Flowers ready to play

Freshman guard content with decision to avoid redshirt year

University of Wisconsin freshman guard Michael Flowers faced two options prior to the start of the 2004-05 men's basketball season. He could take a year to learn the Badgers' system via redshirting or he could jump right into competing for a spot in the still questionable point guard rotation.

After participating in Wisconsin's 81-42 exhibition victory over UW-Parkside last week, it was evident that Flowers chose the latter of the two options. According to NCAA rules, if a freshman participates in any game, including exhibition games that do not count towards the team's record, he then foregoes his chance to redshirt.

This resolution did not come quickly for Flowers. He said that he did not make his final decision until the night before the Parkside game.

"It was my mom's birthday so she took me out for a night on the town and we talked and everything," Flowers said.

Ultimately Flowers came to the conclusion that his mother knew best and took her advice to heart.

"She came at me from a different angle than I was coming at so I think that's what did it," Flowers said. "She said that if I was at practice while redshirting, I wouldn't work as hard because I knew that I won't be out there in the court right away. If I was practicing like I was playing, I was going to get better quicker. That's what it's all about; it's getting better and learning as soon as I can."

After one game, Flowers, like any other freshman, still has a lot to learn. In 14 minutes against Parkside, he went 0-for-3 from the floor and turned the ball over twice. He did manage two assists and one steal, though.

"I didn't do too good but I didn't do too bad, I just fit in really well with the system and that game was just to get the jitters out," Flowers said.

For the team's final exhibition game against UW-Platteville Tuesday, Flowers is hoping to do a little bit more.

"Next game hopefully if I play, I'll be able to be productive out there on the floor," Flowers said. "I want to get more assists…I want to limit [the turnovers] the best I can. I have to get the ball moving around."

Flowers may be depended on a little bit more than expected as the season unfolds. Since there is no timetable on junior guard Boo Wade's return from his indefinite leave of absence, Flowers will provide some depth at the point guard spot. He still has to compete with an experienced player like senior Sharif Chambliss and another young, talented player in sophomore Kammron Taylor, who started against Parkside.

While Flowers and freshman center Greg Stiemsma, are set to play for their freshmen seasons, forward DeAaron Williams is still considering all of his options. Williams did not suit up for the Parkside game and is still tinkering with the thought of redshirting. As a teammate and a fellow freshman who went through the same process, Flowers has offered as much advice as he can to Williams.

"He's been talking to everyone on the team, he's talked to coach and he's talked to me and I was just like just do what you gotta do," Flowers said. "It's what's best for you. The only reason it is hard is because it's the future and no one can predict the future. You just gotta look out for yourself, that's the only advice I could give him."

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