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Sunday, June 21, 2009

Catching Up With Mike Bruesewitz

Life has changed a lot for Mike Bruesewitz since moving into his summer dorm room on the University of Wisconsin campus last Sunday.

"This week has been pretty crazy getting adjusted to college life," said the 6'7", 215-lb. member of Bo Ryan’s newest freshman class.

After completing the requisite paperwork and physical exams, Bruesewitz began working out with his new Badger teammates right away. Add summer classes into the mix and you can see he has a lot on his plate right now. Luckily the transition to his new surroundings will be easier because of the familiar faces around him.

"I knew Diamond (Taylor) pretty well before because we met on our official visit and then saw him a few times throughout the year," Bruesewitz said. "I also know the Minnesota guys really well, especially Jordan (Taylor) and Jon (Leuer), because I've played or worked out with both of them quite a bit."

Before arriving in Madison, Bruesewitz spent "almost every day" working with former NBA player Chris Carr. And you know, graduating from high school.

"I played one 19u tournament with some of my friends," Bruesewitz said. "My spring and extremely short summer at home consisted of playing open gym at my high school and at Chris Carr's 43 Hoops facility."

The workouts helped the young forward add a few pounds of muscle to his frame, a necessity when playing forward in the Big Ten. Bruesewitz says his best strengths are his rebounding and an ability to make others around him better. But he also knows exactly what areas he wants to become better in this summer.

“The biggest thing I think I need to work on is being a more consistent shooter,” Bruesewitz said, “as well as just becoming physically stronger and working on lowering my center of gravity both on offense and defense.”

Bruesewitz is probably as prepared as any freshman to transition to the scale of the college game. Hailing from the resurgent Henry Sibley basketball program in Mendota Heights, MN, he had the luxury of practicing against and playing alongside a 7-footer and two other 6’8” players on the Warriors’ frontline. Bruesewitz averaged 17.3 points, 9.8 rebounds, 2.6 assists, 1.4 blocks and 1.3 steals as a senior and was named Minnesota's AP Player of the Year. He credits coach Tom Dasovich and his teammates for allowing him to become well-rounded:

“Both my coach and team did a lot to prepare me for the college level. Because we had such a big team I was able to work on both my inside and outside game. My coach was great at realizing when I had a mismatch on the perimeter and also when I could just go down on the block and score over a smaller defender. Also we played a very good schedule, always playing very tough non-conference teams, which allowed me to play against the best players in the state.”

So the Wisconsin staff is getting a forward skilled enough to initiate the offense with his ball handling but whose favorite player is Shaquille O’Neal? That diversity is obviously one of the things that attracted the Badger coaching staff. Yet Bruesewitz is not content with the versatility he has already developed – he wants more.

“I will be playing the 3 and 4 mostly but hopefully (I will) become a good enough shooter and also quick enough to slide down to a 2,” Bruesewitz speculated.

Watching every step of the way will be his parents, who – if you were curious – do indeed have the Big Ten Network.

“My brother told me he was going to figure out how to get it on the east coast,” Bruesewitz added. “Since I'm the youngest in my family they won't have too much to do in the winter so I expect them to be at quite a few games."

Though Tubby Smith certainly created a buzz when he arrived in the Twin Cities, Bruesewitz never had second thoughts about playing for Bo Ryan. Bruesewitz echoed sentiments that many recruits have mentioned as Wisconsin has built a national roster.

“I never had any doubt about my choice. This is where I wanted to be,” Bruesewitz explained. “It was by far the campus and the people (that appealed to me). People in Wisconsin love their Badgers and really come out and support all the teams.”

Bruesewitz is the fourth Minnesota native to occupy a scholarship for Bo's current squad, which is actually more than the number of Wisconsin-born scholarship players. The team now boasts players from eight different states after Jeremy Glover joined the 2009 class as a walk-on.

As you might guess of someone who grew up in Minnesota, Bruesewitz is also a former hockey player. That experience no doubt attributed to the toughness he possesses on the basketball court. So who will Bruiser be rooting for when his hometown Gophers pay a visit to the Kohl Center ice later this year?

"I'll probably be rooting for the Badgers because I have class with quite a few of the freshman hockey players right now and I can't be cheering against my team."

Good answer Mike.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

On The Stove Top: 6/9

Evan Anderson has been invited to the NBA Players Association Top 100 Camp that will take place next week (June 17-21) in Charlottesville, VA.

Anderson is among 11 centers (as designated by from the Class of 2010 to attend and one of five such big men that have verbally committed to a college program. Other schools to already have a premier big man lined up include Ohio State, Baylor, Villanova and Illinois.

This is the same camp that Evan Turner attended a few years ago that he says helped tip him in favor of the Buckeyes over the Badgers, since he played alongside three other incoming OSU recruits during the event. Of course now Turner is one of a select few players who will try out to make Bo Ryan's Team USA squad this summer. The junior-to-be was extremely complimentary of Bo in that same interview.

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Speaking of the Buckeyes, Thad Matta nabbed yet another top 100 recruit for his outstanding 2010 class in point guard Aaron Craft, who will assume Cam Wright's vacated scholarship. While this would appear on the surface to squeeze out a fellow like J.D. Weatherspoon, the Buckeye faithful fully expect to have their lost APR scholarships reinstated in time to add another player in the class with the prospect of Turner going pro after next year nearly a foregone conclusion.

But with Craft landing in Columbus, perhaps some other point guards in the Midwest could be looking elsewhere, opening the door for Wisconsin to fill it's remaining 2010 opening. Chicago's Lavonte Dority, for example, was a possible Ohio State target and has been mentioned with in the same breath with Wisconsin, though it's unclear how interested the staff is at this time.

Do you like the NCAA tournament's new 8-team "first-round" format?

What should Wisconsin do with the newly vacated scholarship?

Poll: Who will win the Big Ten?

Poll: Who was Wisconsin's first-half MVP (thru 16 games)?

Poll: How Many Regular Season games will wisconsin win in 2009-10?