January 31, 2010

Bohannon, UW look to recover following loss

MADISON - Jason Bohannon, like the rest of the Wisconsin men's basketball team, understands a chance for a big win slipped through the team's hands last Thursday night at Purdue. However, with an important rivalry game with Michigan State upcoming this week, the Badgers don't have time to sulk.

At the conclusion of a recent practice, BadgerBlitz.com caught up with the senior guard. The following is a question and answer with Bohannon.

Obviously that's a tough loss the other night at Purdue, but at the same time does it give you guys some confidence going down there and having them on their heels in their place? Obviously you want the win, but…

Bohannon: I mean we went down there and we did what we needed to do to get the opportunity to win. We just didn't finish it out. We got a look at the end and didn't finish it. That's what we wanted to do. The coaches did a great job preparing us and they said their job is to help prepare us and give us the opportunity to win. They certainly did so. We had a game plan, did a lot of things right, but we just didn't finish it.

Were you shocked at how open Keaton Nankivil was all night especially after what he did to Purdue last year here?

Bohannon: Yeah, he did the same thing here last year. Purdue did a good job of doing help defense in the lane. JaJuan Johnson was in there a lot trying to shut off that dribble penetration and everything. Keaton was doing those pick and pops and he was open at the top of the key. If he's getting that shot, a lot of times he's going to knock that down with a high percentage.

How important is it for him to take that shot to open up the defense a bit more, or make them pay if they don't open up?

Bohannon: It's a big deal for them to shoot it. We've always been on him for passing up some of those open looks. He thinks we can get a better shot, but a lot of times he's got the best chance there with that pick and pop. He shoots that shot all the time. He works that all summer and everything. We're all confident in him shooting it. That game showed what he's capable of doing.

When you look at Michigan State Kalin Lucas is obviously their spark plug so to speak. How much does he free up what Chris Allen is able to do, especially from the perimeter?

Bohannon: He does a lot. Kalin Lucas does a great job of getting his team, leading his team and getting them all involved. He does a great job of getting to the lane, kick outs. Allen is there and he's knocking down all his shots. He does a great job of driving to the hoop and stuff. You saw that against Northwestern last night with that little highlight dunk he had. They do a great job of playing off each other and that's what good teams do.

Going back to Keaton, have you or the coaches been doing anything over the past three games-he's averaging 11 shots per game-has anyone in particular been getting on him to hoist a few more when he's open?

Bohannon: No, we haven't. We're still telling him that if he's got the open shot to shoot it. It hasn't been anything different than what we've been telling him in the past coaching wise or player wise. We've been doing the same thing, keeping the same game plan offensively. He's just shooting it and shooting with confidence right now.

Are there a few instances in the past where he maybe passes up a shot with seven-to-10 seconds to go on the shot clock and it actually hurts the offense because you, Trevon Hughes and Jordan Taylor have to kind of take a contested shot to beat the shot clock?

Bohannon: That's kind of what we've been talking to him about. He passes that shot off and stuff and he thinks we can get a better shot. As I said earlier that's the best shot we're going to get a lot of times with him, doing that pick and pop and shots he's working on all the time. He's very confident in that and his footwork in that and facing the hoop up.

I know you guys look at it one game at a time and that no game is bigger than the other, but this one is kind of big if you want to get into the Big Ten race again. You can't go down four games with these guys not having lost.

Bohannon: I think any team playing Michigan State thinks that way. There's a lot of teams right there in the middle with three or four losses. There are a lot of teams out there playing good basketball and Michigan State is one in particular. They're finding ways to win regardless of how close it is and that's what good teams do. We have a great opportunity against a very good team here coming in on Tuesday night.

It's kind of a fun time though isn't it? The calendar is turning to February and this is where you start positioning for March.

Bohannon: This is what you play for and practice all year round for. The off-season and everything we prepare for this time of year and the end of the Big Ten season and preparing for March and preparing for what we want to get done conference championship wise and tournament championship wise.

Going back to Keaton again, is it part of his personality to be a bit more passive or tentative? Those are kind of negative words, but just quieter maybe?

Bohannon: Yeah, I mean all different players have their own different personality. Keaton plays a certain way and he handles things differently as does any player. Any player handles things in a different way. No player has the same characteristics and stuff. Keaton, he's learning things right now and he's doing a very good job of picking up things. If you look at his defensive improvement in taking charges from this year to last year, how many charges does he have this year? He's shooting a better percentage and shooting with more confidence. It just shows that each player in here that listens to coach Bo Ryan as Keaton does every single day, they're bound to get better.

One final question, who has a better jumper you or Keaton?

Bohannon: Keaton is shooting the ball very well right now, but we'll have to find out. That's for the fans to say.

Maybe the most important question is, has anybody given you any grief for the shiner?

Bohannon: Not really. Not too bad. We were giving Otto (Puls) a hard time about it because he called a foul on me. I was like I had both hands straight up and he cleared me out. Coach reverses the call and we got it corrected.

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