Badger Bits: Wisconsin basketball in 2014-15 is going to be fun

Jamie Squire

Barry Alvarez weighs in on "Big 5" autonomy, winners from NBA Draft decisions and more.

It is only a matter of time before the "Big Five" power conferences rule collegiate athletics. There is simply too much money at stake for anything else to happen otherwise. Determining when student-athletes will actually be paid remains to be seen, but the time is getting closer. The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel's Jeff Potrykus breaks down the NCAA-endorsed plan to give 65 schools more power when deciding how to manage their programs. Wisconsin athletic director Barry Alvarez is all-in on supplying any extra benefit possible to the UW kids. I think this is a more realistic option for the future of the NCAA. Opening up the market would lead to way too many headaches for all of us to handle, including the presence of agents. Just because it's not cold-hard cash doesn't mean it has no monetary value.

We've talked a lot about the possibility of next season being a special one for head coach Bo Ryan and his squad. More praise was directed toward the Badgers uesday, as ESPN.com's Jeff Goodman pegged Wisconsin at No. 3 on his Fab 50 (Insider). Kentucky and Arizona snuck in ahead of Sam Dekker and co. at Nos. 1 and 2, respectively. Goodman identified guard Bronson Koenig as a key riser, and I couldn't agree more. The La Crosse Aquinas product has the capability to get to the rim with ease and has great vision in traffic. Not to mention, his jump shot is pure, whether it's a set shot or off the screen. It will be intriguing to see how Ryan allocates minutes among the guards next year, particularly Traevon Jackson, Josh Gasser and Koenig. I know one thing for sure -- Koenig is the real deal, and he'll be the next great guard to play under Ryan.

For another cherry on top, Wisconsin was one of five winners from NBA Draft decisions, writes Sports Illustrated's Brian Hamilton. Of course, it helps when the team's top two offensive playmakers return. Let's open up the floor: where will Dekker and Frank Kaminsky be drafted next season? Top 10? Lottery? First round? Early second? Former UW great Alando Tucker was the last Badger to be taken in the first round, as he was selected by the Phoenix Suns with the 29th overall pick in 2007.

Ryan's illustrious coaching career began at the Division III level at UW-Plateville, where he perfected his system centered around fundamentals and sound defense. Could we have a similar path to success elsewhere in college hoops? Quite possibly with new Missouri head coach Kim Anderson, who posted a .743 winning percentage in 12 seasons at Central Missouri. Hamilton chronicles the story and mentions the hire former AD Pat Richter made with Ryan.

A Badger has never been selected by Green Bay Packers general manager Ted Thompson, and Bill Ferrario was the last Badger to be selected by Green Bay back in 2001. Will that change this year? Jared Abbrederis comes to my mind, but the Racine Time's Gary Woefel writes that the franchise should designate its 21st overall pick on linebacker Chris Borland. The Packers have a need at the inside linebacker position, but they might be one of the teams to take Borland off their big board. According to Bob McGinn of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Borland failed a physical and there's word that Borland might need a third surgery on his shoulder. Hopefully, if anything, this will not deter teams from selecting Borland, which was the case for one executive.

"Yes, Borland does have concerns with his shoulders, especially the one with the screw, but he is not a fail on our board...The guy is tough and rarely misses time, but the injuries are a concern because of the position he plays."

We have a depth chart prediction for this season's Wisconsin offense. Jake and Luke have some nice banter about each position, and who their favorites are at each. Someone who won't be on the depth chart this fall will be running back Jeff Lewis, who has elected to transfer to Illinois State. Someone who could eventually be on the depth chart, though not right away, is Florida transfer wide receiver Marqui Hawkins ($). He was recently offered a scholarship by running backs coach Thomas Brown. According to 247 Sports' Ryan Bartow, Andersen and his coaching staff are the front-runners behind East Carolina.

Quick Hitters

Former UW defensive tackle Beau Allen has taken eight visits and three workouts thus far before next week's NFL draft, the National Football Post's Aaron Wilson reports.

Jake and Scott discussed the Brewers' hot start and league-best record last night on Kielbasa Kings. They also dabbled in the NBA with talk about Donald Sterling and the turmoil surrounding his controversial comments.

Former Madison East baller Nimrod Hilliard has transferred from Lamar to North Carolina Central, according to CBS Sports' Gary Parrish.

Former Vanderbilt and current Penn State head coach James might have found himself in some deep water regarding the sexual assault that occurred in Nashville under his watch. Franklin reportedly contacted the victim, only to focus on her bigger role for the purposes of the football program. According to records obtained by the Tennessean, they read:

"Coach Franklin called her in for a private meeting and told her he wanted her to get fifteen pretty girls together and form a team to assists with the recruiting event though he knew it was against the rules. He added that all the other colleges did it."

Future Opponent Alert: Sports Illustrated's Ben Glicksman has a really good piece on the pride of New Orleans: incoming LSU running back Leonard Fournette.

Video of the Day

I know No. 30 Jon Leuer is the third UW baller in the NBA, but I'm giving the nod to two-time Big Ten regular-season champion (2000 and 2003) Dave Mader. The Appleton, Wis., native started 51 of the 103 games he appeared in during his time in Madison, including the 2000 Final Four against Michigan State. There's nothing better than some home-grown Wisconsin boys playing for Bo Ryan, and Mader exemplifies this beautifully.


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