Happy in Wisconsin

Chambliss stars on scout team as he waits for opportunity to play for the Badgers

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Maybe you can go home again.


A star at Racine St. Catherine's High School, Sharif Chambliss drew the attention of a number of college programs, including Indiana, UW-Green Bay and Mississippi State. Chambliss was interested in Wisconsin but the home-state Badgers did not return the affection and he ended up taking a scholarship at Penn State.


Chambliss thrived in State College, Pa., leading the Nittany Lions in scoring in his sophomore (14.6 points per game) and junior (14.7) seasons. His 3.54 3-point field goals made per contest his sophomore year and 3.18 per game last season led the Big Ten and he also led the conference in free throw percentage each season at 89.1 and 90.1, respectively.


The 6-foot-1 guard, though, was not entirely happy. Once his release papers came in the day after the 2002-03 season ended, he set his sights on transferring to Wisconsin.


"I was going to go out there and give it my all," Chambliss said of his last season with the Nittany Lions. "So I left everything out there on the court at Penn State and I'm here at Wisconsin now and I'm loving it."


As a transfer, Chambliss was forced to sit out this season; since he moved from one Big Ten institution to another, he cannot go on scholarship during his stay at Wisconsin.


But that does not mean he is not part of the team this year. The Badgers' scout team has been a large part of its success, constantly pushing the team's top eight to the brink in intrasquad scrimmages and drills, just as Chambliss pushed many of his current teammates when they competed against each other the last two seasons.


"He was a pain in the you know what," senior guard Freddie Owens said. "Shaking off all kinds of screens and he has a quick release."


Owens, junior guards Devin Harris and Clayton Hanson and sophomore guard Boo Wade have seen the most of Chambliss in practice this year.


"I hope that I'm helping them as much as they're helping me on my game," Chambliss said. "If we continue to do that that will just help the team increase in (its) confidence."


"He does a great job of pretending to be whoever we are going up against," Owens said. "You've got to defend him because he can shoot it."


Chambliss has been through the scout team routine before. As a freshman at Penn State he played just 4.3 minutes per game and contributed almost exclusively on the scout team.


"It's definitely a humbling experience to go back and you got to work hard, you got to work hard every day because you're obviously being evaluated every day if you're on the scout team," he said. "I just try to go out there and give it my all everyday of practice as with all of the guys on the scout team."


Each practice Chambliss continues to work, hustling up and down the court, getting open to display his shooting touch and always flashing a smile.


"I'm having fun doing it, but not as much fun as I would be playing," he said "We just go out there and try to give as much as intensity as we can. That is the word we use on the scout team. You just have to give all your energy—that's our team, that's our game day everyday."


When the starters and top reserves take to the floor on Wisconsin's actual game day, Chambliss turns cheerleader, putting forth the same energy he does in practice into keeping his teammates on the bench involved in the action. But he acknowledges that "every second, every day," he is dreaming of what it will be like to get on the floor to finally play with the Badgers.


"First of all, running out of that tunnel, hearing those fans behind me, going out there with my team and being able to help contribute to a win," Chambliss said.


"It has been an exhilarating experience just to come back and just feel all the fans when you come out and not even playing yet," he said. "I'm just so anxious to get out there on the court. I just can't wait till next year."

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