go through those streaks.”

But with the Kohl Center crowd behind them as they have been so many times over their four years, the Wisconsin seniors — with a little help from Taylor and freshman guard Josh Gasser — held off Northwestern to ensure their perfect mark at home this season.

Even then, after all 16 home games had been won, Ryan made no mention of it to his team.

“It never was in a conversation that we had,” he said. “All I said after the game was we closed out the home portion of the schedule. Now we still have games to play. But I’ve never talked about it.

“They can read, they listen to their classmates. They know what’s going on. But we’ve never talked about a streak.”

Notebook: Taylor one assist shy of triple-double

December 4, 2010 Comments off

MADISON — One rebound, one assist.

That’s how close Jon Leuer and Jordan Taylor were on Saturday to posting a double-double, and a triple-double against South Dakota. Instead, they settled for a combined triple-double with 49 points, 20 rebounds and 11 assists.

“Their two pretty good players certainly stepped up in this game,” Coyotes head coach Dave Boots said. “We could not contain Taylor’s penetration, he got to the basket whenever he wanted to, and Leuer is, he’s a lights out offensive player.”

Leuer led the way offensively, putting up a career-high 29 points on the undersized and overmatched Coyotes. He came up one rebound shy of the double-double, however, finishing with nine.

Of those 29 points, 20 came in the first half as Leuer carried the team to a 42-37 lead at the break. Leuer hit 6-of-11 attempts from beyond the arc, while shooting 11-for-21 overall.

“I definitely worked on that in the off-season, just trying to improve my shot and make it more consistent,” Leuer said. “But basically, just taking the looks that the defense gives me and trying to make the right reads.

“It’s mainly just spotting up, getting my feet set and getting down and ready to shoot it. I think that’s the biggest difference.”

For Taylor’s part, he had a game-high 11 rebounds, while finishing second behind Leuer with 20 points. With nine assists, though, he came up one shy of what would have been the first triple-double in school history.

As for the blame on not getting to 10 assists? There are two easy explanations: the one most people see, and the one offered by head coach Bo Ryan.

“The reason he came up short was because he had one turnover in the first half,” Ryan said. “If he’d have taken care of the ball and made the correct pass, he’d have had a triple-double.

“But as a result of that one turnover, because somebody mentioned Mike Bruesewitz missed that last jumper, and I didn’t want poor Mike to feel that it was him that cost him the triple-double. There were other opportunities guys could’ve hit shots.”

What did Taylor think of that explanation?

“Yeah, I’ll buy that, it probably was,” Taylor said. “I think I missed Mike under the basket one or two times, too. So I probably could’ve got it there, but… I think I actually yelled at Mike for taking that shot too, so early in the shot clock when we were up.”

As Ryan alluded to, the reason most observers would offer for Taylor coming up one short is a missed jumper by Mike Bruesewitz, off a dish from the junior point guard with just 1:17 remaining in the game.

Taylor had picked up assist No. 9, a new career-high, on the Badgers’ previous possession, and looked to be headed for the triple-double clinching dish on the play. Instead, he settled for his first career double-double, while hitting a three-pointer with 28 seconds to go to reach 20 points.

With the performance, Taylor is now averaging 15.1 points per game, with a solid 3.6 assist-to-turnover ratio that has made for a seamless transition into the Badgers’ starting point guard role.

“He showed tonight just how he runs the show,” Leuer said. “He’s just able to get into the lane and just cause so many different problems for the defense that they have to help on him and he just makes great decisions with the ball too. He finds the open guy, and he’s just a fun point guard to play with.”

Wilson sees limited action

Despite his apparent full recovery from a hamstring injury that kept him out of Wisconsin’s first two regular season games, junior Rob Wilson continues to see limited playing time.

Against the Coyotes on Saturday, Wilson saw the floor for just seven minutes, all of which came in the first half. While he played more minutes off the bench than anyone other than Tim Jarmusz, his effectiveness on the offensive end made the lack of playing time seem like an odd decision.

In those seven minutes, Wilson went 3-for-3 from the floor, with one rebound and two assists. According to his head coach, though, it was his defense that earned him an extended stay on the bench.

“It’s certain things that we do that we say and when you don’t do it, then you need to watch,” Ryan said. “It’s pretty simple. But that’s for us to deal with. I have rules on defense and if guys aren’t playing as much against certain teams, it might be because defensively they don’t handle certain things real well.”


Leuer dishes 7 assists in victory

November 17, 2010 Comments off

MADISON – Knowing that Jon Leuer could put big numbers against its smaller lineup Tuesday night, North Dakota frequently double teamed the Wisconsin big man.

Leuer countered by showing off his equally impressive passing skills.

“Our goal with that was trying to make him work,” UND head coach Brian Jones said. “He’s obviously extremely talented. Him and [Jordan] Taylor, we wanted to limit. We knew we weren’t going to shut them out, but limit their looks at the basket.”

The Fighting Sioux were more effective in limiting Jordan Taylor, as the junior guard added just 10 points on the night for the Badgers, on 4-of-7 shooting. Leuer still managed to put up his points, leading all scorers with 22 on 6-of-10 from the floor.

Most impressive, though, were Leuer’s career-high seven assists.

“He could’ve had 10 assists,” UW head coach Bo Ryan said. “I thought he did a great job of seeing the floor and not forcing things. He’ll need that against some other opponents that we play. He’ll see some of the same things, but we know he can pass.”

While he led the way with seven assists, Leuer was certainly not the only unselfish player on the night for the Badgers.

Wisconsin finished with 20 assists on 31 made baskets, while shooting 62 percent (31-for-50) from the floor on the night.

After Leuer, guards Josh Gasser and Taylor each contributed four assists, while Jared Berggren had two. Nankivil, Tim Jarmusz and Ryan Evans each added one assist apiece.

“They’re such a good passing team, whether you play them zone or man, their bigs do a tremendous job of seeing over the top of people,” Jones said. “We don’t have traditional Big Ten size, so those passes were probably a little bit easier for them tonight.”

It’s been well documented early in the season how much Leuer has improved from last year, thanks in large part to his participation with the USA Select Team.

Most of the time, however, the focus with Leuer is on his scoring ability — both inside and out — and his ability to crash the boards. Little attention is given to the 6-foot-10 forward’s ability to find open teammates.

“It’s kind of hard to work on your passing, I feel like that’s just like the more you play in open gym games, the more repetitions you get, you see things a little better,” Leuer said. “That’s what I was able to do tonight was just read the defense and make the play. Make the right play, hopefully.

“That’s just basically it. Reading the defense and making plays.”

When Leuer read the North Dakota defense, he found fellow senior forward Keaton Nankivil open more often than any other player.

As a result, Nankivil converted three times on Leuer assists, twice for dunks and once from beyond the arc. On the night, Nankivil finished with 18 points on 7-for-8 shooting.

“A lot of it had to do with how well Jon was reading that double team right out of the gates,” Leuer said. “I think they decided that they were going to double the post, and Jon did a great job of finding everybody.”

Column 3/23

March 23, 2010 Comments off

Thoughts from the airport on Big Red, UW’s weakness, Wittman

A Schelling for your Thoughts     The Badger Herald