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ESPN Wisconsin Blogs - Zach Heilprin

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Badgers basketball: Kaminsky, Ryan named semifinalists for national awards

Mar 04, 2015 -- 8:40pm
MADISON - Wisconsin’s Bo Ryan and Frank Kaminsky were named as semifinalists for a pair of prestigious awards on Wednesday.
Ryan, now in his 14th year as the Badgers coach, is among 15 semifinalists for the Naismith Coach of the Year award, while Kaminsky found his name on a list of 10 semifinalists for the Naismith Trophy, which goes to the best college player in the country.
The Badgers are currently 26-3 and on Sunday clinched at least a share of the Big Ten title, the fourth under Ryan. Much of that success is due to Kaminsky, who leads Wisconsin in points (18.1 per game), rebounds (8.3 per game), assists (69), blocks (46) and steals (24). He’s also shooting 41.7 percent from 3-point range – the top figure on the Badgers roster.
Wisconsin travels to Minnesota on Thursday to play the Gophers. A win there, or against Ohio State on Sunday, would give the Badgers the Big Ten title outright, as would Maryland losing to Nebraska on Saturday.
Coach of the Year semifinalists:
Tony Bennett, Virginia
Mike Brey, Notre Dame
John Calipari, Kentucky
Scott Drew, Baylor
Mark Few, Gonzaga
Chris Holtmann, Butler
Ben Jacobson, Northern Iowa
Larry Krystkowiak, Utah
Archie Miller, Dayton
Steve Prohm, Murray State
Bo Ryan, Wisconsin
Bill Self, Kansas
Wayne Tinkle, Oregon State
Mark Turgeon, Maryland
Jay Wright, Villanova
Player of the Year semifinalists
F Willie Cauley-Stein, Kentucky (junior)
G Jerian Grant, Notre Dame (senior)
F Frank Kaminsky, Wisconsin (senior)
C Jahlil Okafor, Duke (freshman)
G Kevin Pangos, Gonzaga (senior)
G Cameron Payne, Murray State (sophomore)
G D’Angelo Russell, Ohio State (freshman)
F Seth Tuttle, Northern Iowa (senior)
F Kyle Wiltjer, Gonzaga (junior)
G Delon Wright, Utah (senior)

Badgers football: Settle officially hired

Mar 03, 2015 -- 10:35am
MADISON - The University of Wisconsin made it official Tuesday morning, announcing the hiring of John Settle as their running backs coach.
This will be the second stop in Madison for Settle. He coached the running backs under Bret Bielema from 2006 to 2010, a very successful stretch for UW’s ground game. In his five seasons, the Badgers had a 1,000-yard rusher every year, including two in 2010.
Settle left Wisconsin following the 2010 season to take a job in the NFL with Carolina Panthers. He spent two years there and then one more with the Cleveland Browns.
The 49-year-old came back to the college game in 2014, overseeing the running backs with new UW head coach Paul Chryst at Pittsburgh. Under his watch, sophomore James Conner ran for 1,765 yards and scored 26 touchdowns on his way to earning All-ACC honors and being named the conference’s Offensive Player of the Year.
As a player, Settle ran for a school-record 4,409 yards and 43 touchdowns at Appalachian State in the mid-1980s. He would go on and play six seasons in the NFL with the Atlanta Falcons and Washington Redskins, making one Pro Bowl after rushing for 1,024 yards in 1988.
As a whole, Settle inherits a relatively inexperienced group of tailbacks. Only one player – junior Corey Clement – has carried the ball when the game was still in doubt. However, the position is loaded with talent, including four-star running back Jordan Stevenson from Texas, who will arrive on campus this summer.
Settle replaces Thomas Brown, who left in February to take the running backs job at his alma mater, Georgia.
In the press release announcing Settle’s hired, Wisconsin included some reactions from former players about his return:
Montee Ball (2009-12)
“Coach Settle was a big part of why I chose to go to Wisconsin. He came to my house and my family loved him. He really spoke highly of the education available at Wisconsin and the success of the athletic program and it was something he believed in. One thing I really enjoyed about him was how easy he was to talk to both on and off the field. He’s a great fit for the university and I’m really excited to see that he’s coming back.”
John Clay (2008-10)
“What I remember most about Coach Settle is that he treated us all like men. He didn’t babysit us but he held us accountable for making the right choices on and off the field. He was almost like a father figure to us that way. When he was recruiting me, I remember him coming to my high school, watching my track meets and he had a great charisma that would just make everyone around him smile. When he was looking at some other jobs, I remember telling him that if he left, I was going to leave too because I didn’t want to be coached by anyone else. That was how much I believed in him as a coach.”
Bradie Ewing (2008-11)
“Coach Settle played a key role in my choice to attend the University of Wisconsin. He has always demonstrated that he is a great man of character and faith, along with what he can do as a football coach with his teaching ability and proven development of his players. Through my years with Coach Settle, he grew into someone I looked up to on and off the field for advice and guidance. He is a great fit for Wisconsin and it will be good to see him back on the Badgers’ sideline again!”
James White (2010-13)
“Coach Settle was definitely a big reason why I chose Wisconsin. When he was in my house, he felt like a part of the family. He was very personable and down to earth. I had seen what he had done with guys like P.J. Hill, John Clay and Montee and knew he was a great coach. He’s very demanding on the field and expects the most out of his players. In my opinion, he’s the best fit for the job.”


Badgers basketball: Jackson may not return until after B1G tourney

Mar 02, 2015 -- 10:55am
Photo/Getty Images
MADISON - It appears Traevon Jackson’s return to the court could still be a few weeks away.
Speaking on the Big Ten coaches’ teleconference Monday morning, University of Wisconsin coach Bo Ryan was asked if he thought his senior point guard might be able to get back on the floor by the time the team played its first game in the conference tournament on March 13.
“That might be tough,” Ryan said. “I can’t rule anything out because the coaches are the last to know anymore. His clearance may be two weeks (away). Who knows.”
That timetable would have Jackson back just as the Badgers head into the NCAA Tournament, playing either on March 19 or 20.
Jackson has missed the last 12 games due to a fractured foot suffered on Jan. 11 in a loss at Rutgers. He told reporters over a week ago that he expected to play in UW’s Senior Day contest against Michigan State but that didn’t happen. Instead, he was in street clothes for his final appearance at the Kohl Center.
“He kept a smile on his face all day yesterday but I know inside he’s just churning with angst,” Ryan said. “He wanted to be out there in the worst way but he understands he’s not ready. He has not been cleared.”
Sophomore Bronson Koenig has started in Jackson’s place and played well. But without him coming off the bench, UW has been getting very little from their reserves in terms of scoring. Over the last seven games, the combination of Duje Dukan, Zak Showalter and Vitto Brown have scored an average of 2.6 points per game.
Following his team’s 68-61 loss to Wisconsin on Sunday, Michigan State coach Tom Izzo said he felt UW was a Final Four team but added depth could be an issue.
“Their depth is a little suspect,” he said. “They need one more sub if they're going to get into certain games against certain teams.”
Wisconsin clinched at least a share of the Big Ten title on Sunday, their first since 2008. They’ll travel to Minnesota on Thursday.

Badgers basketball: Twitter reacts

Mar 01, 2015 -- 9:33pm
Photo/Zach Heilprin/ESPN Wisconsin
MADISON - The University of Wisconsin earned their first Big Ten title since 2008 on Sunday with their 68-61 win over Michigan State.
Here’s a taste of how Twitter responded to win, including the performance of Frank Kaminsky, who scored a season-high 31 points.

Badgers basketball: Jackson not cleared to play

Feb 27, 2015 -- 8:36pm
Photo/via @BadgerMBB
MADISON - The wait continues for Traevon Jackson.
A University of Wisconsin spokesperson said Friday afternoon that the guard had still not been cleared medically to return to the court. He’s missed the last 11 games due to a fractured foot suffered in a loss to Rutgers on Jan. 11.
The senior told reporters last week that he expected to play against Michigan State on Sunday, but that appears to be a long shot at this point. Asked whether he thought Jackson would play against the Spartans, teammate Josh Gasser wasn’t optimistic.
“Probably not but I don’t know,” Gasser said.
Earlier in the week, UW coach Bo Ryan made it clear that the decision on when Jackson returns will not be one that he or the player makes.
“Everything that is done, in spite of what some people might think, is not done just so a guy can play in a basketball game,” Ryan said. “They’re trying to make sure that he’s going to be able to walk properly, run properly, do things later in life. So that’s why the medical staff determines. Not Trae, not us as coaches. The medical staff determines if he’s ready to go.”
Jackson did appear for the last few minutes of the Badgers practice on Friday afternoon – sans the walking boot he’s been in since the surgery -- shooting some free throws with head trainer Henry Perez-Guerra.


Badgers football: Report: Settle hired as RBs coach

Feb 27, 2015 -- 6:13pm
MADISON - The University of Wisconsin has a new running backs coach. is reporting that the Badgers have hired John Settle to replace Thomas Brown, who left earlier this month for the same position at Georgia.
Settle served as the Badgers running backs coach from 2006-2010 before leaving for the NFL. A two-year stint with the Carolina Panthers was followed by one year in Cleveland with the Browns. Settle returned to the college game last year, serving as new UW coach Paul Chryst’s running backs coach at Pittsburgh.
While Settle doesn’t have a great recruiting background, his coaching credentials are hard to argue with. Under his watch, UW produced 1,000-yard rushers in all five of his seasons, including two in 2010. And last year at Pittsburgh, Settle oversaw sophomore James Conner run for 1,765 yards and score 26 touchdowns while being named the ACC’s Offensive Player of the Year.
Wisconsin will open spring practice on March 15.
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