Zach Bohannon, the younger brother of Jason Bohannon, is clear in his message to his new fan base: forget what you may remember.
"Fans are going to have to get rid of the idea of Bohannon being a small guard," said Bohannon, who is two-and-a-half years younger that Jason. "I am more of a Jon Leuer-type, an inside-outside player playing at the four position. I'll be more of a shooting Joe Krabbenhoft, only playing with less intensity because nobody can match him."
After the Badgers saw walk-ons Wquinton Smith and Brett Valentyn graduate following last season, Wisconsin got a significant boost when Orono (MN) guard Jordan Smith told Badger Nation he was walking on at Wisconsin. Now, the 6-foot-8, 200-pound Bohannon is joining the fold, picking the Badgers over a walk-on opportunity at Northwestern.
Bohannon, who will have two years of eligibility remaining after sitting out this upcoming season because of NCAA Transfer rules, was the conference player of the year his senior year after he helped lead Linn-Marr to a 24-3 record and state runner-up in his senior year. Linn-Marr was state champion when he was a sophomore.
Still, Bohannon didn't have many offers, and none from the Midwest, when he committed to the Air Force Academy in September 2008, which signified to him that he probably wasn't going to have many options this time around either.
Bohannon missed the first 10 games of the season after undergoing thumb surgery, but still averaged 4.3 points. He scored in double figures three times last season, including a game against Utah where he registered 12 points, eight rebounds and five assists.
Even though Bohannon would have been a likely contributor, perhaps starter for the Falcons this fall, Bohannon requested his release just over three weeks ago.
"I had been weighting the pros and cons really throughout my time here, thinking that my basketball experience and my academic degree I would receive would out weight all the other (things) that we have to go through here," Bohannon said. "Even though the five year (military) commitment isn't that bad, it wasn't something that I necessary wanted to do and I wasn't as passionate about it as other things."
Those other things was coaching, something Bohannon wanted to get into following college and something his five year military career would delay for him. Citing the need to get as much experience as he could as soon as he could to rise in the coaching ranks, Bohannon sent his release to approximately 25 schools where he thought he could play at and, just as important, learn the coaching craft at.
It was fitting that Wisconsin, one of those schools on Bohannon's list, was the first institution to call him and offer him an opportunity to walk on, as assistant coach Gary Close made the initial phone call and the rest of the coaching staff followed up with him after that.
"I wanted to go to a program where I still had a shot of playing because I didn't want to sit on the bench for two years, but I wanted to play under a coach that I can learn from," Bohannon said. "Bo Ryan is fair to all of his players and I just wanted the opportunity. I didn't want any promises. I just wanted a shot to compete for some time (and) he has assistants that are coaching in college basketball right now. I just wanted to learn from a coach that knows the game and will probably be a Hall of Famer.
"It was one of those offers that I really couldn't turn down. I like what they had to offer me, they told me that I would develop as a player and Wisconsin has the business school that I wanted. One of the reasons I came to the Academy was the academics were so strong. At Wisconsin, it really wasn't that much difference, so it was one of those things that I wanted to do."
With his family having an understandable comfort level with the Wisconsin program, the decision, although entirely Zach's own, was more than acceptable to the Bohannon family.
"The one thing we decided on was playing in the Midwest, but it was really my decision after that and my whole family, Jason included, said they would support me on whatever decision I made," Bohannon said. "At the end of the day, I picked Wisconsin, and they were all thrilled and felt I made the right decision."
Will all the credits he is bringing with him, Bohannon believes he'll be able to graduate from the business school within two years and start his MBA degree, another lofty dream goal of his and something to fall back on should coaching not pan out.
While he'll beginning learning the coaching nuisances under Ryan this year, Bohannon will have to wait one more year to accomplish the other goal on his list.
"I am excited because my ultimate dream is going into coaching and playing in the NCAA Tournament," Bohannon said. "If there is one thing that is consistent, it's Bo Ryan getting into the NCAA Tournament in March."