WISCONSIN COACH BO RYAN TALKS FINAL 4
April 2, 2014INDIANA SPORTS PAGE
DAVE WORLOCK: We have Coach Ryan from Wisconsin. Thank you for your time.
We will jump into questions for Coach Ryan.
Q. I know it's very early in your preparation, but have you had a chance to look at the Harrison twins from Kentucky? Talk about the challenges they'll provide for you guys.
COACH RYAN: Well, needless to say, they're pretty talented or Kentucky wouldn't be playing in the semifinals. They're not young anymore. They're pretty well?established. Very talented. Physically they were more mature than most freshmen to begin with. They're primed right now.
I still have a lot more film to look at, along with my assistant coach that has them. But we know we're going to have our hands full with the twins, that's for sure.
Q. Kaminsky, how does a guy who was averaging four points a game not so long ago develop into the powerhouse that he has become?
COACH RYAN: If I said coaching, would it get me any points (laughter)?
He's just a tough young man who really wants to be a player, who has physically and mentally matured into what he feels he's comfortable with as far as his body and mind are concerned.
He's learned how to be stronger. He's learned some nuances defensively of positioning and balance, all those things that you like to feel really every student?athlete does. They improve when they're in school.
He's improved in every phase of his game.
Q. Question about Josh and Ben. What do you think those two guys do for each other in terms of keeping each other sharp and set a tone for your team in general?
COACH RYAN: That's a good question. That's very hard to answer simply because it's not verbal, it's just in their everyday schoolwork, class work, basketball, travel, social. The two of them connected right away when they came in. It was Ben who Josh tore his ACL on, on the drive to the basket. I know Ben really struggled with that. Then we had to say, Ben, look, it happens. This is the way the game can play out sometimes.
But he'll be back. He'll do his rehab.
The whole year last year while Josh was out, the example he set with one full year of rehab that was excruciating because of the severity of the injury, I know that Ben helped him through that.
When Ben maybe might be going through little struggles with his shooting, Josh is always there for him. But the two of them do everything together. They compete at everything together. They have become very close.
I had a roommate in college, friends in college, and there's just some people that you connect with a little bit better. But those two are inseparable.
Q. You talked about the Harrison twins, but some of your other overall impressions of Kentucky when you look at them, especially what they've done over the last couple weeks.
COACH RYAN: Obviously, we haven't been to the Final Four very often. I never do scouting reports on other teams. There's still a lot I have to look at. For me to say Kentucky is good, I'd be slighting them. They are very good. They're playing in the semifinals for a reason. Well?coached. John has done a great job of getting those guys, as young as they are, to play together, do the things they're doing. They're playing their best at the right time obviously or you don't get to this point.
Q. Earlier on the teleconference, Coach Donovan said he saw your game with Kentucky as a contrast in styles. I wonder if in a general sense you would agree with that and how Kentucky's style you might have seen earlier from other teams.
COACH RYAN: I think Billy was having some fun with you. Kentucky's trying to put the ball in the hole. We're trying to put the ball in the hole. We're trying to keep them from doing it. They're trying to keep us from doing it. I didn't know there were that many styles.
I don't see it totally as that. If other people do, they could explain to you why.
But we are who we are right now. We're not changing. They're who they are right now. Whatever people want to say about styles and all that, I leave that up to them. I've never gotten caught up in that kind of a conversation.
Q. In this day and age you see late?game timeouts, coaches scribbling on a coaching board. You don't use one. Talk about why you don't and how you're able to so effectively talk your team through the last few seconds, particularly in the Arizona game?
COACH RYAN: I had a birthday during the review of the video, and several other people in the building did, too (laughter).
I don't use one because, number one, if you have all your specials, you've worked on them, you say, Okay, this is what we do. In practice we'll go five seconds, down two. Two seconds down one. Ball is there taken out of bounds. X?number of fouls. We do those situations, and we have it down to about three or four full?court options. Same thing with side?outs, not 10.
When we get to those situations, we'll say, Okay, let's run three, let's run red, whatever it is that we're using as our two words at the time.
The other thing is, have you ever watched a huddle, where the players' eyes are while the coach is making 15 lines. You look at that thing and you swear it was your four?year?old granddaughter who just made a drawing for you.
Coaches get a little excited with that marker. I like to keep it simple, keep it down to certain options. So that's why I don't use the board.
But I use the board in practice when we're maybe looking at a wrinkle, we're putting something in where we see tendencies of the other team where we feel we can run one look a little bit more than the other. While we're relaxed in practice, Okay, here is what we're going to do, here is what this is called, here is the emphasis.
That pretty much sums it up.
I want my players relaxed at that time. Their eyes are on us. There's not any other distractions. There's no board for me to throw in case I was ever tempted. So there it is. That's why I don't use one.
Q. In what areas have you seen the greatest amount from Traevon Jackson?
COACH RYAN: A very strong?willed young man. He feels he's got it, okay? That means a player in baseball, wants that last ball hit to him so he can throw the guy out, that guy that wants the last shot. There are some people who talk about it, and there's some people that can do it and get it done.
His confidence level and his ability to believe that he's got everything under control, even though none of us ever do totally have that. But he at least believes that, and therefore his confidence level has been able to get some things done for us in tight situations. That's where he's grown the most.
Q. Just as a guy who spent his whole head coaching career in Wisconsin, what do you think getting to the Final Four means obviously to the alums there, and talk about what basketball means to the state of Wisconsin in general.
COACH RYAN: I tell you, the people here in this state are crazy about basketball. They realize that they didn't invent it like some other states believe. But they also know they have a passion for it because there's been a lot of success by state schools. By schools in the state of Wisconsin. Division I, Division III, NAIA, Division II with Parkside, which the head coach was one of my former players, I don't want to leave him out.
They love it here, but they're not so over the edge that they don't understand. What I like about the Wisconsin fans is they understand these are student?athletes who actually are here for the purpose of an education first and playing ball second. That's what I believe makes them really endearing as far as a coach that stayed in the state this long because they're so supportive of their players, of their teams.
That's been really neat for me to say. I'm not saying that wasn't the case in Philly growing up, in the Chester area. But here in the state of Wisconsin, the love and passion for the game of basketball is definitely as high as anywhere else.
Q. Many years ago I was able to see your Platteville team win a Division III championship.
COACH RYAN: Really?
Q. Long time ago.
COACH RYAN: Well, not that long (laughter).
Q. Is your approach with the Final Four different than approaching a Division III Final Four? When I see your Wisconsin team now, it reminds me a lot of Platteville. I'm wondering about the style of play, if you've changed it that much since that time?
COACH RYAN: Not really. It's just 'style of play' sometimes means what you have to work with at that particular period. The group of players that you have each year, it's different. Certainly things they do better than other teams, certain areas you like to keep them away from because they're not as good in certain areas.
I've heard that from more people, that this team does, my former players and people that have seen us play, reminds them of those teams more than any team we've had here.
I'll let people have their opinion. That's fine with me.
Which championship did you see? In Salem or Buffalo or Wittenberg?
Q. It was Salem.
COACH RYAN: The thing about valuing the basketball, playing good position defense, trying not to give up easy baskets, doing all the things that we're trying to do, things you talk about at camps, at clinics, that you hear everywhere. I just think that our guys have shown that they've been pretty consistent with the basics. I think that always gives you a chance.
Then when you have some players get hot, you have some players that develop beyond what maybe others might have thought of, I never sell players short. I always think they can get better and be really good by the time they get done. That's why we teach and coach the way we do. Some years it works better than others.
But I think this group, sharing the ball, the extra pass, the shooting percentage, the points per possession offensively, I think it's pretty well?documented this has been our best team while I've been here.
Q. Could you talk about how the post game this weekend will be big for you, how would an opponent defend your post game?
COACH RYAN: We know we have a couple guys that can score around the basket, but we also know there's defenders out there that can do a pretty good job of stopping them.
It will be that give?and?take for the 40 minutes of what can you get out of the post, what are you going to give up at the other end in the post. Kentucky obviously has plenty of post presence.
The question will always be, How many touches, how many offensive opportunities on second?chance points will each team get? It will definitely be a battle 10 feet and in, that's for sure.
DAVE WORLOCK: Coach Ryan, thank you for your time today. Congratulations on advancing to the Final Four. We'll see you in North Texas in a couple days.
COACH RYAN: Thank you.