Men's basketball notes: Butch making strides

Sidelined with mono, redshirt freshman beginning to work his way back towards the practice floor

MADISON – Brian Butch has not practice with this University of Wisconsin men's basketball teammates since he was diagnosed with mononucleosis Feb. 9. However, the 6-foot-11 redshirt freshman forward recently returned to the team in a limited capacity, spending time riding a stationary bike during practice sessions.

During Monday evening's practice, Butch spent some time on the stationary bike and took part in a free throw shooting drill with the Badgers.

"He did some of that last week too," UW head coach Bo Ryan said. "It's like a build up that they go through."

The Badgers have not determined whether Butch will travel with the team this week. Wisconsin plays at Michigan State Thursday evening and at Ohio State Sunday afternoon.

"Well, he's not practicing yet," Ryan said. "He's maybe doing some bike riding and then they evaluate him from there. But he won't be on the practice floor."

Butch, who has missed the Badgers' last three games, is averaging 4.9 points and 3.4 rebounds in 11.9 minutes per game.

"He's looking healthier every day," sophomore guard Kammron Taylor said. "Can't wait to get him back out there."

Wilkinson oblivious to honor

Until reporters mentioned it to him after practice Monday, UW senior forward Mike Wilkinson had no idea he was named to the National Association of Basketball Coaches' first-team All-District 11 squad.

"As long as we win games, that's all that matters to me," Wilkinson said.

Wilkinson, a second-team all-district selection last year, joined Illinois guards Dee Brown, Deron Williams and Luther Head and Minnesota guard/forward Vincent Grier on the District 11 first team.

Wilkinson is averaging 14.2 points and 7.3 rebounds per game.

In addition to the quintet on the District 11 first team, three Big Ten players made first-team all-District 10: Indiana guard Bracey Wright, Ohio State forward Terence Dials and Purdue forward Carl Landry.

UW sophomore forward Alando Tucker, who averages 14.7 points and 6.9 rebounds per game, was joined on the District 11 second team by Michigan State center Paul Davis; Iowa guard Jeff Horner made the District 12 second team.

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