Special K: Krabbenhoft sparks Badgers

first_imgAlando Tucker was selected as the Big Ten’s preseason Player of the Year, but judging by Wisconsin’s 72-48 season-opening victory over Mercer, he may be playing second fiddle to Kammron Taylor at times.Taylor shot the lights out of the Kohl Center from the get-go, scoring 18 points in the first half on 6-of-8 shooting, including a perfect 4-for-4 from beyond the three-point arc to make the Bears alter their zone defense strategy.”Tucker deserves every accolade he gets, but for me personally, I thought Taylor was their best player,” Mercer head coach Mark Slonaker said. “He brought so much energy to the game, he defends and he shot us out of that zone early.”Taylor finished with a game-high 22 points, and Tucker was right behind him with 21.After the game, UW head coach Bo Ryan was impressed with how Taylor set the pace of the game as the team’s point guard.”He wasn’t forcing anything,” Ryan said. “He was aggressive. Intelligent aggression was being used and not wild aggression, so I thought his decision making was good.”But after halftime, Taylor’s scoring barrage slowed down, and he suffered a few mental lapses that resulted in three second-half turnovers.”In the second half, he made a couple of those flip passes we’ve been talking about for years,” Ryan said. ” … [T]hose one-handed flip passes he knows have not been successful.”If he eliminates the flip pass, who knows, he could be a [better] player.”While Taylor was satisfied with his performance and the team’s victory, he also knows he still has some improvements to make in regard to handling the ball.”Coach tells me if I get rid of the flip passes then I’ll cut down on my turnovers,” he said. “It’s still a work in progress. I’m trying to get better, and I just have to focus on making the right pass and not trying to force the issue.”Super-JoeWhile Taylor may have been the most impressive Badger from first glance at the stat sheet, sophomore Joe Krabbenhoft turned some heads with his grit and hustle.Krabbenhoft hauled down 10 rebounds and was all over the place, diving for loose balls.”Anything that was loose, Joe got,” Ryan said.Due to his all-out style of play, Krabbenhoft was banged up with some minor nicks and bruises from practice heading into Sunday’s game.But while Krabbenhoft will certainly endure a great number of minor injuries throughout the year with the way he plays, it’s something Ryan can live with.”It’s not like he runs into the wall full speed like Super-Dave, or Super-Joe,” Ryan said. “He doesn’t do things on purpose to get hurt.”And it’s also something Krabbenhoft’s teammates can live with, as they know he’s giving it his all to help the team win, night in and night out.”If there’s one guy that I’d love to have on my team, who I know is going to fight for me, it’s Joe,” Taylor said. “He just attacks it, he’s so aggressive.””He’s an enforcer, he’s our enforcer,” Tucker added. “He’ll take a punch, he’ll take a punch for me, he’ll take a punch for the 15 other guys down the line, he takes a lot of beating.”RotationWisconsin’s rotation didn’t become any clearer Sunday as all 14 available players saw playing time.The usual five suspects started: Tucker, Taylor, Michael Flowers, Jason Chappell and Brian Butch. Krabbenhoft, Marcus Landry and Jason Bohannon received the bulk of the minutes off the bench, but Greg Stiemsma, Trevon Hughes and Mickey Perry all saw their fair share of time on the court as well.At times in the second half, Ryan went with a small line-up with Tucker as the Badgers’ lone post player. Mercer combated with a small lineup of its own, and Tucker was able to grizzle his way to the rim against the Bears, scoring 16 second-half points, mostly on penetration drives to the basket.As a result of Wisconsin’s deep roster, the players are still adjusting to playing with one another.”It’s a work in progress,” Krabbenhoft said. “We’re still in November here, and come March, April down the line, I think things will start clicking. We’re making the right steps toward a successful season.”last_img

first_imgAlando Tucker was selected as the Big Ten’s preseason Player of the Year, but judging by Wisconsin’s 72-48 season-opening victory over Mercer, he may be playing second fiddle to Kammron Taylor at times.Taylor shot the lights out of the Kohl Center from the get-go, scoring 18 points in the first half on 6-of-8 shooting, including a perfect 4-for-4 from beyond the three-point arc to make the Bears alter their zone defense strategy.”Tucker deserves every accolade he gets, but for me personally, I thought Taylor was their best player,” Mercer head coach Mark Slonaker said. “He brought so much energy to the game, he defends and he shot us out of that zone early.”Taylor finished with a game-high 22 points, and Tucker was right behind him with 21.After the game, UW head coach Bo Ryan was impressed with how Taylor set the pace of the game as the team’s point guard.”He wasn’t forcing anything,” Ryan said. “He was aggressive. Intelligent aggression was being used and not wild aggression, so I thought his decision making was good.”But after halftime, Taylor’s scoring barrage slowed down, and he suffered a few mental lapses that resulted in three second-half turnovers.”In the second half, he made a couple of those flip passes we’ve been talking about for years,” Ryan said. ” … [T]hose one-handed flip passes he knows have not been successful.”If he eliminates the flip pass, who knows, he could be a [better] player.”While Taylor was satisfied with his performance and the team’s victory, he also knows he still has some improvements to make in regard to handling the ball.”Coach tells me if I get rid of the flip passes then I’ll cut down on my turnovers,” he said. “It’s still a work in progress. I’m trying to get better, and I just have to focus on making the right pass and not trying to force the issue.”Super-JoeWhile Taylor may have been the most impressive Badger from first glance at the stat sheet, sophomore Joe Krabbenhoft turned some heads with his grit and hustle.Krabbenhoft hauled down 10 rebounds and was all over the place, diving for loose balls.”Anything that was loose, Joe got,” Ryan said.Due to his all-out style of play, Krabbenhoft was banged up with some minor nicks and bruises from practice heading into Sunday’s game.But while Krabbenhoft will certainly endure a great number of minor injuries throughout the year with the way he plays, it’s something Ryan can live with.”It’s not like he runs into the wall full speed like Super-Dave, or Super-Joe,” Ryan said. “He doesn’t do things on purpose to get hurt.”And it’s also something Krabbenhoft’s teammates can live with, as they know he’s giving it his all to help the team win, night in and night out.”If there’s one guy that I’d love to have on my team, who I know is going to fight for me, it’s Joe,” Taylor said. “He just attacks it, he’s so aggressive.””He’s an enforcer, he’s our enforcer,” Tucker added. “He’ll take a punch, he’ll take a punch for me, he’ll take a punch for the 15 other guys down the line, he takes a lot of beating.”RotationWisconsin’s rotation didn’t become any clearer Sunday as all 14 available players saw playing time.The usual five suspects started: Tucker, Taylor, Michael Flowers, Jason Chappell and Brian Butch. Krabbenhoft, Marcus Landry and Jason Bohannon received the bulk of the minutes off the bench, but Greg Stiemsma, Trevon Hughes and Mickey Perry all saw their fair share of time on the court as well.At times in the second half, Ryan went with a small line-up with Tucker as the Badgers’ lone post player. Mercer combated with a small lineup of its own, and Tucker was able to grizzle his way to the rim against the Bears, scoring 16 second-half points, mostly on penetration drives to the basket.As a result of Wisconsin’s deep roster, the players are still adjusting to playing with one another.”It’s a work in progress,” Krabbenhoft said. “We’re still in November here, and come March, April down the line, I think things will start clicking. We’re making the right steps toward a successful season.”last_img

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