Four Badgers players decide to redshirt this season

MADISON, Wis. — Wisconsin basketball coach Bo Ryan has long

been a proponent of players making their own decisions when it comes to using a

redshirt year. This season is no different, and given the depth of talent on

the team, it’s no surprise four players have now announced their intention to

redshirt.

Freshman guard Riley Dearring became the latest Badgers

player to redshirt, announcing his decision on Sunday. Dearring joins teammates

Jordan Smith, Zak Showalter and Aaron Moesch as redshirt players in 2013-14.

Dearring, a Minnesota Mr. Basketball finalist in 2013,

averaged 19.2 points as a high school senior but would not have found much

playing time this season at Wisconsin in a crowded backcourt. Smith and

Showlater, both non-scholarship players this year, found themselves in a

similar scenario, as did Moesch at forward.

Ryan said the benefits of redshirting were numerous and

ultimately made the Badgers better down the road.

“If they have that fifth year in school, they would

much rather have a chance of playing on the court than maybe they would as

freshmen,” Ryan said Monday during his weekly news conference. “And

they’ve heard of other people doing it, not just here, but at other places.

“As long as they’re working hard as a redshirt on the

scout team, it makes our scout team better every year because those guys are

always loose. They get extra lifts in because they’re not playing in the games.

They get stronger, and they mature quite a bit. So to have them when they’re

23, 24, knowing that at probably 18, 19, they’re not going to get very many

minutes, if any, sometimes, it works out for everybody.”

Movin’ on up: Wisconsin shot up eight spots to No. 12 in the

latest Associated Press top 25 poll, released Monday. It is the highest the

Badgers have been in the poll since being ranked 11th in the Dec. 26, 2011

poll. UW also moved up four positions to No. 15 in the weekly coaches poll.

Wisconsin defeated then-No. 11 Florida 59-53 on Tuesday

night at the Kohl Center. The Badgers backed up that performance by topping

Green Bay 69-66 on the road.

Wisconsin (3-0) plays host to North Dakota (1-0) at 7 p.m.

Tuesday at the Kohl Center.

Koenig’s extended minutes: Badgers freshman guard Bronson

Koenig played his biggest role yet in a UW uniform during Wisconsin’s 69-66

victory against Green Bay on Saturday. He played 23 minutes and made all three

of his field goal attempts. Koenig finished with seven points, two assists and

one turnover.

“Bronson showed a lot of poise,” Ryan said.

“That was a good team we played in an environment that was pretty

electric. He was on the floor some against St. John’s, but he just has been proving in practice.

“You know, when he was on the scout team and he scored

like 10 straight baskets against the other guys, I thought it would be a good

idea maybe to move him over to our side rather than the far side.

“He’s got a lot of basketball skill, a lot of moxie, a

lot of just knows how to play and can get things done. He’s learning how to

play defense the way we need him to. So, yeah, I thought he handled himself

really well.”

Koenig’s minutes increase came partially as a result of

guard George Marshall missing Saturday’s game with a concussion he sustained

during Friday’s practice. Marshall’s status for Tuesday’s game is unknown.

“Medically, I don’t know anything that I didn’t know

yesterday, just that he wasn’t able to be out there,” Ryan said.

“When he does come back, he’ll be trying to contribute in any way he can

— defensively, offensively, shooting-wise. It’s pretty competitive there in

the backcourt. Can’t hiccup a lot.”

High praise: Ryan was asked which player had been the most

pleasant surprise on this year’s team, and he didn’t hesitate with a response:

freshman forward Nigel Hayes.

Hayes is averaging 14.7 minutes per game off the bench,

tallying 5.3 points and 1.0 rebounds. His 57.1 percent field goal rate (8 for

14) is the best among any player with more than three made shots.

“If you don’t appreciate what Nigel has given us, you

haven’t been around this game,” Ryan said. “If you can’t say that

he’s the one guy that, more so than anybody else, you’d have to say he has done things that maybe a lot of people

wouldn’t have expected.”

Follow Jesse Temple on Twitter