Badgers men’s basketball locked in for new season
Wisconsin holds it’s first official practice for upcoming season, headlined by experience.
MADISON, Wis. (WMTV) - Wednesday marked the return of college basketball in Madison as the University of Wisconsin men’s basketball team returned to the floor for its first official practice of the 2020-2021 season.
The Badgers return seven seniors from last year’s squad that earned a share of the Big Ten Title and has waited 221 days since playing their last game, a win over Indiana to clinch the Big Ten regular season championship.
“We’re not going to teleport back to March 7 and be that team.” Head Coach Greg Gard told reporters over zoom. “We have to wipe the slate clean.”
Wipe the slate clean is what Brad Davison, D’Mitrik Trice and the rest of their teammates plan to do, especially after moving past the moments they missed out on last March.
“When ESPN came out with the simulated national champions, Wisconsin Badgers, I woke up and was like ‘you gotta be kidding me’.” said Brad Davison who enters his senior year in Madison.
“That kind of flipped my mindset to alright I’m done thinking about last year because we want to make that a reality and the only way we can do that is by flipping the switch to maximizing what’s in front of us."
When asked if intensity was higher for the Badgers first practice on Wednesday compared to years past, Davison added confidence to the heightened performance from Wisconsin.
“We got a lot of different weapons. You know everyone talks about the returning players have confidence because we’ve been there before but I’ve really loved what I’ve seen from the freshmen. Really confident, really aggressive. Looking for their shots. Willing to dive on the floor. Those little things goes a long way.”
“And then the intensity... we have a lot of guys that this is supposed to be their last dance and their last shot at doing something special which is the reason you come here. To be cut short last year and put ourselves in position to make a run at it just kind of adds fuel to the fire.”
Gerg Gard echoed the fire for his team
“They’re hungry for more. They want another crack at this and having so much taken away from them last year. They don’t take anything for granted.”
“This group, more than any group that I’ve ever been around has been through more adversity and real life things going back to the Coach (Howard) Moore accident on memorial day a year ago. They learn not to take things for granted. They learned that really fast in a harsh, cruel way and I think that’s given them the tools and the ability to really embrace and appreciate everything they get a chance to do.”
As the Badgers bring back experience, skill and all five starters that made them the team to beat heading into March, preparing for the 20-21 season is all about the mindset in Madison.
“We gotta start this season like it’s a fresh one. Like it’s a new one.” Said senior guard, D’Mitrik Trice.
“We can’t look back at the past and just say we’re gonna pick up how we were at the end of last season. We have to come up with the same mindset that we had at the end of the season last year. Just coming in with the same mindset but knowing that nothing is guaranteed. Nothing should be taken for granted.”
Brad Davison broke down the team’s mindset to just worrying about the next day and not whether they can play a full season or not.
“We’re taking that same mindset of just trying to win each and every day and controlling what we can control. Because who knows what is next to come. Nobody knows really knows even what’s going to happen next week so trusting the process. Buying in. Winning each day.”
The Badgers could get their first taste of winning on November 25 which is the first official day college basketball team’s can play a game, but for now an opponent or a game that day is still to be determined.
“The only thing we know about November 25 is that’s the first official day we can play. Right now we have a lot more questions than answers as far as what the schedule will look like." Greg Gard said.
Just like last season, the Badgers head coach entering his sixth season at the helm knows all he can do is concentrate on basketball.
"A lot of it will be driven by decisions out of the coaches' control.”
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