A group of former Wisconsin Badgers are taking the court again, and this time -- sorry, NCAA -- $1 million are on the line.
Jordan Taylor, Mike Bruesewitz, Kammron Taylor, Zach Bohannon and Frank Kaminsky headline the Wisconsin connection to the Bad Boys team that will be competing in The Basketball Tournament in July, a winner-take-all, open-entry, 97-team tournament.
"We have a shot to win the whole thing," Kammron Taylor told B5Q. "I think we have one of the best teams going into the tournament with former All-Americans and guys that played in the NBA."
Bruesewitz and the Taylors are on the roster as players, while Bohannon will serve as a coach alongside former Badgers forward and assistant coach Howard Moore. Kaminsky is unable to play due to NBA draft and subsequent training camp obligations (dang it, Frank), but is listed as the team's "booster," meaning he's essentially in charge of gaining fans for the team.
The brainchild of former Badgers basketball manager Jeremy Davis (also of The Victory Lap blog), The Bad Boys set out to originally be composed entirely of former Badgers players. The team reached out to players including Ben Brust, Kirk Penney, Alando Tucker, Evan Anderson and Zach Morley. The Taylors and Bruesewitz, however, were the only ones available to play.
The team then reached out to players with Midwest and Big Ten connections. Now, with former Sacramento Kings swingman Royce White, 2014 College Slam Dunk Contest champion and Harlem Globetrotters draftee Marcus Lewis, Anthony Tucker (Iowa/Minnesota State-Moorhead), Andrew Feeley (Maryland-Baltimore County) and Jordan Henriquez (Kansas State), the Bad Boys are among the favorites going into the tournament.
"It's going to be a lot of fun and I'm really, really looking forward to it," Bruesewitz told Jake Kocorowski on a B5Q podcast last week.
Another team, the Sconnie Legends, also holds several Wisconsin ties including former UW star Paul Grant. We profiled Grant and Sconnie Legends' trip to TBT last year. Former Wisconsin star Brian Butch is also playing for Ants Alumni, and there is also a Kenosha Ballers team.
The Bad Boys will be playing in the Midwest regional in Chicago from July 17-19. They enter the regional as one of the favorites to make the "Super 17" (like the Sweet 16, but last year's champion, the Notre Dame Fighting Alumni, automatically advance to the second weekend). Also in the regional is a team with former Indiana Hoosiers Christian Watford, Jordan Hulls and Will Sheehey, and a team of former recruits of the late Rick Majerus, including Dwayne Evans, Jordair Jett and Mike McCall, Jr.
Kammron, currently playing in Venezuela, played for Wisconsin from 2003-07, averaging 10.3 points and 1.7 assists per game and garnering second-team All-Big Ten honors in 2007. A career 37.9 percent three-point shooter, the most memorable moment of his career came on Senior Day against Michigan State in 2007 when he sank a three pointer on his final shot at the Kohl Center to give the Badgers a 52-50 win over Michigan State.
Jordan averaged 11.3 points, 3.4 assists and 3.0 rebounds per game and broke the NCAA record for career assist-to-turnover ratio (3.01) during his four-year career at Wisconsin (2008-12). Taylor was a second-team All-American in 2011 after averaging a Kaminskyian 18.1 points, 4.7 assists and 4.1 rebounds while shooting 42.9 percent from deep. His 1,533 points rank seventh all-time in Wisconsin history.
Bruesewitz is the all-time leader at Wisconsin in crazy hair, and averaged 4.6 points, 4.0 rebounds and 1.2 assists per game over four years. The epitome of a scrapper, Bruesewitz's 268 career fouls rank 22nd all-time in the Big Ten.
Come July, one of the biggest advantages for the Bad Boys will be Moore's direction at the helm.
"We're not going to rely on a lot of one-on-one basketball like a lot of teams do at these types of tournaments," Kammron said. "We've got guys who have all played together before. Having coach Moore come on board is going to be really nice, just him having coached at the D-1 level before."
As for Bohannon, he plans to leave the main coaching duties to the man who's been paid to do it for a career.
"I'm going to let coach Moore take over the x's and o's," he said. "I'm going to make sure that all the administrative duties get done and everyone gets to where they need to be."
The team plans to hold a series of practices the week before the regionals in Chicago to go over plays and get a feel for playing with one another.
"I guess the biggest challenge is, with everyone being from all over, that everyone gets acclimated to each other and we're playing on the same page," Bohannon said. "That's why we got Coach Moore on board, because he has the ability to coach at the highest level. I think our biggest challenge could be our biggest strength."
With each region consisting of 24 teams, the top eight vote-getting teams in each region will earn a first-round bye. You can help the Bad Boys out by becoming a fan and voting for them on their website. The team is also on Twitter @BadBoysTBT.