After surving a small scare from Penn State yesterday Bo Ryan notched his 9th 20 win season as Wisconsin Head Coach. Now at a school like Kentucky, Duke, UNC, UCLA, etc. that may not be a huge deal but around here it is. A 20 win season has only happened 4 other times outside of the Bo Ryan era. That was something even myself, an ardent college basketball nut, couldn’t believe was the case.
That feat got me to thinking what kind of players Bo Ryan has had over his tenure at Wisconsin and pretty soon that idea blossomed into the All-Bo Ryan Teams and awards. Below you will find my 1st, 2nd, and honorable mention teams (5 in 1st and 2nd teams – just like the All-Conference lists we are all used to seeing) and a few single person awards. In total there were 18 players that I considered for the teams and after getting the stats and everything else into place it wasn’t as easy as I thought to bring together these teams. All I know was it was fun to remember the days of guys like Kammron Taylor, Freddie Owens, Carlie Wills, Kirk Penny, etc. It’s amazing that it’s been just over a full decade of Bo Ryan at the helm, so without further ado here is my All-Bo Ryan Teams:
1st Team: *all career numbers
Alando Tucker (2003-2007): 16.5ppg, 5.7rpg, 1.6apg
– He averaged 19 and 19.9 points per game his last 2 seasons as a Badger and was a consensus 1st team all-American in 2007. He never averaged under 12 points per game and made an immediate impact from his freshman year on, something to easily done under Bo Ryan.
Devin Harris – Guard (2002-2004): 14.8ppg, 4.1rpg, 3.1apg
– Harris was the 1st Badger in the Bo Ryan era to earn all-American honors as he was a 2nd team all-American in his Junior season. He left after that year becoming the 1st Badger to leave school early for the NBA. Since then he has had a steady career in the Association as a point guard. In that all-American year he averaged 19.5ppg, 4.4apg, and 4.3rpg all as a shooting guard under Ryan.
Jon Leuer – Forward (2008-2011): 11.2ppg, 4.5rpg, 1.1apg
– Leuer’s final season last year might have been one of the best overall single seasons we’ve seen from a Badger in a long time. He had 18.3ppg, which ranked him 3rd in the conference in scoring. But it wasn’t just his scoring, it was the fact that he was deadly from anywhere on the court and showed he could be more of a driver and player with the ball in his hands. He also averaged 7.2 rebounds per game. Add in shooting 84% from the free throw line (3rd in the Big Ten) and you’ve got a pretty complete player.
Mike Wilkinson – Forward (2002-2005): 11.8ppg, 6.6rpg, 1.7apg
– This one was the toughest spot to fill, but Wilkinson was a rock in the middle during the early years of the Ryan era and one of the most under-appreciated players in the last decade. He was also the original “big man that can shoot” that Ryan recruited to Wisconsin. Wilkinson progressed each year and by his senior season he ended up averaging a healthy 14.5ppg, 7.4rpg, and had 1.7 steals a game plus .9 blocks a game.
Jordan Taylor – Guard (2009- present): 10.9ppg, 3.0rpg, 3.4apg *career through most recent game
– Wisconsin has had it’s share of very, VERY good point guards under Bo Ryan, but none have been able to put it all together like Taylor has. He’s got it from deep, he defends well, and he’s one of the most efficient players in NCAA basketball history. Add in the fact that he was a consensus 2nd team all-American last year and he’s got to be in the 1st team in my mind.
Kirk Penney – Guard (1999-2003): 11.4ppg, 3.8rpg, 1.7apg
– He’s one of the only players considered that played under Dick Bennett and Bo Ryan. Those career numbers aren’t totally amazing, but consider in his 2 years playing under Ryan he averaged 15.1 and 16.2 points per game. He was a sharp shooter and his 44.6% field goal percentage his senior year had him ranked 3rd in the conference. He’s gone on to have himself a nice little career over in New Zeleand and is personally one of my favorite players from my college days.
Brian Butch – Center (2005-2008): 9ppg, 5.4rpg, 0.8apg
– The only McDonald’s all-American in Badgers history and probably the only one in college basketball history to redshirt he may not have reached the lofty expectations of some but he also wasn’t the slug that most liked to scapegoat him as. By his senior season he was averaging 12.4 points per game and 6.6 rebounds a game, both led the team that season that featured Michael Flowers, Trevon Hughes, and Marcus Landry, so that wasn’t a small feat by any means.
Kammron Taylor – Guard (2004-2007): 10.3ppg, 2.2rpg, 1.7apg
– After the Devin Harris era ended Kam saw a lot more time in those final two seasons of his career where he averaged 14.2 and 13.3 points per game respectively. He also put up those numbers alongside of Alando Tucker so his contributions amongst some have been diminished. He was named 2nd team all-Big Ten in his Senior season, all numbers and honors worthy of a 2nd team Bo-Ryan team selection.
Michael Flowers – Guard (2005-2008): 6.2ppg, 3.2rpg, .1apg, 1.3spg
– In full disclosure I was his brother’s roommate in college and knowing him a bit through that relationship had zero bearing on his place amongst the best players in the Bo Ryan era. For my money he is the best defensive guard the Badgers have had is one of the two best defensive players all around under Ryan. He ranked 3rd and 4th in steals in the Big Ten over his final two seasons respectively and is 13th in Big Ten history with 172 steals for his career. His senior season was his best statistically scoring 9.6 points per game, 3.9 rebounds per game, and 2.7 assists per game.
Trevon Hughes – Guard (2007-2010): 10.1ppg, 3.0rpg, 2.1apg
– Hughes was so, so talented but he also was careless with the ball, landing in Bo Ryan’s doghouse at times throughout his career. He has the dubious distinction of ranking in the top 20 for turnovers all-time in the Big Ten with 203. He was so fun to watch with the ball because we hadn’t seen an athletic player of his caliber in quite some time for Wisconsin. Additionally the guy could flat out hit it from deep later in his career culminating in a 39.6% 3pt FG percentage in his senior season. He hit 74 three’s in that final season, good for 5th in the Big Ten. Along with Flowers he was also adept at stealing the ball, averaging 1.7 steals a game his final year.
All of these guys nearly made the lists above and deserve some mention in my book:
Greg Stiemsma – Forward (2005-2008): 2.7ppg, 2.3rg, 0.8apg
– This one may be a head scratcher to the casual fan, but he was a defensive monster in his career and by the end of his time in a Badgers uniform was as important as any player on the team. He’s continued to get better after leaving Wisconsin and showed well enough to make the opening day roster with the Boston Celtics.
Marcus Landry – Forward (2006-2009): 9.2ppg, 4.2rpg, 1.2apg
– Athletic and a ton of potential to be great, but overall just didn’t live up to the potential he showed. He was the closest to making the 2nd team from this list mainly due to the fact that he averaged 10.8ppg and 5.4rpg his junior year and increased his scoring production to 12.7ppg in his final season. What really held him back was his free throw shooting which was only 67% during his career.
Jason Bohannon – Guard (2007-2010): 8.7ppg, 2.6rpg, 1.6apg)
– When you think of three point shooting at Wisconsin the discussion for best shooter usually starts and ends with J-Bo as he was known by most fans and teammates alike. He hit 212 three pointers in his career, putting him in the top 25 all-time in the Big Ten. He also was one of the most durable players around, making appearances in 36 career conference games and 135 overall games which is good for 8th and 9th all-time in Big Ten history.
Zach Morley – Forward (2004-2005): 8.1ppg, 5.3rpg, 1.7apg
– He only spent two seasons in a Badgers uniform but it was a productive two seasons for him and he was a member of the most successful Bo Ryan team in the NCAA tournament, reaching the Elite 8 in 2004. His 186 rebounds during the 2003-04 season ranked him 9th in the conference that year.
Freddie Owens – Guard (2001-2004): 7.2ppg, 2.0rpg, 1apg
– One of just a few players on this list to have played for both Dick Bennett and Bo Ryan. His career best season was the 2003-03 season where he averaged 10.3 points per game and 1.7 assists per game. His numbers declined the next season as Alando Tucker really took over.
Charlie Wills – Forward (1999-2002): 5.6ppg, 3.5rpg, 0.9apg
– This is one player you really may not remember playing under Bo Ryan, but that’s because he only played his senior year for Ryan. However, it was also his best season averaging 10.2 points per game and 5.2 rebounds per game.
Joe Krabbenhoft – Forward (2006-2009): 6.1ppg, 5.6rpg, 2.0apg
– Krabbenhoft was a rebounding machine in his final two seasons as he began seeing a lot of playing time under Ryan. He ended those seasons ranked 8th and 7th in the conference in rebounding. However he never averaged double figures in scoring, but had a career best 8.2ppg average in his senior season.
Best Player: Alando Tucker – I think this is about as much of a slam dunk as they come and he had many a highlight reel dunk in his Badgers career.
Best Defensive Player: Michael Flowers – Without a question he was a defensive beast and I enjoyed watching him shut down a lot of the best guards the Big Ten had to offer in his time at Wisconsin.
Best Recruiting Class: The 2007 class – These names should almost all ring a bell for Badger fans: Keaton Nankivil, Tim Jarmusz, Jon Leuer, Wquinton Smith, Brett Valentyn, J.P. Gavinski. A close second was the 2005 class that featured Krabbenhoft, Gulickson, and Landry.