Big Ten Media Day - Bo Ryan

Wisconsin coach Bo Ryan

Oct. 25, 2012

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THE MODERATOR: The first coach joining us this morning is head coach Bo Ryan. He welcomes back 12 letter winners and four starters from last year's squad that advanced to the Sweet 16. Coach?
BO RYAN: I think the obvious statement is how does he look? I thought he was parking cars when I came through the lobby, that's why I asked him 12th year, huh? Seems like it was just yesterday. Happy to be here, looking forward to the season. We could be one of the better teams this year, but I don't know if the records will show it with everybody in the league.

I think there is going to be a lot of parity. I haven't said that every year, but I think this year it's going to be pretty obvious.

Q. Bo, you have had a series of great point guards play under you, now you're starting over at that position again somewhat. What is the plan at point guard and how important is that in your offense?
BO RYAN: Well, it's extremely important. I appreciate the fact that you like some of our guards because we liked them, too, because of what they brought, the confidence, the control. They controlled games.

Thank goodness for the new rule. We had a chance to see Josh Gasser this year following up on who is next. The two hours that we had a chance to work with him and then the couple of hours in the fall, I'm glad that we had that, because Josh will be the point guard.

He's learned from those before him. I'm very pleased with what he's done and how the guys have rallied around him. So I think we will be still in pretty good shape, maybe not the point guards that we have had with Hughes and Taylor that can beat you off the bounce, low to the ground, real thick shoulder type guys, but Josh is a different point guard, but just as effective so far, and hopefully that will happen in the games, too.

Q. What does Josh do in your offense to compensate for the fact that he's not as much as of a blow by guy like the last couple?
BO RYAN: He's a little longer. His handle he's going to be tough to take the ball away from. He can get it into position to start whatever we're doing. You might not see as many ball screens this year. It depends on how we keep evolving. Defensively, he is so much better at this point than a lot of the other guards that we've had at the point, because of his length.

The other guys were pretty good defenders, but Josh is a step above that defensively, and because of his height, I think he can see things very well. So he's thinking another pass ahead, like some of those hockey guys that make the pass that leads to the pass that gets you a bucket. He understands angles, and he's extremely competitive.

Q. Bo, how does Zach Bohannon compare with his older brother and is it the intangibles and how does he fit in your lineup?
BO RYAN: You said it, he tries to help the referees probably more than anybody we've had, because he thinks every call should be the color of whatever jersey he's wearing. But he loves the game, competes hard, he's taller.

He can shoot from three, but, you know, Jason was pretty good his last couple of years with the bounce, too, getting to the rim. Jason was deceivingly athletic and Zach brings moxie. Offensively, he does some things, and it's nice to have a guy that's played in the system where you're pretty well taught to make good reads when he played at Air Force, some of the Princeton stuff, the backdoor stuff, overplays, read-and-react situations.

He was a little more ahead of most guys coming in. Now that we have him for two years, I think he will help us. I don't know how many minutes, how much time, but having him on the floor would not be something where we go, oh, well, we got at that get this guy some rest, so we will let him in. He will earn minutes.

Q. What do you feel the impact has been on the new rule that you can get to work with freshmen and how does that change the probability that more of them are ready right off the bat?
BO RYAN: There is no question our freshmen are ready to compete a couple of hours a week. They're playing basketball a lot more than two hours. They'll play pick up for two hours against one another. Getting them organized, more somebody like Sam Dekker and Zak Showalter, they've been to our camps and they're way ahead of the curve, our two freshmen and the hours this summer just multiplied that.

Q. Talk a little bit about the league prospects with five teams in the top 25 and Indiana getting a lot of national attention.
BO RYAN: It's good for the league. I think the league earned it, the fact that they see guys back on a lot of those teams, especially Indiana. Where you start is one thing, as we all know, but to get that kind of information out or to have that out there to the public and knowing the tournaments that we're in, our nonconference schedules, the type of teams we're going to play. We're going to have to back it up. We're going to have to play well, that's for sure.

There are certain teams now in our league that have that "X," that mark on their back, but that's good. I think that's good, that quality competition, that interest, the outside interest of people saying, "Well, we think this team is pretty good." This team is pretty good. That's okay, that's great for the league.

Q. You bring up the mark on the back, I think you guys are in the top 25, but there are four teams ahead of you. Your team has been at or near the top for the last decade, is that an unusual position for you guys to start the season maybe a little farther down? Is that something that you can use to motivate your guys?
BO RYAN: Not really. I don't really have to go anything about that and the fact that four of our brethren are ahead of us, that's okay and there's a lot of play between now and the end of December, early January. There are reasons why certain teams weren't in certain positions and I understand with our team, with the point guard position being new, maybe inexperienced to some extent, I can understand that and the teams know we're going to play most of them twice. Great for the RPI, the league, you can beat up on each other but you can still, with certain statistics look pretty good with the RPI and other things. So I think our players welcome it.

THE MODERATOR: Thank you, Coach.

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