Well Rounded Talent
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Well Rounded Talent

Wisconsin commit Bronson Koenig grabbed the headlines with his game-high 25 points in Saturday's 75-49 win at Madison Edgewood, but what stood out to Koenig and the UW assistants that watched him play was how rounded he's becoming as a player.

MADISON - The way Bronson Koenig saw it, playing two-and-a-half hours from home the afternoon following a low-scoring grudge match wasn't his biggest test on Saturday. The big challenge was to regain composure to take his ACT. As usual, Koenig handled everything in stride.

The four-star point guard and University of Wisconsin commit was his usual balanced self on Saturday, scoring a game-high 25 points, in a little over three quarters of work, in a 75-49 victory over Madison Edgewood.

"I think we definitely have gotten better since the beginning of the season," said Koenig. "Our chemistry has gotten better and we're learning to pressure the ball more, get up the gaps and guard more. The problem is we need to learn how to close teams out when we get a lead on them."

A night after that was an issue in a 39-38 loss to La Crosse Central, Koenig made sure Aquinas – ranked No.3 in Division 3 – took corrective measures. He scored 14 points in the first quarter to build a lead and went on a personal 8-0 run in a 25-2 third quarter that blew the game wide open.

Aquinas (17-4) shot 63 percent from the floor and was 6 of 11 on 3-pointers, three of which were made by Koenig.

"I want to keep being aggressive, keep scoring and keep doing what's best for my team whether it's scoring or spreading the ball around," said Koenig.

Scoring has never been a problem for Koenig. He shot 50 percent from the field and averaged 17 points as a sophomore, earning first-team all-state honors and led his team to the WIAA Division 3 state championship. Despite missing several games during his junior year, Koenig still averaged 18 points, 4.0 rebounds and 3.5 assists per game.

Although averaging just over 15 points per game this season, Koenig has worked on being a more aggressive on-the-ball defender, something he showcased with tight, physical defense despite having three fouls early in the third quarter.

"He has an impact on the game in so many ways," said associate head coach Greg Gard, who watched Koenig with assistant coach Lamont Paris. "The one thing that gets overlooked a lot is he has the potential to be a terrific defender. He can really have an impact."

Added Koenig: "I want to do what's best for the team. I take (defense) on as a challenge."

The challenge for Koenig started following a junior season he missed most of because of a wrist injury and after losing 20 pounds following the removal of his tonsils. Building strength in the weight room and shaking the rust off during the AAU season, Koenig feels he's heading in a direction where he can play quicker, above the rim and be more athletic, especially when he gets to Wisconsin and in a full-time lifting program.

"I need to work on being a leader, especially if I want to be a leader at Wisconsin," said Koenig. "I have to be positive when it's necessary and I've got to get on guys to start playing hard and playing with a passion."

Gard says Koenig plays the point guard position like someone ‘who has the ball on a yo-yo,' citing his ability to drive the lane and fire a bullet pass to the wide open man.

"His vision to be able to find people is outstanding," said Gard. "He has the ability to take over, but he has the ability to manage a game when he doesn't have to take over. That's the mark of a really good point guard."

Gard and Paris, along with UW head coach Bo Ryan and assistant Gary Close, have watched Koenig countless times over the last four seasons in different parts of the state and country. Even though Koenig has signed his letter of intent and the Badgers were less than two hours removed from an emotional win over No.3 Michigan, there Gard and Paris sat in the stands still in their suits.

"That means a lot after a big win like that just to come watch me play," said Koenig. "I could tell they were pretty fired up after that big win. I kind of wish I didn't have to take the ACTs to be there myself to watch it. It means a lot to me."

Koenig is the highest-ranked commit in Wisconsin's 2013 recruiting class, which includes guards Riley Dearring and Jordan Hill and forwards Vitto Brown and Nigel Hayes. Koenig says the group texts frequently to stay in touch despite each living in four states.

And while the group hasn't spent a lot of time together, they all share the same goal of keeping Wisconsin consistent winners in the Big Ten.

"I am really looking forward to spending time (with them) this summer," said Koenig.