Sophomore Nigel Hayes appears ready to take his game beyond the arc.
MADISON - The University of Wisconsin opened up practice to the local media for the first time on Monday.
- Sophomore Nigel Hayes has added the 3-point shot to his game. The forward hit plenty of 3’s during individual drills in practice last year but rarely took them in 5-on-5 work and never even attempted one in a game. On Monday, the 6-foot-8, 235-pound, Hayes looked comfortable shooting from deep, including drilling a 3-pointer with a hand in his face.
- It’s well-known that Frank Kaminsky will talk to himself on the court at times, though the chatter decreased significantly last season. However, on Monday it was back a little bit. After missing an easy inside shot the Badgers center yelled, “(Expletive) you, Frank!”
Later, though, he finished off a drive by spinning around a defender and going up for a big two-handed dunk.
- Sam Dekker had a huge summer, taking part in camps put on by Kevin Durant and LeBron James. The feedback at both was that the Badgers’ junior was among the best players at either camp. He flashed some of that on Monday. In 5-on-5 work, Dekker drove baseline and spun past a defender to get to the hole for an easy lay-in.
The 6-foot-9, 230-pound, Dekker looked bigger than last season, and though he displayed some of the things that drive UW coach Bo Ryan crazy at times – specifically shot selection and not always being where he should be – he seems primed physically for a big year.
-- Senior guard Josh Gasser looks to be moving better and is no longer wearing the knee brace that was a staple last year as he made his return to the court after missing the entire 2012-2013 season.
-- Senior guard Traevon Jackson and sophomore guard Bronson Koenig were mainly facilitators on Monday, but both players showed an ability to get to the basket on dribble penetration.
-- Duje Dukan was active on both ends of the floor. The senior forward has grown to 6-foot-10, and though he's known for his outside shot, he and Dekker battled down low several times, and Dukan seems more than willing to mix it up, which hasn’t always been the case.
-- True freshman Ethan Happ looks like he might redshirt, though that will be up to him. How much playing time can the 6-foot-9, 230-pound, Happ get with a loaded frontcourt of Kaminsky, Hayes, Dekker, Dukan and sophomore Vitto Brown?
-- It’ll be interesting to see how Ryan uses Zak Showalter, Jordan Hill and Riley Dearing. UW needs a fourth guard to step up behind Jackson, Gasser and Koenig. Each of the possibilities offer a little something different.
-- Former Badgers guard Kammron Taylor practiced with the team on Monday. He has been in town for much of the summer while recovering from knee surgery.