"Absolutely. The best part of it is, or the toughest part of it, I don't get to use the term Badger State Games because that's already taken, as I mentioned before. But, yeah, we play the other three Division I schools and look forward to it every year, starting off with Green Bay, down to Marquette, and then back here with UWM. It's good."
Bo, with playing Green Bay first and then Marquette later in the week, I guess does it at all help that, you know, obviously Coach (Tod) Kowalczyk has the market ties, are there any similarities maybe in preparing for Green Bay that may help you as you prepare for Marquette later on in the week?
"Not really. There's some similarities, as with every team. But Tod was also at Rutgers, and, as a matter of fact, the AD had come up to me, we were at Rutgers, and he was an assistant there and then came here, came back to the Midwest. I think every coach develops their own personality with their team and based on the personnel and all that. So we take them separately, and that's the way we'll deal with them."
And then also, a couple times we've already talked about the defense of your point guards. Just from the start of the year to now, can you just talk a little bit about where you think they've gotten better defensively and how they're getting the job done?
"Well, they're doing it the same way that you teach junior high defenders to play on the perimeter. It doesn't change. I mean, the footwork, the stance, the chase, you know, what your positioning is, that never changes, no matter who the players are or what number it is out there. And just each day in practice they're trying to get better. And if they're not then, you know, we're not going to be as successful. So as long as they keep working at it, they're just doing, they're not doing anything different than anybody else does defensively. The job that was done on Gilchrist was done by three different guys, so each guy trying to help one another, plus the bigs helped when the guards penetrated. We've never tried to make defense a one-on-one thing as far as how we treat it publicly, because we all know that you don't get a job done on a particular player unless there's help."
Bo, sorry if I'm asking questions that have been asked before, but about Sharif Chambliss, does it seem like something either switched in him that, you know, ‘I can do this, I'm back, I feel healthy enough to really contribute,' or was that just a progression that was natural to him?
"Well, he hasn't played a whole lot at point guard, but, you know, what he's doing is he's transporting the ball, he's hitting open shots, he's defending, he's a leader. Those are all things that, you know, if you have those traits, okay, use them. When that light goes on and how it fits and everything else, you know, just is a timing thing that you can't put on your, you know, when you put the numbers in on your microwave to heat your tea or coffee, you can put the numbers in. As a coach you can't say, okay, by this game Sharif's going to be ready and then push start.
"But he's doing some nice things, and we're, we definitely have been able to rally around that. He's done a good job in being a leader and getting the other guys to respond. And the other thing is, you know, he's, for those that maybe aren't aware, there was a young man who was hurrying in his chores on Tuesday of last week to see the Badger game and he gets caught in a piece of farm machinery and tears his legs up. And Sharif found out about it, got information about it, and got a basketball and got it signed and took it over to the hospital Wednesday. He's just that kind of kid. He's pretty special. Plus he got some of the other guys, and I don't know that much about how the young man is coming along, but we should be finding out something this week. But that's Sharif Chambliss. Find me somebody that doesn't like Sharif. You've got to love him."
With the Green Bay game, where do you see them challenging you? Can you talk a little bit about their strengths and maybe what worries you the most about them?
"Well, I mean, they're well-coached. They play hard. They've got good shooters. And they're playing Wisconsin. It's like schools in Michigan that get to play Michigan, schools in Ohio that get to play Ohio State. If enough of those schools played all the other Division I schools in your state, you'd find out there's not that big a difference. You know, that thing about major, mid-major, I talk about it every year so this is nothing different. But Green Bay feels they can come in there and get us, and that's the way you get your team ready when you're Green Bay. And as Wisconsin, we're getting ready to play the game of basketball knowing that the team that's going to play us is going to play their best. That's all. And that's what you get ready for."
And then one other thing. Have you seen much difference in them since Javier, I don't want to butcher the pronunciation of his last name, but the guy who played with Zach (Morley) at Indian Hills (Community College), have you seen much difference in them since he's returned?
"Well, again, we don't do scouting reports, so we just get ready for them as a team, take care of the parts with certain tendencies that we see, but we don't discuss the tendencies. So there's your answer. Couldn't tell you."