Versatile Krabbenhoft proves valuable

With a preseason ranking of as high as third, the Wisconsin Badgers Men's Basketball team has a target on their back. Sophomore Joe Krabbenhoft is ready for the challenge.

When Joe Krabbenhoft arrived on campus last summer, he knew he would have to battle for playing time. The situation appeared to get even tougher once he broke his foot and was out for most of the off season workouts.

Despite the obstacles, the true freshman was not worried. After all Krabbenhoft had come to Madison as a highly touted recruit. He had just wrapped up his senior year of high school averaging 18 points and 12 rebounds a game and garnering the prestigious Gatorade state player of the year for his native South Dakota. He knew if he worked hard things would work out.

When the news came out that Marcus Laundry (academically ineligible) and Greg Steisma (depression) would be out for the season, it was Krabbenhoft's time to step up. Even though he was listed as a guard, the 6'7 Krabbenhoft filled in at power forward and the Badgers did not miss a beat. He went on to average 5.1 rebounds in 16.3 minutes a game and recorded his first double-double with 10 points and 10 rebounds vs. Minnesota. Those numbers were good enough to be named to the Big Ten's all Freshman team.

Clearly, Krabbenhoft found his niche with the Badgers but with the return of both Laundry and Steisma, he may be playing a different role in the 2006-07 season.

"Last year I had to bang inside, foul a guy once or twice." Krabbenhoft said. But this year things may be different, I will be playing more with the smalls."

Although Krabbenhoft had a very successful freshman campaign it was clear that he needed to improve his outside game in order to play the guard position. After being sidelined due to injury last off season, being healthy this summer was key as he worked hard on improving his shooting.

"This summer I worked on every part of my game but specifically my shot. I'll never be done working but I feel like I have improved." Krabbenhoft continued.

Krabbenhoft may be a work in progress at guard but he has proven to the Badger coaching staff they he can play any position on the floor. With Bo Ryan's swing offense, which features several interchangeable parts, a player like Krabbenhoft will prove valuable. Regardless of position Krabbenhoft is ready to contribute.

"As far as position things might be a little bit different," Krabbenhoft said. "What I am trying to accomplish out there, will never change, go out there and play hard and do what I need to do to help the team win."

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