"It came up in conversation maybe once about every two years, just thinking about the possibility. But at that time, I believe, I can't remember the year it changed, it was only one exhibition game that schools were allowed to do. And then when it was two it started coming up about playing schools rather than international teams or AAU-type teams. So, I tell you, I was too busy getting ready for Loras and Eau Claire and those people. I really didn't think about it that much, but every once in awhile it did come up in conversation just for the fact that it was within the state. And we would have crawled to play."
Bo, you've got one more practice today before the preseason officially ends. Just can you talk about what you think you've accomplished so far, where you think you've gotten better as a team?
"Well, sometimes when you think you're taking a step forward it's maybe not quite as big a step. I mean, we've made some progress, but until we play these other schools, just the three pages of notes that I was able to get from the edited clips for the Parkside game as opposed to last year playing one of the AAU teams who was only one page of edited clips. What was nice about the Parkside game was getting three pages, meaning how we handled certain screens, staggereds, transition, some things that we did or didn't do well. So I really liked last Wednesday's game from that standpoint, and I'm sure we'll get a lot from the Platteville game too.
"And then you've got Penn coming in here, who's playing in the Preseason NIT. They could have three games under their belt before they play us, but at least they will have game experience, so we'll be playing a team that's already been through the regular season by the time they get here. I don't know how much to measure, how much, I can't, there's no gauge. But I like some of the things that we're doing at times. At other times it just shows how much further we need to go and what we've got to do to be able to compete in the Big Ten."
It sounds like that a lot of people from Platteville would be coming up for the game and are excited, anticipating this game. For you, how much anticipation, excitement is there? Do you anticipate it being just emotional, looking out as the teams are warming up and seeing your Badger team against your old team from Platteville?
"You know what? Inside that'll be pretty exciting. It can't take away from the preparation or what we do with our players to get them ready, because on their timeline right now, the players that are here at Wisconsin, what I did at Platteville, it doesn't matter, and I understand that. And it shouldn't. I mean, it's not that, to them they know what they're preparing for. They have something in their mind as their goals that they want to do.
"So for me internally, yeah, there'll be some fuzzies, warm and fuzzies going on, but then the ball's tipped up, you know, it's time to go. It was like going to college and then coming back and playing at the playground that you grew up on. It was kind of neat going there and playing against some of the younger guys, and it was kind of neat going, boy, I remember when I was like that guy a real long time ago, like two years ago. You remember, as you get older the time thing expands a little bit. When you're younger a year is an eternity. So for me it'll be exciting.
"It'll be really neat to see the city of Platteville here. They've hired the Potosi, Dickeyville, Cuba City, and Shullsburg police forces to monitor Platteville tomorrow night, by the way. (laughing) That was a message I received from my old neighbor. I think when the political campaign was going on in Des Moines, weren't both candidates there and some guy decided to rob the bank? And he still got caught. But Platteville will be here. They'll be here in numbers. You'll see quite a few of them. And that'll be exciting too. And, yeah, I am excited about it, and, yeah, I'll feel inside some things that you don't normally feel maybe for a game. But that'll quickly pass once we start competing.
Some of your big guys, young big guys, [Greg Stiemsma] and [Jason Chappell] and [Brian Butch], have done well in practice, but they've been slowed a little bit too. How has their development been affected, would you say?
"Well, by not practicing you don't get a chance to see them, so they have not practiced the past couple days, don't know about today's practice for sure yet. They might not be practicing today. They might not be playing tomorrow. I don't know. Sometimes it's just there are things that go on from maybe past injuries or, so we just, it'll be like any other year. You just go with what you have.
"They're coming along. I know they're making progress. But we haven't seen them for the past couple days, except riding on a bike. Picture two 6-11, 7-footers on side-by-side bikes over there on the sidelines, that's, you know, if what's-his-name, Lance [Armstrong], Lance might have been happy to see them over there, but I certainly wasn't when they were on the bikes."
Bo, it appears you have more depth this year than you've had since you got here. How does that allow you, what kind of things does that allow you to do with this team, either in competition for positions or actual on-the-floor stuff?
"Well, like I said, when they're on there it's really fun. When they're not then, we had a couple managers jump in yesterday. You know, because of the gender-equity issue, you get 15 guys you get to put on your, we didn't have enough guys to practice. Coach (Rob) Jeter came out of mothballs again. We just can't go out on campus and go bring bodies on and practice. Yesterday's practice was a real struggle. We need to get more walk-ons. We have to get our number up from 15, and we'll try to do that by going through the proper channels, because when you have things like this happen, you've got to be able to practice.
"And I'm certainly too old to get out there to get anything done, so they couldn't use me. Coach (Gary) Close mentioned shingles for him, so he got out of it. Coach (Greg) Gard held onto his thigh and said, 'I can't go.' So we put two managers in there and were able to at least get some things done in five-on-five on a half-court level. So if we had them we could look to press more, and the competition stays high for positions, you have all that. But the past couple days, I haven't been able to see that because they weren't there. We just didn't have the numbers."