Senior guards anchor UW backcourt, provide leadership

first_imgSenior Trevon Hughes will lead the Badger backcourt along with fellow senior Jason Bohannon.[/media-credit]It’s been five years since the Wisconsin Badgers had a pair of seniors starting at guard. This year, seniors Trevon Hughes and Jason Bohannon — both of who were starters last season — are ready to end that drought.When asked about the duo starting together as seniors, head coach Bo Ryan recalled the last time he had a pair of senior guards as starters.“You can never look in a crystal ball and say this is how a couple senior guards will play,” Ryan said. “(But), you know, I thought Sharif Chambliss and Clayton Hanson did a pretty good job together, with help obviously from the bench with [Kammron Taylor].”Like Chambliss and Hanson, Hughes and Bohannon will get plenty of help from a deep Wisconsin bench. The Badgers have three guards — Tim Jarmusz, Jordan Taylor and Rob Wilson — that will see plenty of time this year.The difference between the Chambliss-Hanson backcourt and that of Hughes and Bohannon is that the latter are the only seniors on the 2009-10 squad, while Chambliss and Hanson had a strong supporting cast of seniors, including forwards Zach Morley and Mike Wilkinson.Hughes and Bohannon are the oldest players on a young Wisconsin team, and as such, they have embraced the leadership role that is expected of them.“[We] have as much experience as anyone on the team right now, and we’ve kind of learned the ins and the outs through the years,” Bohannon said. “We’re trying to pass that along to the younger guys and get them ready for competition.”As the only seniors for Wisconsin this season, Hughes and Bohannon have a large task ahead of them: leading a Badger team that has to find a way to replace forwards Marcus Landry and Joe Krabbenhoft, who constituted roughly 40 percent of the team’s scoring and rebounding last year.Bohannon, though, is not particularly worried about the losses.“We lost two important pieces last year with Joe and Marcus, but I feel like we’ve had guys that played in the big games,” Bohannon said. “They’ve all had the experience in those crucial moments through the year, (and) I think that’ll pay off for us.”Certainly, Hughes and Bohannon will be expected to pick up some of the slack with the departure of Landry and Krabbenhoft but they were already the team’s second- and third-leading scorers, respectively, during the 2008-09 campaign.The real key for the senior duo will be making up for the leadership lost without Landry and Krabbenhoft.Being senior leaders presents an interesting challenge for both guards, who typically are not the most vocal players on the team. As the team’s only seniors, though, they know they must speak up more frequently this season with the younger players looking up to them.“We haven’t spoken about it, but we realize that that’s our role, this year especially,” Hughes said.Whether or not they become more vocal throughout the season, Hughes and Bohannon know they can lead by example. They each already have shown an ability to score, as well as play strong defense, though Hughes is better in the latter category.Still, Hughes and Bohannon each said they have tried to become leaders that are more vocal when the time is right.In particular, Hughes, a Queens, N.Y., native, has drawn on his experience at St. John’s Northwestern Military Academy.“I can (be vocal). I went to a military school and they teach you to be vocal. So, that helps out a little bit,” Hughes said. “If we could do it, I’d try to have them march. It builds character.”But it is not as if Hughes has not already been in a leadership position with the Badgers.“I’ve been trying to take that role since I was handed the keys to being the point guard of the team,” Hughes said. “That’s the kind of territory you get when you’re a point guard of a team.”Hughes showed his ability to take over the game in the first round of last season’s NCAA Tournament against Florida State, winning the game with an acrobatic layup over the outstretched arms of several Seminoles with two seconds remaining in overtime.And according to Ryan, the two have already made a difference with what they did working with their teammates, young and old alike.“Their leadership has already shown in the conditioning,” he said.For him, though, having the two seniors avoid injury throughout the 2009-10 season is just as important as their leadership. He cited the NCAA Tournament loss to Davidson in 2008 as an example, as the Badgers struggled in the second half with Hughes sidelined.“I think they’re ready right now, but it’s a long season and you don’t know what can happen,” Ryan said. “It’s one of those things where if you have them and … if the two of them can stay healthy, having two seniors, that’s pretty good stuff.”Beyond just stepping into a role that is expected of them, there exists some personal motivation for Hughes and Bohannon to do all they can as senior leaders at Wisconsin.In particular, the two do not want to snap the Badgers’ streak of 10 consecutive NCAA Tournament appearances.“Everybody keeps saying it, but we don’t want to leave here as the team that dropped the ball, the two seniors that didn’t make it to the NCAA Tournament,” Hughes said.Bohannon has a more specific goal for his final season.“We’ve got to make this the best last go-round we can,” Bohannon said. “There couldn’t be a better way to go out than winning a Big Ten Championship.”last_img read more

Ruthless Nadal Beats Raonic to Hit Semis

first_imgRafael Nadal reached his first Grand Slam semi-final since 2014 with a superb 6-4 7-6 (9-7) 6-4 victory over Canada’s third seed Milos Raonic.The 14-time Grand Slam winner, who has been troubled by injuries in recent years, saved six set points in the second set before dominating the third.Nadal, the 2009 champion, faces 15th seed Grigor Dimitrov tomorrow after the Bulgarian beat David Goffin. The Spaniard, 30, remains on course to meet Roger Federer in Sunday’s final.Federer, 35, will play his fellow Swiss Stan Wawrinka in the first semi-final today.Nadal is attempting to become the first man in the Open era – and only the third man in history after Roy Emerson and Rod Laver – to win each of the four Grand Slam titles twice.The ninth seed’s victory means six of the eight players in the men’s and women’s semi-finals are over 30.Nadal lost here in the first round to Fernando Verdasco 12 months ago and admitted to wondering if he may never again challenge for major honours.“I think I am not a very arrogant person so I always have doubts,” he said.“Even when I was winning I had doubts and even more so when I had injuries. But doubts make you work harder.“I have had a great career but I had some tough moments so that makes me enjoy moments like this even more.”Nadal last reached a Grand Slam semi-final when he won the French Open – his last major title – three years ago.A wrist injury in 2016 raised serious concerns about his future but he looked close to his very best against Raonic.He broke the big-serving Canadian once in the first set to take the lead but Raonic, who was the highest seed left in the men’s draw, looked like he would level the match in the second.Raonic needed a medical timeout midway through the set for an abductor problem, but seemed to come back stronger and had three set points on Nadal’s serve at 5-4.Nadal saved them all, then saved two more in the tie-break before Raonic double-faulted on the sixth set point, and the former world number one took the set with his first chance.Nadal took advantage of Raonic’s lack of mobility in the third set to wrap up an impressive victory, his 50th since making his debut in the tournament in 2004, with a hold to love.His win came after two hours and 44 minutes on court and he celebrated with a huge leap before falling to his knees as emotion took over.Nadal was reluctant to talk about a possible dream final against Federer.“Let me enjoy today, the victory, and being in the semi-final,” he said. “For me, it is great news. It is a good start of the season and now I have a very tough match against Dimitrov.”Federer, who won the last of 17 Grand Slam titles at Wimbledon in 2012, has only just recovered from a knee injury that kept him out for six months.“It is great for tennis that Roger is there again after an injury, after a lot of people talk about that probably he will never be back,” Nadal added.“The real thing is that he’s back and he’s probably ready to win again, fighting again to win a major. And that’s good for the fans because Roger is a legend of our sport.”Dimitrov, who works with Dani Vallverdu, former coach of Andy Murray and Tomas Berdych, had earlier beaten 11th seed Goffin 6-3 6-2 6-4.The 25-year-old began the year with a title in Brisbane and has now won 10 matches in a row.“The last two years have been a rollercoaster for me, but I’m happy with the way it happened,” said Dimitrov.“I’m appreciating things much better now. To be back in the semi-finals of a Slam means too much for me right now.”He will be appearing in his second major semi-final, having made it to the same stage at Wimbledon in 2014.Share this:FacebookRedditTwitterPrintPinterestEmailWhatsAppSkypeLinkedInTumblrPocketTelegramlast_img read more