Andreas Helmigk is a few weeks removed from his 23rd birthday, but is thrilled to be playing his first collegiate game this evening against Eastern Washington. It's been a long road for the Austria native that sat out last season with a knee injury.
"It was awesome just to play in the exhibition games. It was very exciting," Helmigk said. "With all the fans here, it's like having a sixth guy on the floor. It wasn't packed, but it was a lot of people to me. Definitely a difference from Austria."
Helmigk said this weekend's tournament is more about Wisconsin playing its own game and ironing out the early kinks rather than focusing too much on the opponent. The Badgers didn't even look at tape of Eastern Washington until Thursday, and won't know Saturday's opponent until late Friday night.
"I don't really care who's coming in. I'm just focused on our own team and what we're supposed to do, and I hope we're going to beat them," Helmigk said. "We still are having problems on some basic stuff, but we're getting better each week. We're working on turnovers, and some of the small things, post feeding, where to (get open) for passes. I'm trying not to make so many mistakes. Just don't lose the ball. It's coming slowly, but I'm ready to play."
While Helmigk could practically babysit some of the other members of the Badger freshman class, he is proud to be a part of a young nucleus that has a bright future.
"This team is a lot more athletic than it was last year," Helmigk said. "I think Ray (Nixon) has made the most improvement in the last couple of weeks. He's playing very good defense, and he's shown a lot of stuff in practice."
Helmigk will come off the bench early in Friday night's game to spell Dave Mader and Mike Wilkinson.
"I still have a lot of stuff to learn, but I'm not nervous," Helmigk said. "I'm ready to play."
Helmigk Thrilled for UW Debut
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