Bo Ryan verbatim

Wisconsin men's basketball coach addressed the media at Devin Harris' press conference Wednesday morning

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Was this your advice to Devin: just check it out, see what happens?

"You know this is Devin's day. Devin asked me to be down here and my comments on any of that is not relevant right now. I'm hanging with him, though. I didn't know he was going to ask me to be up here, I would have worn a red shirt too... There is one thing I will say though, (Devin) mentioned selfish, he is not selfish. That's a feeling he might have of what other people might perceive his inquiring to be. He needs to do that. That is not a problem with anybody anywhere in this athletic department.

"This is something that all you out there would love to have the opportunity to do. In your profession, if you were being courted this way, how would you handle things: moving, decisions, what you are going to do for family. All those things come into the picture here. But he's got another family. He's playing with a family. You know he looks at his teammates every day, he looks at the university, he looks at the work he has to do for his paper tomorrow. And that reminds him that he's still a student-athlete. And he's handled all this with class and anybody that thinks he's an indecisive young man: you just don't know because you've never been there. You give him that leeway to understand that he's going to make a decision that's best for him. And that's what this time will allow. There still are questions that he has. And that's the best way I could tell you how we've handled it. And there isn't going to be any obsessive behavior here on our parts to try to do anything with Devin other than intelligent decisions.

"I told him, ‘you know, you've got to be better than the CIA. You have to make real smart, intelligent decisions based on the information that you get. Because we see what happens sometimes when there's bad intelligence reports. Devin's trying to put together the best intelligence report right now he can put together. And I admire him for that."

Devin did mention the approach that you took Why did you decide to go that route? Just talk a little bit more about the approach you decided to take with him.

"Well because he's a young man faced with a decision that is so rare in our society for that age and experience level that for me to try to be overbearing one way or another just doesn't work. Because in the long run he's the one that lives it. That's the most important thing.... He's an intelligent young man that will definitely do the right thing."

Coach, how hard is it for a coach in your position to give advice in a situation like this? Are you're hands kind of tied sometimes?

"I'm not a 35-year-old guy trying to beat the world and do everything and be selfish about it. I've said that before, I'm glad I'm 56 and helping Devin with this decision because at 40 I might have been doing some other things behind the scenes. I'm not saying being young makes you any more aggressive, less aggressive. But I've seen a lot of things happen to a lot of people in my lifetime. There are some things I've relayed to him (Devin) both ways and that's just a position that Devin appreciates me being in. When you're dealing with a young man everyday, every possession on the floor and look at how many days we've spent together in the last three years, I think we know each other pretty well. And I think we've been very fair with one another."

Can you assess your team with Devin or without?

"The only comment I can make as far as that is concerned is they're in the weight room, they're lifting, they're doing the individual workouts. They are student athletes getting ready for finals and working hard and Devin's been right there with them. So that doesn't change. The closest we're going to come to a lottery is going down to the convenience store and buying a few tickets. He's got a little different outlook on that word. The team will be fine. They're a great bunch. The banquet last night was a lot of fun. The guy at the end didn't talk too long, they really appreciated that...The players appreciate the way this has gone 'cause Devin hasn't tried to big time anybody around here on the team or anything else. That hasn't happened."

Bo, I think everybody realizes this is an occupational hazard of having a very good player like Devin. Other coaches go through it. But does it work a hardship for your program at all because of the uncertainty? Just the whole timetable of how long this takes.

"Any coach that whines about that I think they're wrong. When Devin walked on campus—(if I had said) 'OK, this side of the room anybody that thinks he has a chance of going to the NBA after his junior year sit over here. Anybody that doesn't sit over here'—Now where do you think most people would have been sitting? ....Where would the people be sitting? Now, he worked, he listened, he observed. His notebook is filled with a lot of things from video sessions and his own feelings on the court: what happened, what didn't happen. He has worked extremely hard to be in this position and part of our society says that this can happen. This is allowed to happen. And when it does have a chance to happen, any animosity or anything by a coach, the fans, the school—that's wrong. That's wrong. Coaches leave. Coaches leave and go to other programs. And if a player leaves for personal gain—being an economics major the books I read talked about people doing things to get better and to make a life that's better—for not just themselves but those around them. So for me to say as a coach an occupational hazard is a term you used. But I wouldn't say that. I would say whatever number of years we have with young men like this—make the best of it."

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