|Wisconsin's Ryan optimistic with young Badgers|
|Written by Admin|
|Tuesday, 21 October 2008 15:01|
He commanded the room at Wisconsin's media day, the coach of one of just five Division I schools to win at least 30 games each of the past two years, joining Kansas, Memphis, North Carolina and UCLA. Ryan has led Wisconsin to the NCAA tournament in each of his previous seven seasons, too.
No, he doesn't need anyone to list the accolades, since they have no bearing on the upcoming season. He insisted Tuesday that getting better is the only goal for his young team with 11 freshmen and sophomores before the season begins next month.
classmen that it happens to everybody, it's what you do tomorrow that's going to count, so get ready for tomorrow,'' the coach said.
The 60-year-old Ryan actually has a bigger event on his agenda to get ready for Wednesday.
He's being honored along with eight others as being influential at Platteville in the western part of Wisconsin, where he won four Division III national titles.
``They're nine individuals that this committee felt were very influential in the history of Platteville and I happened to be the ninth one,'' Ryan said.
Others honored at the unveiling of individually painted likenesses of the nine historic figures include the city's founder, John Rountree, philanthropist and newspaper editor Martin Rindlaub and even Walter Payton, who spent training camp in the city with the Chicago Bears, who practiced there until the team moved camp to Bourbonnais, Ill., seven years ago.
``When I got the call about attending the dedication, I was also reminded I was the only living one,'' Ryan said.
His coaches have had some fun with it, too. Associate head coach Greg Gard joked the Ryan likeness probably will be hanging elsewhere soon.
``Some college student is going to have it in his room, but I think they have them high enough that vandalism might not be a possibility,'' Ryan said. ``We'll see.''
hunt for the Big Ten title.
After Wisconsin lost Alando Tucker and Kammron Taylor following a 30-6 season in 2006-07, it appeared the Badgers were headed for a swoon. Instead, they went 31-5, winning the Big Ten title and reaching the NCAA round of 16 before being bounced by Davidson, last season's Cinderella.
The Badgers return starters Marcus Landry, Trevon Hughes and Joe Krabbenhoft along with Jason Bohannon, but gone are Brian Butch (who signed with the Chinese Basketball Association), Michael Flowers and Butch's backup, Greg Stiemsma. The roster has just four seniors and two juniors to go with the underclassmen.
``When we start traveling, when we start doing things that are a little different than right now, that's where you always want the seniors, the upperclassmen to pass on to the underclassmen, this is the way we do it,'' Ryan said. ``When you say leadership, we've got leadership. The players have shown that and now I'm not as concerned with it.''