The Badger Herald’s top five moments of the semester

first_imgIn a semester that saw heartbreaking losses and long-time coaches having their time at Wisconsin come to an end, there were still plenty of high points over the course of the last five months for UW athletics.Here are The Badger Herald’s top five moments of the semester:Bronson Koenig sinks fadeaway three to upset XavierMarissa Haegele/The Badger HeraldBronson Koenig’s last-second three pointer to lift the No. 7 Badgers over No. 2 Xavier and into the Sweet 16 was one of the more memorable moments in Wisconsin basketball history.While Ben Brust’s three over Michigan and last year’s victory over Kentucky are definitely at the top of the list, this historic moment is not out of contention. For anyone who actually watched the final five minutes and 40 seconds of the game without having a heart attack, the shot probably pushed them over the edge. The Badgers trailed by eight points with a little less than six minutes remaining, and Koenig’s pair of threes with less then a minute left capped off the unbelievable run.NCAA.com ranked it as one the top five most memorable moments from this year’s tournament and CBS’s special “One Shining Moment” montage headlined it as one of the best finishes all year.The Internet reacts to Badgers win over XavierSWEET, SWEET VICTORY. We’re headed back to the Sweet Sixteen. Because THIS happened: You wanna see that again? I do. Let’s get Read…Gard gets interim tag removedMarissa Haegele/The Badger HeraldThis headline was met with a sigh of relief for almost every Badger around the country. The announcement made on March 7 that Greg Gard would have his interim coaching tag removed and become the official head coach was more than well deserved.After long-time and legendary coach Bo Ryan retired following Wisconsin’s home win over Texas A&M Corpus Christi in December, Gard was quickly thrown into a difficult situation. The 23-year assistant of Ryan had mixed expectations coming in and initially stumbled out to a 1-4 start in the Big Ten and a 9-9 overall record after a depressing loss at Northwestern. But a commitment to the steady “swing” offense instilled from Ryan into Gard turned the tide for the Badgers and led them into fourth place in the Big Ten with huge wins over No. 4 Michigan State, Indiana, No. 2 Maryland and No. 7 Iowa.The inspired tournament run by Gard and the Badgers helped Wisconsin reach the Sweet 16 for the third straight year and do what Ryan was rarely able to do: pull off upsets in the early rounds. The removal of Gard’s tag entering the tournament was the final vote of confidence needed to give the aspiring coach complete support from the entire Badger fan base.Stand Gard: Badgers have found their leaderGreg Gard has been named head coach of University of Wisconsin men’s basketball team.  No more interim label, no more audition Read…Women’s hockey returns to the Frozen FourElliot Moormann/The Badger HeraldWhile a second-straight Frozen Four for the Wisconsin women’s hockey team was a testament to yet another dominant season, the Badger faithful were expecting a different headline at the end of this year: a national championship.Head coach Mark Johnson and junior goaltender Ann-Renée Desbiens helped lead the veteran squad to a WCHA regular-season and tournament titles, but fell short 3-2 to rival Minnesota in the NCAA semifinals. Desbiens set the all-time record for most shutouts in a single season and was a finalist for the Patty Kazmaier Memorial Award, given to the best goaltender in the country.On top of that, the Badgers started the season a resounding 30-2-1 and finished the season a perfect 21-0-0 at home. Despite the accolades and accomplishments this team achieved this season, another trip to the Frozen Four was seen as a step below their eventual goal.That being said, their finish as one of the top four teams in the country is certainly noteworthy and well deserved. With Johnson returning for another year, expect this team to reload and be back in the drivers seat for another Frozen Four come next season.Larson: Badgers’ victory showcased complete team effort, what is needed to reach NCAA finalHad you walked into LaBahn Arena this weekend and not known that it was the NCAA Quarterfinal game, you would’ve Read…Football ends season on high noteWisconsin football’s 23-21 back-and-forth triumph over No. 25 USC in the Holiday Bowl was a fitting and exciting end to an otherwise average season for the Badgers. While it’s tough to say that 10-3 is average, the easy schedule and controversial losses throughout the season left Wisconsin fans wondering what could’ve been as they traveled to San Diego for that final game.Needless to say, Rafael Gaglianone’s 29-yard kick and a dominant late-game performance from linebacker Jack Cichy to give the Badgers their second-straight bowl victory was more than enough to put away any doubts about the year. Head coach Paul Chryst finished out his first year at the helm with an impressive victory over a solid team and the top-ranked scoring defense in the country.This all came despite on and off the field issues with star running back Corey Clement and a limited recruiting season given the time restrictions of his hiring. Despite the departure of defensive coordinator Dave Aranda some time later, this tense win for the Badgers cemented this season as a positive and gave the Badger faithful some promise entering next season.Brazzoni: Victory over USC defines what Wisconsin football meant in 2015Coming into their Holiday Bowl showdown against USC, the Wisconsin football team had played two opponents that would be considered Read…Men’s hockey, women’s basketball turn the tide with new hiresMarissa Haegele/The Badger HeraldThis winter was not a big positive for both men’s hockey and women’s basketball, for a number of reasons. Each team limped to last place in their respective Big Ten conference standings and lost in the first round of their conference tournaments after subpar regular-season records. Almost immediately following the final whistle of the season for either squads, Athletic Director Barry Alvarez decided it was time for a change.March 27, it was announced former Badger legend Tony Granato would be the new men’s hockey head coach and his brother Don Granato and Mark Osiecki would join on as assistants after long-time coach Mike Eaves was fired. The three hires have been widely accepted by the Badger fan base and should be excellent coaches for a particularly young roster, especially considering the NHL and college experience shared between the trio.Only a day following the announcement, it was released that Jonathan Tsipis would be the new women’s basketball coach after five-year coach Bobbie Kelsey was fired. Tsipis was attributed with bringing the George Washington University women’s team back from the brink and is promising for a struggling program in Madison. All in all, exciting hires were made for two teams in dire need of rebirths.Men’s hockey: With Granato comes experience both on, off the iceAfter two consecutive disappointing seasons, Wisconsin men’s hockey seems to be taking a step in the right direction with the expected announcement Read…last_img read more

Kobe Bryant talks LeBron, retirement and trolling Phil Jackson at Lakers All-Access

first_imgRAJON RONDO“Long time. He’s moody, he’s feisty, he’s temperamental – he’s a teammate’s dream. … What you have on teams that have been successful and have won a championship is everybody had a chip. Everybody played with a sense of testiness. Every day in practice was testy. That helped us get better. He certainly has that. … I’m just glad he’s figured out how to shoot 3-pointers now and didn’t figure (it out) when he was in Boston. Because that would’ve been a serious problem.”TYSON CHANDLER“Tyson. I don’t know, it’s like, what the hell. I mean this guy’s gotta be like 80 years old. Man, this guy, he doesn’t age a lick. He’s like the black Gandalf with the beard. … But I think Tyson coming here really turned the team around from a defensive standpoint. His ability to communicate, his ability to direct on the floor, set a mean pick, adds a physical presence to the game.”IMPRESSIONS OF THE YOUNGER LAKERS“Unbelievable talent. The patience is on all of us (gestures to the audience). Like we have to be patient. But, as players, you’re never patient with yourself. You’re patient with each other, but never with yourself. You wanna be there now. And you work to be there now with the understanding that it is gonna take time, but you want to be there now. That’s the way you accelerate growth. And they have a lot of potential, man. They’ll figure it out.”THE TRIANGLE OFFENSE“Here’s the thing, it’s what’s so crazy to me: The Triangle has won so many championships, and everybody says the Triangle like it’s some taboo thing. I’m like, what’s wrong with you people? I mean, I don’t understand. … If it’s easy to pick up, is winning championships easy? Am I missing something here? Like, it works in Chicago. It works here. But it can’t work anywhere else. And it’s like, ‘Oh, well they had Michael and Scottie and Shaq.’ What the hell, is Phil supposed to win with a bunch of dumb-dumbs?“But the important thing about the Triangle is that it has structure. It has structure. And within that structure, you can then make adjustments. So when I’m teaching the game, you can’t just put kids out there and say, ‘OK, just read the game.’ What does that even mean? What am I reading it from? You put them in structure, now it’s easily identifiable. You’re supposed to make this pass. You make this pass, you make that cut. That cut happens, you make this pass. If that pass is not there, your person does that. And things become easily understandable. So it’s the best way to teach.”TROLLING PHIL JACKSON“I sent a clip to Phil of our girls (his daughter’s team) running center opposite versus a zone, no kidding. Center opposite, second guard fill, swing corner to corner. OK? Sent him the video, the girls ran it. He texted me back, ‘Man, they actually ran that beautifully.’” I said, ‘Yeah, they had a better coach, what the hell do you expect?’ And I didn’t have to burn sage for them to do that by the way.”WORKING WITH JOHN WILLIAMS FOR DEAR BASKETBALL AND PERFORMING AT THE HOLLYWOOD BOWL“When I wrote Dear Basketball, I called him up and said, ‘John, I wrote this thing,’ and he’s like ‘Yeah, I read it, baby, it’s awesome. It’s great, man.’ And I said, ‘Would you do the music for it?’ And he said, ‘Oh, I would love to. I just gotta finish this Star Wars thing.’ I was like, “‘Whoa, damn!’“I didn’t realize he wanted me to do it with him. Right? He was like, ‘Can I do this during the lineup?’ And I said, ‘Wait a minute, let me get this straight. It’s gonna be like, Hedwig’s Theme, Imperial March … and Dear Basketball? Is that what you’re saying?’ And he’s like, ‘You got it, baby.’ And I’m like, cool, awesome. And then he goes, ‘Well, all right, I’m gonna need you to come down and like rehearse two days prior.’ And I’m like, what? And he’s like, ‘No, you have to do it, you’re part of it. … You’re gonna stand there, you’re gonna do the thing, and you’re gonna do it live.’“Oh man, I’ve never been so nervous in my life. Seriously, yo, when you turn the ball over or something like that, all right, it happens. But you can’t fumble over the words you wrote, with John, you know what I mean? At the Hollywood Bowl. That’s the worst thing ever.”TAP DANCING“I kept rolling my ankles, so I wanted to come up with a different way to train, so I picked up tap dancing believing that would strengthen muscles that would ordinarily not get strengthened. And it also helps me break my rhythm up as an athlete. Your feet become quicker. I don’t have to do quick ladder drills, I can learn how to tap dance, get through all that stuff. …Related Articles Newsroom GuidelinesNews TipsContact UsReport an Error Trail Blazers, Grizzlies advance to NBA play-in game; Suns, Spurs see playoff dreams dashed Lakers, Clippers schedules set for first round of NBA playoffs Lakers practice early hoping to answer all questions How athletes protesting the national anthem has evolved over 17 years center_img Trail Blazers beat Grizzlies in play-in, earn first-round series with the Lakers AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREUCLA alum Kenny Clark signs four-year contract extension with PackersHere are some of the best bits of Bryant’s interview with play-by-play man Bill Macdonald, who was scolded at times for not knowing enough about Harry Potter, one of Bryant’s favorite fictional characters. Yes, it was a surreal night:LAKERS’ CHAMPIONSHIP HOPES“Of course they will. They have a determination to figure it out and they will figure it out. They have talented pieces. (General Manager) Rob (Pelinka) has put them in position right now with incredible flexibility. They will figure it out. So enjoy the journey, because we’ll be champions before you know it, and we’ll be laughing at all the Warrior fans who all of a sudden came out of nowhere.“I don’t mean to dog the Warriors, because the owners are absolutely amazing. I dog (Warriors president) Bob Myers, who is a good friend, but I remember going there to play and looking around and seeing a lot of Lakers jerseys in the stands. And all of a sudden, ‘What the …’”LeBRON JAMES TAKING OVER“It’s a test of Bron’s patience, and also doing what he needs to do to keep the team’s head above water. So it’s a balancing act. They were struggling, LeBron got the ball, took control, decided to start playing point, doing everything, doing everything. That’s not the recipe for winning championships, by no means. But it is a recipe to keep your head above water, give yourself a little breathing room, and now, let’s go back and teach them the way that we wanna play.”ADVICE FOR PLAYING WITH JAMES“Fundamentals. It’s the stuff that Phil taught us, it’s the stuff that all great coaches teach, whether it’s John Wooden, Nick Saban. It doesn’t matter, it’s basics. Being able to make proper passes with the left hand, being able to make the proper reads on back-doors (cuts). All the simple stuff. Simple stuff. Bron is extremely sound fundamentally.” “You think about rhythm, everybody has an inner rhythm that they play with. Everybody has an inner rhythm. If you can figure out a person’s inner rhythm, then you can actually know what they’re gonna do before they know when they’re gonna do it. So the most important thing is to figure out your inner rhythm and figure out how to break up that rhythm. The only way to do that is to train that. Tap dancing is one of those things that helped me do that.”ADJUSTING TO NORMAL(ISH) LIFE“It’s amazing, when I retired and I had all this schedule and all this stuff to do, and I kept missing times. (Vanessa is) like, ‘Oh, now you see what I had to do this whole time, right?’ And I picked the kids up, and I’d be like five minutes late. Five minutes late. And they get in the car, and they’re like, ‘You’re late.’ I’m like, ‘Dude, I was at the office, I had to finish something.’ And they’re like, ‘Yeah, no. Mom was never late. Never late.’”WHY HE LOVES AMUSEMENT PARKS“The thing that we always have to protect against is losing that child-like innocence. You have to protect against that. That is the worst thing. And sometimes the world has a way of beating that out of us. And going to Disney, whether it’s Disney World, Disneyland or Universal, it’s a good way to stay in touch with the inner child. Because that’s where curiosity comes from. That’s where imagination stems from. And when you lose that, you shut off that part of your emotion that was a kid that had a dream, that had a vision, that had plans. It’s important to always stay in touch with that.” LOS ANGELES — Even in retirement, the Black Mamba still gets his shots in.As he wrapped up an interview Monday night at Lakers All-Access at Staples Center, an event in which he was the headliner, Kobe Bryant assured the several hundred fans in the audience that LeBron James and the Lakers would soon be back in the promised land of NBA titles.“They will figure it out,” he said. “So enjoy the journey, because we’ll be champions before you know it, and we’ll be laughing at all the Warrior fans who all of a sudden came out of nowhere.”That might have been Bryant’s best barb of the night, but it was far from the only one. The five-time champion and still arguably the franchise’s favored son was nothing if not loquacious about his thoughts on the modern-day incarnation of the Lakers, scrapping in the Western Conference, as well as fatherhood, retirement and coaching his oldest daughter’s basketball team.last_img read more