Badger Bits: Ball honored in inaugural Wisconsin Sports Awards

Heisman finalist Montee Ball added to his list of awards Thursday night, winning the Wisconsin Sports Awards honor for College Player of the Year.

The inaugural Wisconsin Sports Awards took place last night at The Wisconsin Club in Milwaukee. Sportcenter's John Anderson, a Green Bay native, hosted the exclusive invite-only event that included about a 400-person audience.

The cool thing about the event is it connects high school, college and professional sports in the state of Wisconsin. In the same evening, high school basketball phenom Sam Dekker and Packers' quarterback Aaron Rodgers accepted awards for their accomplishments. It is an event that brings together the best athletes Wisconsin has to offer, connecting current and future Wisconsin greats.

Of the 13 awards handed out, The University of Wisconsin-Madison heard its named called just once, when Montee Ball took home the Colliers International College Player of the Year.

Ball was not in attendance, but had a video recorded for his acceptance of the award.

"It was an honor just to be nominated with the other great college players from around the state," Ball said. "I am humbled to accept the college player of the year award and I want to thank all the voters. None of these individual awards would have been possible without my teammates and the tremendous coaching staff we have here at Wisconsin."

Although the university only earned one award, future Badger stars won awards at the inaugural event. Dekker, UW's highly touted basketball recruit, won the Building Advantage Boys High School Basketball Player of the Year (yes, every award has a annoying sponsor name attached to its it). And Vince Biegel, the four-star linebacker recruit from Wisconsin Rapids, earned the honor of the state's top high school football player.

The only odd part about the event is how the awards only come from the 2011 year. For example, the Potawatomi Game of the Year was the Packer's Super Bowl XLV victory, an event that occurred well over a year ago.

Despite the fact some of the awards feel a bit outdated, it appears the state created a great event that will connect Wisconsin sports for years to come.

Here's a comprehensive list of the WSA winners.

Friday's Links:

In Sporting News' rankings of the top 25 college football coaches, Bret Bielema ranked 12th. They said Bielema should be ranked higher but his poor clock management and bowl record did not help his case.

Former Wisconsin long snapper, Kyle Wojta, will try to make the Chicago Bears as a walk-on just as he did when he came to Madison.

Check out cool journals from Wojta, chronicling his offseason experiences since early February.

Softball coach Yvette Healy is on the verge on making the NCAA Tournament and giving birth to her second child.

Seattle Seahawks coach Pete Carroll says Russell Wilson's arm strength is underrated. "He can make all of the throws, and you know we've watched everything time and again to see it," Carroll said.

Wisconsin ranks 10th nationally in post-spring rankings by Collegefootballnews.com.

ESPN.com's Brian Bennett gives his spring wrap up for Badger football.

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