Wisconsin's newcomers took the floor against for the first time Saturday night when the Badgers kicked off the exhibition season against the EA Sports All-Stars. Though the focus has primarily been on big man Bryan Butch, it was freshman guard Kammron Taylor who made his mark on the game.
The man from Minnesota got the call Saturday night and responded well. During his 18 minutes of playing time, Taylor racked up 16 points, went four-for-six from behind the arc, and co-led the team with three steals.
Taylor got his initial call midway through the first half when he went into the backcourt for junior guard Clayton Hanson. He was unable to connect on his opening three-pointer, but he made up for that with his hustle on defense, speed and another attempt beyond the arc that had better results.
"The two new guys really gave us a boost," Ryan said. "They didn't look like they were on the floor for the first time in their life. They needed to relax out there, and just play. Once they did they were contributors."
The second half was all about Taylor as he hit three more from downtown, sunk a jumper, and found an open Andreas Helmigk for his first assist. During most of his time in the second, Taylor was controlling the offense and bringing the ball up.
"He did a great job today," junior guard Devin Harris said. "He looked comfortable out there when I was out of the game and he was playing the ‘one.' With more experience he gets the more comfortable he's going to get."
The third newcomer, highly-touted freshman Brian Butch, could be found in an unusual spot—sitting on the end of the bench in street clothes. The McDonald's All-American has been a hot topic lately as there is question of him possibly red-shirting this season.
"He's still in the process of trying to make a decision," Ryan said. "If people would just leave him alone and let him make a decision as a young man about whether or not he's going to participate this year, I think everybody's going to be a heck of a lot better off. It's his decision to make and I just want him to do it at his own pace."
Under NCAA rules, Butch could not play in the exhibition and redshirt.