Wisconsin Badgers news, 7/14: Melvin Gordon, Conor O'Neill, Sam Dekker, more

USA TODAY Sports

Happy Monday, friends.

Football

Hype is considered either a trend or coincidence until the player steps on the field, but it's beginning to look like a trend for Melvin Gordon. He tells CBS Sports' Jeremy Fowler how great he wants to be, and how he isn't backing down from competition, especially those playing in the SEC.

If Wisconsin plays LSU tight and still loses in Week 1, only to go undefeated throughout, Gary Andersen's squad could still be a legitimate contender for the inaugural College Football Playoff. Campus Insiders has similar thinking (starts at 2:50).

Former Badger and current Carolina Panthers punter Brad Nortman led the NFL last year in air yards (51.9) and was fifth in hang time (4.6 seconds).

Speaking of former Wisconsin players, Jake talks with Chicago Bears linebacker Conor O'Neil about looking ahead to the 2014 defense as well as his experience thus far in the NFL, both training and being signed on this week's edition of Kielbasa Kings. He also poses the question in comparison to LeBron James going back to the Cleveland Cavaliers: would you welcome Bret Bielema back to UW?

Cornerback Sojourn Shelton's ceiling is pretty high, coming off a solid rookie campaign in Madison. He continues the UWBadgers.com's list of the Freshmen of the Year nominees.

Basketball

While ESPN.com's C.L. Brown didn't see the Badgers' rebounding efforts very strongly in 2014-15 as mentioned in Friday's Badger Bits, his colleague, Fran Frischilla, thought otherwise, ranking Bo Ryan's squad as the best rebounding team in the country for the upcoming season (Insider).

"Keep in mind that Wisconsin's offensive rebounding numbers are low by design. Ryan eschews crashing the glass in favor of setting up his half-court defense quickly to eliminate as much of opponents' fast break offense as possible."

Frischilla keeps his hot streak with Wisconsin going, as he, along with several others, believed Sam Dekker significantly stood out from the rest at James' Skill Academy.

Hockey

Women's hockey named its team and alternate captains for the 2014-15 season, tabbing Blayre Turnbull, and Katrina Zgraja Karley Sylvester.

Quick hitters

There were plenty of UW student-athletes who were named a Big Ten Distinguished Scholar, which mandates a 3.7 GPA and at least a two-time letterwinner. Wisconsin produced 46, to be exact, representing 17 sports across the board.

Steve Stricker was second coming into Sunday at the John Deere Classic, but finished tied for 11th after shooting a one-over-par 72.

As it stands today, there's only 34 days until the men's soccer exhibition season gets underway. Head coach John Trask and co. welcome University of Illinois-Chicago on Aug. 17.

Prompted by the scoop from Sports Illustrated's Lee Jenkins on James' move to Cleveland, the outlet presented it from a third-person point of view, and the New York Times' Richard Sandomir has a compelling article on why he didn't have a problem with this, even though it underwrites traditional journalistic principles.

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