Virginia’s Isaiah Wilkins, stepson of NBA legend Dominique Wilkins, forges his own path

first_img Published on January 23, 2016 at 9:34 pm Contact Paul: pmschwed@syr.edu | @pschweds Again and again Isaiah Wilkins launched himself toward the basket on the driveway outside his grandfather’s house. At first he couldn’t jump high enough. Then he could only graze the rim. He tried hoisting the ball up with two hands to compensate. All he wanted to do was dunk, but years passed and he never could.His continued frustration once boiled over, kicking the ball and smashing the garage window.“It was things like that that I knew he was adamant about, dunking the basketball,” Isaiah’s grandfather, James Taylor said.The skill that helped make Isaiah’s stepfather, Dominique Wilkins, famous was one he initially struggled to master until he was 15. It’s just one example of how his career differs from the NBA Hall of Famer’s. Being known solely as the stepson of Dominique Wilkins is an identity Isaiah wants to shed. The forward for No. 13 Virginia (14-4, 3-3 Atlantic Coast) credits his grandfather, not his stepfather, as being the most influential person in his basketball career. And he’ll continue shaping his own name when UVA hosts Syracuse on Sunday at 7 p.m.Isaiah Wilkins’ relationship with the nine-time NBA All-Star is fickle. Taylor described Dominique more as a provider than a father-figure. He’d take Isaiah to Atlanta Hawks games, All-Star games and even got his stepson to be a ball boy at the 2010 Olympics in Beijing. But he isn’t always there for Isaiah the way Taylor is.AdvertisementThis is placeholder text“I feel like I’m doing my own things, trying to pave my own way,” Isaiah said. “I feel like it’s important that my granddad gets the credit because he’s really helped me pretty much since I was born.”After every Virginia game, Taylor texts Isaiah and shares his thoughts on the game. Taylor knows his grandson wants to make it to the NBA and, though he tries to be positive, lets Isaiah know how he assesses his progress.When Isaiah’s biological father pulled him out of a private high school to avoid paying tuition, Taylor offered to pay it and got him back in. He wants to make sure his grandson has the most opportunities to succeed.“One of the things I think he appreciates, just somebody being on his back, having him go through that process and just being that for him,” Taylor said. “He can call me at anytime, it doesn’t matter, day or night.”Dominique started dating Isaiah’s mom when he was about 7 years old. At first, he didn’t know his eventual stepdad was such a popular celebrity. Being around him at Hawks games, though, he quickly learned of his significance.Isaiah met Kobe Bryant, Shaquille O’Neal and other basketball legends because of his stepdad. He’d come back and tell Taylor about his memorable experiences.“I think that also helped Isaiah develop his passion for basketball,” Taylor said.Regardless, Isaiah said he doesn’t talk much about his own game with Dominique. They’re in touch occasionally and it’s usually just to check in.With each passing day, he’s doing more and more to shake the legacy he can’t control and write the one he can. While at an AAU tournament that Wilkins was playing in, Virginia head coach Tony Bennett was scouting Washington’s Noah Dickerson. But Wilkins stood out with his play on the court, not by the name on the roster.“I had noticed this young man’s a good player that was playing with a lot of energy and passion,” Bennett said, “… and I think someone pointed out, ‘that’s Dominique Wilkins’stepson.’ That’s about the extent of it.”Wilkins sees himself as his own person, and he appreciates when others, like Bennett, see the same. Over the years, Wilkins’ dunking ability has come around.He still can’t dunk like Dominique Wilkins — at least not yet — but he also doesn’t have to. Isaiah may hold Wilkins’ name and expectations from some that come with it, but he’s just trying to be Isaiah.“I really, really value Coach Bennett as a coach and as a person, because he never really paid attention to the last name,” Wilkins said. “That was the least important thing for him. I just thought that was really cool because for me, it’s just a name.” Comments Facebook Twitter Google+last_img read more

Jim Boeheim on playing man-to-man: ‘We wanted to get some practice’

first_imgSyracuse took a break from its patented 2-3 zone in an exhibition and went with man-to-man defense on Tuesday night. Jim Boeheim hinted throughout the preseason that the Orange’s depth and versatility would allow it to try new styles. After building the program for years synonymous with its defensive style, Boeheim finally deviated against Indiana University of Pennsylvania.The Orange beat the Crimson Hawks, 83-65, but the defensive shakeup was the most notable thing to occur in a meaningless game.The Orange’s starting five — Frank Howard, Andrew White, Tyler Lydon, Tyler Roberson and Dajuan Coleman — came out in man, but it didn’t work for SU. Four and a half minutes into the game, Syracuse trailed 15-3 and Boeheim subbed all five players on the court.“We started the game in a man (defense) because we wanted to get some practice,” Boeheim said. “It was a bad team to try and man-to-man because they got Dajuan outside, they made three 3s against our centers so it’s just not a good situation for us. That doesn’t mean we can’t play it, but we can’t play it against a team that brings our center out there. We’re not good in that situation.”Within the first five minutes of the game, IUP went 3-for-6 on 3s, with all three makes coming within a one-minute span. Guard Anthony Glover made two while 6-foot-7 forward Blake Danielak also knocked one down.AdvertisementThis is placeholder textThe last time Syracuse played man-to-man was in 2009 against Le Moyne. Though it was an exhibition, the Orange was stunned in that game, 82-79. The Dolphins went 7-for-20 from beyond the arc and a trio of 3s helped give Le Moyne the lead by one with eight minutes to play.Boeheim has studied the zone defense for 54 years and made the switch to use the defense full-time in 1996. His reasoning was that if SU plays the zone constantly, opposing offenses have to go out of their way to prepare for Syracuse rather than the other way around, like if the Orange played man-to-man.Though the Orange’s roster includes players with wide wingspans — notably 6-foot-6 guard Tyus Battle and Paschal Chukwu at 7 feet 2 inches — seemingly conducive to covering space in the zone, Boeheim said before the season that having more depth will allow his team to do “more things.” On Tuesday, Syracuse revealed part of what he was talking about.Boeheim added that IUP is different than “95 percent of the teams we play this year.” The 41-year head coach said Tuesday’s game yielded results that were as beneficial as nearly every other exhibition game SU has played under him. Though it wasn’t successful, practicing man-to-man gave the Orange at least a small bit of experience with it against an opposing team.“The reason we haven’t in the last 2-3 years is we really haven’t had a chance to be able to do that,” Boeheim said. “… We could theoretically use it in some situations.” Comments Facebook Twitter Google+ Published on November 1, 2016 at 11:03 pm Contact Paul: pmschwed@syr.edu | @pschwedslast_img read more

Notre Dame upset victory pushes Syracuse up to No. 2 in Top 20

first_imgAnother one-goal victory, this time over top-ranked Notre Dame, has pushed Syracuse up two spots to No. 2 in this week’s Inside Lacrosse Top 20.Syracuse (7-1, 3-0 Atlantic Coast) staved off a Notre Dame comeback that included a late three-goal spurt to tie the game at nine entering the fourth quarter. But back-to-back goals from senior attack Nick Mariano pulled the Orange away. Mariano finished with a season-high four goals in the 11-10 upset win over UND, extending SU’s win streak to five games. Marcus Cunningham made a big stop in the game’s final seconds to seal the victory.The Orange played its seventh straight one-goal game, extending the program record. Sophomore attack Nate Solomon added a hat trick and senior midfielder Sergio Salcido had four assists in the win.Defensively, the Orange held Notre Dame 0-for-2 on its man-up opportunities and caused 10 turnovers. Scott Firman locked up star attack Ryder Garnsey to just one goal while the rest of the defense limited UND’s next best two offensive options, Sergio Perkovic and Mikey Wynne, to one and zero goals, respectively.Ben Williams still struggled at the X, ending the game 10-of-23 on faceoffs, under the .500 mark yet again. He did win four straight faceoffs in the second quarter.AdvertisementThis is placeholder textThe Orange travels to Geneva, New York, to take on Hobart on Wednesday at 7 p.m. The Statesmen (4-5, 1-1 Northeast) enter the matchup off a loss to Sacred Heart on March 25. Comments Facebook Twitter Google+ Published on April 3, 2017 at 10:18 am Contact Charlie: csdistur@syr.edu | @charliedisturcolast_img read more

Paige Stoner prepares to kick for the homestretch of her Syracuse career

first_img Published on October 17, 2017 at 10:55 pm Contact Billy: wmheyen@syr.edu | @Wheyen3 When Paige Stoner was about 8 years old, she made the Pottsville Minor League little league boys’ baseball all-star team. At the team’s practices, players had a running competition where one took off for first base and then another player, after waiting a couple seconds, tried to make up the difference.“Nobody ever liked to be the guy in front of Paige,” Daniel Stoner, Paige’s father, said. “They didn’t like getting beat by a girl.”Stoner, now a senior at Syracuse, outruns most competitors. In the first three races she’s run this season, Stoner has placed as the top finisher for the Orange. At the Harry Groves Spiked Shoe Invitational, she finished second overall. At the Battle in Beantown, she finished third. And at the Nuttycombe Wisconsin Invitational, she finished 24th, running her fastest 6K at Syracuse in 20:16.2. Every bit matters to Stoner, because last season she didn’t qualify for the NCAA Championships. At the Northeast Regional, she finished fifth for a non-NCAA qualifying team. She missed out by one place.Yet this is Stoner’s plan, the one that led her to transfer to SU to chase “big goals.” This season, she and SU head coach Chris Fox decided that meant becoming an All-American, attained by finishing top-40 at the NCAA Championship in Louisville, Kentucky, on Nov. 18.“She’s gone from a person that we thought could make it to nationals,” Fox said, “to a person we thought could do really well at nationals.”AdvertisementThis is placeholder textAndy Mendes | Digital Design EditorStoner didn’t start out as a runner. She played youth soccer, baseball and softball in Pottsville, Pennsylvania, but soon Stoner realized she enjoyed the running part of those sports as much, if not more, than the sport itself. She ran and ran and she seemed to never feel tired. Stoner ran all over the state as a high schooler and then onto the team at Lipscomb University, a private Christian school of about 4,000 undergrads in Nashville. The one constant through Stoner’s journey was her routine and attention to detail: A prerace breakfast of a whole-wheat English muffin topped with peanut butter.“As a kid, she hated having wrinkles in her socks,” Denise Stoner, Paige’s mother, said. “(Paige would say) ‘Oh my god, I can’t move, there’s wrinkles in my socks.’”In seventh grade, Stoner began running cross country and, two years later, she gave up soccer to pursue running full time. As a high school freshman, she finished second in the AAA girl’s cross country race at the Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic Association state championships. There, she saw a future in the sport she’d just started.“It was more of a love for her,” Denise said. “(She) realized that it was basically in her nature to run … We’re not sure where that comes from. I’m a walker, I do walk but I’m not a runner.”The recruiting letters from colleges first arrived in Stoner’s sophomore year of high school, her father said. Syracuse expressed interest but Stoner wanted to study nursing, a program SU doesn’t have. She instead ended up at Lipscomb. Stoner, who was raised Catholic, liked the university’s religion and small-school environment. Most runners on the cross country team were Christian.But the method of training at Lipscomb worried Stoner. She called it “a little bit drastic, really intense.” Some of her teammates, she remembered, lost their “love for the sport” because of the training routines. Stoner considered transferring by the end of her freshman year. The next step came the ensuing fall after she stepped off a plane in November 2015.It was Thanksgiving break and Stoner flew from Nashville, Tennessee to Philadelphia, where her father picked her up at the airport. The conversation the father and daughter had shocked Daniel.“She told me she wasn’t happy,” Daniel Stoner said. “And then at the same time, she decided she didn’t really want nursing and was interested in education. So I guess that’s when she started thinking about Syracuse again.”After that discussion, there were more flights to go on. After Stoner returned to Lipscomb to finish the semester, she made three separate trips: To William & Mary in Williamsburg, Virginia, to Syracuse and to Boise State in Boise, Idaho.Stoner knew Syracuse’s Malone sisters, Shannon and Mary, from competing against them in high school. Stoner got in touch with them to check whether Syracuse coaches still had interest in her. They did. Stoner’s professional aspirations, her mother added, paired well with Fox’s “stellar reputation” and professional connections. Those factors outweighed even Stoner’s initial desire to go south for college to avoid running in the cold.“I just knew I had big goals,” Stoner said. “Ultimately that’s why I chose Syracuse, because I know they’re a great program and I knew that I could run well here.”Andy Mendes | Digital Design EditorFox felt comfortable taking in Stoner as a transfer because, generally for runners, the ability easily translates. The Atlantic Sun Conference and Atlantic Coast Conference don’t time miles any differently.Stoner was coming off an injury suffered at Lipscomb when she arrived at Syracuse, so she redshirted track her first semester, the spring of 2016. Then, Fox said, she had trouble running up to the level of her practices in the fall. But, since the ACC Championships during indoor track in Stoner’s junior year, Fox said she’s “really gone to another level.”Since getting to SU, Stoner has felt buoyed by the program’s higher expectations, pushing her harder to improve further. She pointed out the men’s team’s success as something that draws out the best in all the runners. The women’s team also gains leadership from its fastest runner, who displays a trait she honed in high school. At Pottsville Area (Pennsylvania) High School, her father said, some of Stoner’s teammates liked to hide in the woods instead of running the workouts. Eventually, her father remembered, Stoner convinced them to get back on the road without a word. She just ran. She still leads that way, Fox said.“Emotionally, she’s a bulldog. Relentless,” Fox said. “She just goes out and runs every workout hard. She doesn’t take any prisoners. She just does her thing and if you want to follow her that’s great, and if you don’t, she’ll trample you.”It has always been that way. When Stoner was 5 years old, her father remembered, she scored five goals in a soccer game simply because “nobody could catch her.”She hopes the same will be true in a month at the NCAA Championships, because now, Stoner is closing in on the race she wanted to be in all along. She flew across the country two years ago, searching for the school that could get her to that race. Once she’s there, the senior’s “big goals” will be waiting at the starting line, and she’ll just have to catch them, too. Comments Facebook Twitter Google+last_img read more

Abbrederis becoming main cog in UW offense

first_imgOn a team stacked with offensive talent, redshirt sophomore Jared Abbrederis has carried the ball 43 times this year, behind only tailbacks Montee Ball and James White.[/media-credit]Walk-ons always make for an encouraging story in college sports, mainly because of their humble beginnings and goals.Wisconsin wide receiver Jared Abbrederis certainly fits that storyline, but what sets him apart is the kind of impact he is making in just his third year in the program.The redshirt sophomore, who enjoyed an all-state career at quarterback in high school at Wautoma, has risen above the Badgers’ arsenal of offensive weapons to become one of its most sought-after ball carriers.Unsurprisingly, running backs Montee Ball and James White have carried the ball far more often than the rest of the team so far this year. But Abbrederis – who leads the team in receptions (30), takes end-arounds and acts as a return specialist – has carried the ball 43 times this year, third most on the team.And with that high a number of touches, Abbrederis is second on the team with 865 all-purpose yards, just 93 yards shy of first-place Ball.That is pretty good for guy who is still waiting for his scholarship – which will come in January.“Coming in (as a freshman), I just wanted to work as hard as I could to get the opportunities,” Abbrederis said. “I think with a lot of things, if you just work hard and you just keep improving, you’re going to get that opportunity and that chance.“I didn’t really know what the future held; I was just going to work and see what God had in store for me.”As a redshirt freshman last year, Abbrederis worked his way into a wide receiver rotation that was stacked with experience, finishing fifth on the team with 20 receptions and totaling 289 yards and three touchdowns.Once three of those wideouts graduated, experience in the unit suddenly became scarce beyond fifth-year senior Nick Toon. But Abbrederis stepped up in such a way that the Badger offense has been able to thrive without having to look beyond its top two targets at wide receiver.In leading the team in receptions, Abbrederis is second with 482 yards and has scored two touchdowns along the way.Based on what he saw during spring camp, Toon is not surprised with how Abbrederis has taken a featured role in the Wisconsin offense and special teams.“I knew that Jared had the capability to come in and fill the hole that was left when Kyle (Jefferson), David (Gilreath) and Isaac (Anderson) left,” Toon said. “Obviously he’s done a great job, and he’s been a big part of our success as an offense and in the passing game.”Understandably, the potential was not necessarily apparent from the beginningof Abbrederis’ career. Toon and offensive coordinator Paul Chryst both said they weren’t able to foresee what awaited him when he first arrived at UW. There were still things for the athletically gifted 6-foot-2, 180-pound wideout to work on.But wide receiver coach DelVaughn Alexander and Chryst don’t remember the former quarterback as a raw individual who needed an overhaul of work to make the transition.“I know raw, so I don’t remember him being that raw or that kind of raw,” Alexander said. “As the days went by, he learned pretty quickly. Sometimes you see raw and it takes months, years. But for Jared, his transition was pretty quick.”His natural athleticism has opened up other opportunities, as well. As a return specialist, Abbrederis currently leads the nation in yards per punt return with 22.3 and also zigzagged his way to a 60-yard return for a touchdown against Indiana.Chryst has also entrusted Abbrederis with taking the occasional end-around, a play that, by nature, is not always effective and is easy for a defense to sniff out once an offense runs it once. Nevertheless, Abbrederis has taken handoffs eight times this year and has averaged 9.1 yards on such plays.Sometimes, the demand can be a little taxing for the redshirt sophomore, but ultimately, it is no different than practice.“Once in a while, I can get a bit tired, but coach Alexander does a good job of getting me out if I need a water break or something,” Abbrederis said. “In practice, we do the same thing; we get a lot of reps, we do the special teams too, so practice prepares you for the game.”Against Michigan State alone, Abbrederis’ number was called 14 times – six receiving, four rushing and two each on punt and kick returns. He covered a total of 204 yards, and for the 10 times he received the ball on offense, he earned seven first downs.Overall, it was another productive night for Abbrederis. But if there is one play on offense he would still like to have back, it would be the deep pass he let slip through his hands in the fourth quarter.With less than eight minutes remaining and down 31-17, Wisconsin had the ball on its own 23-yard line. Quarterback Russell Wilson dropped back and heaved one downfield to Abbrederis, who had his man beat. But Abbrederis lost the ball as it floated past the lights and dropped a pass that would have put the Badgers at least within Michigan State’s 30-yard line.“Obviously it hurt, but you just move on from it,” Abbrederis said of the play. “Attacking it, attacking practice, going after every rep and trying to make the best of things.”The rest of the Wisconsin offense moved on from it, as well. Abbrederis caught one more first-down pass and took another end-around before game’s end.last_img read more

Getting to know Maryland and Rutgers

first_imgMarylandPrevious Conference: Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC)Location: College Park, MarylandEnrollment (Undergraduate): 26,658Colors: Red, White, Black and GoldNickname: Terrapins, TerpsMen’s Sports (8): Baseball, Basketball, Football, Golf, Lacrosse, Soccer, Track & Field, WrestlingWomen’s Sports (11): Basketball, Cross Country, Field Hockey, Golf, Gymnastics, Lacrosse, Soccer, Softball, Tennis, Track & Field, VolleyballNotable Facilities: Capital One Field at Byrd Stadium (Football, Men’s Lacrosse; 51,802), Comcast Center (Men’s & Women’s Basketball, Volleyball, Wrestling, Gymnastics; 17,950)The Maryland Terrapins join the Big Ten with a more than 100-year history of collegiate level sports. Before joining the Big Ten, Maryland was one of the founding members of the Atlantic Coast Conference. Football was the first sports program at Maryland, beginning in 1892 and followed by baseball a year later. The Terrapins have won 47 national championships in their history.The Maryland football program lays claim to two national championships which they earned in 1951 and 1953. It’s also where Paul “Bear” Bryant got his first head coaching job — he would become a legendary coach later with the University of Alabama. This past season, Maryland finished its football season with a 7-6 overall record and a 3-5 record in the Atlantic Coast Conference. They were ranked in the Top 25 just one week, and lost 20-31 in the Military Bowl to Marshall. Maryland has appeared in eight bowl games since 2000.Maryland also boasts a strong men’s basketball program that won its lone national championship in 2002, following a Final Four appearance a year earlier. The Terrapins’ last trip to the NCAA Tournament came in 2010, making it eight appearances to the tournament since 2000. Last season, Maryland finished 17-15 overall with a 9-9 record in the ACC.Women’s lacrosse has been dominant in the since 2000 at Maryland, winning national championships in 2001, 2010, and 2014. Maryland’s men’s soccer team, meanwhile, won titles in 2005 and 2008. RutgersPrevious Conference: American Athletic Conference (AAC)Location: New Brunswick-Piscataway, New JerseyEnrollment (Undergraduate): 43,967Colors: Scarlet, WhiteNickname: Scarlet KnightsMen’s Sports (9): Baseball, Basketball, Cross Country, Football, Golf, Lacrosse, Soccer, Track & Field, WrestlingWomen’s Sports (13): Basketball, Cross Country, Field Hockey, Golf, Gymnastics, Lacrosse, Rowing, Soccer, Softball, Swimming & Diving, Tennis, Track & Field, VolleyballNotable Facilities: High Point Solutions Stadium (Football; 52,454), Rutgers Athletic Center (Men’s & Women’s Basketball; 8,000)The Rutgers Scarlet Knights join the Big Ten and become the eastern-most team in the conference. Known as the “birthplace of college football,” Rutgers started its athletic program in 1869 when it hosted the first ever college football game against the College of New Jersey (which later became Princeton University). Rutgers was one of the first schools to participate consistently in collegiate athletics.The Rutgers football program has played more than 1,200 games and ranks 38th in victories among NCAA FBS programs. Their only national championship came in 1869. Rutgers has made nine bowl game appearances since 2005, winning five of them. In 2013, Rutgers finished the season 6-7 overall with a 3-5 mark in the AAC. They lost to Notre Dame 16-29 in the New Era Pinstripe Bowl.The Rutgers men’s basketball team has struggled in the past few decades. The Scarlet Knights have made the NCAA Tournament six times, with the most recent appearance coming in 1991. Rutgers’ furthest run in the tournament came in 1976 as the team advanced to the Final Four before falling to Michigan. This past season, the Scarlet Knights went just 12-21 overall and 5-13 in the AAC.last_img read more

Football: Players to watch in Saturday’s Spring Game

first_imgDeal certainly has the ability to be a top tier running back in a program known for turning out elite rushers. He ran for 1,200 yards and 18 touchdowns as a senior and finished with more than 3,100 yards in his high school career, as the 2013 Maryland Gatorade Player of the Year.Sojourn SheltonShelton struggled through his sophomore season and finished without an interception after he had four his freshman year. But the junior has bounced back so far this spring, and has said the new coaching staff has helped give him renewed confidence. Saturday will provide him the opportunity to show what he can do in a pseudo-game situation. Tanner McEvoyUnlike last spring, McEvoy will not competing for a starting quarterback spot come Saturday. However, the question remains where exactly McEvoy will be used and how much he will be used. Most of his time has been spent at safety, where he will most likely start this fall, and his 6-foot-6 frame will give much needed size to UW’s secondary. He also could see some time at wide receiver where he has already made an impact in several practices.#Badgers McEvoy got lots of work at WR today. Had a 20-yard TD catch in RZ segment.— Jeff Potrykus (@jaypo1961) April 18, 2015T.J. EdwardsEdwards has come on strong this spring, and the redshirt freshman has put himself into a position where he could potentially earn a starting spot at inside linebacker. Edwards was a three-star recruit in high school and played both offense and defense, but has focused in on his defense capabilities this spring, where he has spent a good deal of time with the first defensive unit. Saturday could help solidify his standing with that first unit.ILB T.J. Edwards primed to breakout in 2015. Had another huge day for the No. 1 defense. #Badgers— Evan Flood (@Evan_Flood) April 19, 2015Chikwe ObasihObasih played right away as a freshman a year ago and will be a key cog in the Wisconsin defensive front this year. With Warren Herring graduated, Obasih will be have to step up as one of the leaders of UW’s front seven, which also lost both inside linebackers in Marcus Trotter and Derek Landisch to graduation. A year older, Obasih will have more playing time and more responsibility come fall. In the grand scheme of things, the Wisconsin football team’s spring game Saturday is just a glorified practice.But there will still be plenty on the line as the limelight shines on the Badgers for the first time leading up to the fall season.With an influx of younger players, including several talented early enrollees, some players have more to prove come Saturday than others.Here’s who The Badger Herald sports department is keeping an eye on for the spring game, as players who could stand to gain or lose ground based on their performances Saturday.OffenseJoel StaveStave has had a whirlwind experience at quarterback since he first arrived on campus in the spring of 2011, and his starting spot looks like it could be under siege for the second straight season. Stave looks to be in line as the first string signal caller come next fall, but there are several other viable options behind him should his throwing issues from last season resurface.That’s not to say Stave has to have a breakout performance Saturday, but if he’s going to retain the top spot, he has to prove to new head coach Paul Chryst that he can be a reliable and efficient option under center. He’s shown he can throw the deep ball, but can he complete the short throws?D.J. GillinsSpeaking of threats to Stave, DJ Gillins might be the most likely candidate to do that. After sitting out last season, the redshirt freshman has spent most of his time this spring with the second team offense and has shown some flashes of what made him a four-star recruit out of high school. If he showcases his dual-threat abilities Saturday, he could make a serious case to be in the starting quarterback conversation.Jazz PeavyWith several injuries ahead of him, redshirt freshman Jazz Peavy has seen increased time as part of the wide receiving corps this spring. Outside of Alex Erickson, who came on strong for UW last season, the Badgers don’t have too many proven threats at receiver, making the increased time for Peavy that much more valuable. The spring game will be yet another chance to prove he belongs in the top group.center_img Taiwan DealDeal is yet another of the redshirt freshmen making gains, as he has his sights set on the number two running back spot behind Corey Clement.last_img read more

Final Grades: Might not be best on field, but Wisconsin football No. 1 in classroom

first_imgThe University of Wisconsin football team may not be No. 1 in the rankings, but it is in the classroom.According to the Academic Progress Rate rankings released Wednesday, the Badgers’ football team finished first in the nation with a score of 998 (out of 1,000) over the last three years.That score placed them ahead of other academically reputable institutions such as Northwestern (992), Duke (992), Michigan (990) and Stanford (987).Wisconsin football now has placed in the top 10 percent in APR for the last three years, one of only six schools to accomplish this feat.Men’s Basketball and Football Perfect This YearThe men’s basketball team and football squad were two of eight UW teams to earn a perfect score of 1,000.The other six were men’s golf, men’s tennis, women’s golf, women’s hockey, softball and volleyball.Overall, 10 of UW’s 23 programs achieved an APR of 990, while 19 of the programs were at their sport’s average or higher.What is APR?Installed by the NCAA in 2003, APR is a way of measuring student-athletes’ academic eligibility and retention rate with the goal of holding institutions accountable.To calculate APR, a point is awarded for the student-athlete staying in school and another point if he or she remains eligible. Then, those points are divided by the number of points possible and multiplied by 1,000.If programs don’t reach a specified benchmark, it could result in penalties such as the loss of scholarships or playoff bans.last_img read more

The Internet reacts to Badgers win over Xavier

first_imgSWEET, SWEET VICTORY. We’re headed back to the Sweet Sixteen.Because THIS happened: This girl is all of us. Send her an acceptance letter. She gets it.#ONWISCONSIN EVERYTHING pic.twitter.com/mexLX58NuM— UW-Madison (@UWMadison) March 21, 2016Frank the Tank FREAKED. #tbt #missuboo YES! YOU DID IT FAM! (Note: Nigel Hayes is indeed lifting head coach Greg Gard into the air.) One more time, start to finish. You wanna see that again? I do.center_img Take it back now, ya’ll: Let’s get that fresh angle. YEP. OK. Slam Dekker was at a loss for words.https://twitter.com/dekker/status/711744475568025601Bill Murray was so sad!!! (But why does it make me so happy???)#PrayForBill pic.twitter.com/N5xpos3NSM— Barstool Sports (@barstoolsports) March 21, 2016So naturally Crying Michael memes appeared out of thin air.WHO DID THIS?! pic.twitter.com/6eJxB3T6An— Barstool Sports (@barstoolsports) March 21, 2016Which in turn created this work of art:@AlbertBreer pic.twitter.com/MBKkc0beCw— Kev Rich (@kevantrich) March 21, 2016A lot of Space Jam stuff.*Bronson walking out of the timeout like* pic.twitter.com/zF44F3q64J— Grateful Red (@UWGratefulRed) March 21, 2016Let’s not forget this though, a beautifully executed moment from Showy:Kudos to @ZShowbball333. Lowered shoulder, contact, sold it. Textbook D. #Badgers #Sweet16 #wsaw pic.twitter.com/G9c3DvEHS7— Dale Ryman (@DaleRyman_WSAW) March 21, 2016Also this weirdness, #WTF was that??Xavier Coach pulling a Mike Tomlin, what a dick https://t.co/LgFDYwj8S3— Big Cat (@BarstoolBigCat) March 21, 2016The people took to Wikipedia:Xavier’s Wikipedia page pic.twitter.com/GXccBhHMGC— Wags (@BenWagner11) March 21, 2016OMG LOL!!! Someone changed Bronson Koenig’s wikipedia page. His career award is “murdering Xavier” pic.twitter.com/9kTn1zZfpo— Max DelBello (@maxreds19) March 21, 2016Ok let’s see that shot again.It’s lit pic.twitter.com/5WcCyZZQ8M— Charlie (@CharlieWisco) March 21, 2016And FYI:List of teams that have made the Sweet 16 in five of the last six years:WISCONSIN.That is all.#Badgers #MarchMadness— Wisconsin Basketball (@BadgerMBB) March 21, 2016last_img read more

Hayes: Why Badger fans should reconsider Wisconsin’s ‘disappointing’ Cotton Bowl berth

first_imgAfter Wisconsin let a 21-point lead in the second quarter slip through their fingers and end in 31-38 heartbreaker to then-No. 7 Penn State in conference championship, this what-if scenario quickly became a reality Sunday afternoon. While there is plenty reason for Badger fans to feel disappointed with Wisconsin’s second-half performance in Indianapolis last Saturday, those who remain discontent with the season as a whole need to take a step back and remember that this year’s team was projected to finish somewhere in the ballpark of .500.With Wisconsin’s meat-grinder of a schedule, headlined by six games against top-12 opponents, the Badgers could have easily been competing in the “Toilet Bowl” this winter, let alone a New Year’s Six bid to the 2017 Goodyear Cotton Bowl.Wisconsin has never competed in the Cotton Bowl either, which may I remind everyone is one of the most storied and prestigious bowl games in college football in its 81 years of existence, and having a chance to win it means something.With the disappointment in Wisconsin’s non-Power Five conference opponent made clear by many across this campus, the 2017 Cotton Bowl is beginning to share some ominous similarities to the 2008-09 Allstate Sugar Bowl between No. 4 University of Alabama and No. 6 University of Utah.Alabama earned a spot in the Sugar Bowl that year after losing to the University of Florida in the SEC Championship Game, in which the Crimson Tide also squandered a similar three-point lead at the beginning of the fourth quarter.Jason Chan/The Badger HeraldFootball: Notre Dame transfer Malik Zaire reportedly set for Wisconsin visit this weekAfter announcing his intent to transfer upon an expected graduation from Notre Dame later this month, ex-Fighting Irish quarterback Malik Read…Despite Utah’s undefeated record, Alabama and many of its fans felt they had been cheated with a matchup against a non-Power Five conference team in the Utes. Heavily favored Alabama proceeded to underplay Utah’s easier schedule and half-heartedly slept-walked into a what they expected to be a meaningless beat down.Utah had different plans. The Utes came ready to play for a national championship that night because for a non-Power Five school (especially in the BCS era) like then-Mountain West Conference champions Utah, that game was the national title as far as they were concerned.Utah stunned Alabama with a 21-0 wake-up call in the first quarter, and went on to win 31-17 to prove those “nobodies” from the Group of Five were formidable somebodies. The message is clear: Wisconsin and its fanbase can’t afford to underestimate a team playing with a chip on its shoulder like WMU.In the last 10 meetings – spanning nine seasons – between Group of Five and Power Five conference teams in New Year’s Six (previously referred to Bowl Championship Series games before the College Football Playoff was implemented in 2014), the Group of Five has gone a convincing 8-2 against their big brother, including three consecutive victories in the past three seasons.These Group of Five teams are consistently underestimated by their Power Five opponents on the big New Year’s Six stage, and this mistake persistently comes back to haunt to them year in and year out. Keep in mind, there are only two undefeated college football teams in the country this season: Alabama & Western Michigan.Bumbaca: Big Ten Championship loss should not be standard, but only a beginningINDIANAPOLIS — For the second time in as many years, I found myself in the annals of Lucas Oil Stadium Read…Even if the Broncos did play no one but teams like Cupcake University or Marshmallow Tech all year, finishing perfect through an entire season is an impressive feat.All season long, the Broncos have heard comments like, “Their [Western Michigan’s] undefeated record doesn’t mean anything because they aren’t Power Five,” and “They can’t compete with the Power Five because they haven’t played any decent teams this year, blah blah blah.”Come kickoff in Arlington, Western Michigan’s electrically charismatic head coach P.J. Fleck and his undefeated, No. 15 Broncos are going to have something to say about these comments themselves on the field.Teams like Western Michigan live to prove major Power Five programs and their fans like Wisconsin and its fans wrong. Expect Broncos to play Wisconsin harder than any other team they’ve faced all season long.Wisconsin’s downfall in last Saturday’s loss started and ended with Penn State quarterback Trace McSorley’s dismantling of what turned into an unrecognizably porous Badgers secondary. The Nittany Lions’ explosive passing game exposed an Achilles Heel in the Badgers’ otherwise suffocating defense for the first time this season.Football: Wisconsin blows three-touchdown lead, falls to Penn State 38-31 in Big Ten title gameINDIANAPOLIS — It seemed too easy. The bounces, the calls, the everything, really, tilted in the favor of the University Read…Adding 384 yards, four touchdowns and no picks against UW in Indianapolis, McSorley’s season totals through 13 games rose to 3,360 yards, 25 TDs and five interceptions on the year. Don’t look now, but WMU senior quarterback Zach Terrell has thrown for a gravely similar 3,376 yards, 32 TDs and three picks in the same number of games.Any members of the Grateful Red who are the under the impression WMU will make a nice doormat for the No. 8 Badgers in an insignificant game may want to brace themselves for Jan. 2. After a tough loss in the conference title with a trip to the Rose Bowl on the line, many Wisconsin fans aren’t satisfied with their team’s New Year’s Six bid against non-Power Five conference No. 15 Western Michigan University.During last week’s Facebook Live session, The Badger Herald sports section was asked if a potential berth in the 2017 Goodyear Cotton Bowl against No. 15 Western Michigan would be a disappointment to this season’s Badgers team. last_img read more