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Wisconsin coach Bo Ryan
Q. When you're a player --
and I'm sure there are times when you might have had self
doubt -- how do you get through that?
COACH RYAN: I can't remember self doubt. I mean, I
can't remember not believing that, if you did the right thing,
stuck to the fundamentals, kept working at things, that they're
always going to work out.
You know, what's the other alternative? You beat
yourself up? I mean, if guys take a shot and they don't
believe it's going in, it's like putting, and, well, there's no
chance of this thing going in, it probably isn't going to go in
But I don't -- I go into every game trying to give
the players a chance to understand what it takes to be
successful and show them things and talk to them about things.
It's the same group that was doing some things earlier that --
and not doing some things earlier that we got away with, which
is things I knew about as weaknesses. So they still have to
keep working on those.
Q. Bo, in your experience, when good shooters go through
stretches individually or as a team and their shots aren't dropping, what do you think causes that?
COACH RYAN: I think they have averages for a reason.
Sometimes you're above the average, sometimes you're below it,
and they revert to the mean.
Look at how tough we've been on free throws the last
couple minutes of games, and then you go into a game that you
take a bump in by one point, and you go, wow, those are the
same free throws we made. Now, do you carry that over and
start to get nervous if you're in the situation again? That's
But I think the fact that we took away some things
defensively for the most part against teams that we played
recently, I see some shots that are made by guys that hadn't
made one of those in a while, and we've had it happen for us.
I mean, we had some things happen in some of those games
earlier in the year where we had some guys step up, hit some
big shots, get some stops.
But they're 18 to 22 years old, and they're working
at it. I can tell you that.
Q. I know being a head coach is a tough enough job as it
is. Do you find it to be any more challenging as a coach when
your team is going through something like this, just to try to
find some way to help them out?
COACH RYAN: Well, what you're referring to then is
that the coach -- it's -- you know, for me, when you say is it
discouraging? Is that what you asked? Oh, well, because
you're always looking for things that can shake guys out of the
positions that they're in. But you can't, you know, all of a
sudden, remake a team when you can take five possessions out of
several of those games, and if they go the other way, four
possessions, two possessions. You're sitting on the other
So they still have to believe in what they're doing.
They still have to believe that, if they position themselves
correctly, block out, take care of the ball, I can't fault them
there. They're taking care of the ball. They're getting
decent looks. A couple times we had to take a hurried look
because of a deflected pass, but I think you just keep getting
guys to understand that you're the ones that can make the
difference. Can't go around and replace anybody. Not trading,
This is what we have, and this is what we have to try
to get the results that I think they can get back to. But I --
when you say a challenge, it's always a challenge. It's a
challenge when you're 10-0. It's a challenge when -- because
the challenge always is the next game. Now the challenge is
Q. Bo, how much do you buy into vocal leaders and kind
of the rah-rah stuff in terms of getting guys up? Or do you
think it's more important to simply work on technique and, like
you said, let the averages take care of themselves? What's
more important to you?
COACH RYAN: I never said let things take care of
themselves. You have to work. You have to be attentive. You
have to look at the film, the breakdown.
Gave the guys a test yesterday, 28-question test, 28
clips, where I always talked to the guys about the teaching
points in the clips. So I wanted to find out yesterday exactly
what it is that guys see. So I took the 28 clips and just
showed the clip. They wrote down what they saw. Second clip,
they wrote down what they saw. Just like they were in the
Pretty perceptive group. They caught a lot of the
teaching points, but you never know. At least it was
encouraging to know that this player did not rotate or this
player did not pump fake or this player did not -- and we did
it without worrying about who, what individual it was, but the
idea was, okay, these are the things that we have to work on.
We didn't get back to this point in transition defense.
If you're here instead of here, this doesn't happen.
So that's how players aren't. Some guys, they have to see it
on video. Some guys they don't have to see it on video. They
can see it on the court. Their moxie, court sense, basketball
IQ, they see it. Some guys need to see it and go oh. Oh, is
that what -- okay, yeah, I got it now.
But then you still have to go out and execute it. So
what that has to do with anybody in the room yelling rah-rah,
there wasn't any of that, but it's about teaching.
Q. How unusual is that in one of your clip sessions to
quiz them in that manner? Is that something you do very often
where they have funny answers on their own like that?
COACH RYAN: As I mentioned, it's the first time I've
ever done it.
COACH RYAN: Ever. It was the first time, and they did
pretty well. I was impressed.
But knowing it and doing it, I'll tell you, with the
speed of the game and the fact that what really ticks me off is
the guys on the other side. They're trying to stop us, and
that really -- I wish those guys would get out of the way, but
Q. Bo, what are the specific challenges that Illinois
presents tomorrow night?
COACH RYAN: Watching them play Iowa, they've
improved in a lot of areas because we know how athletic they
are. They just -- earlier in the year, there were just some
things getting away from them. But now they're just more in
tune with one another and their talent level is starting to
show through. I mean, sometimes you can have talent, but it's
not in sync. But they're playing a lot better together.
Q. After the Ohio State game, I believe you were
answering a question about leadership on the team, the quality
of the leadership on the team, and in the process of answering
it, you talked about Nigel Hayes being quiet and just working
hard and getting through it. Some people interpreted that as
perhaps a dig at Sam. Was it?
COACH RYAN: Well, how could it be a dig at somebody
Q. Just because he had most recently come out and talked
about he was very emphatic about some of the things he felt
strongly about with the team, that you weren't doing well, that
you were being soft, that you weren't getting things done.
COACH RYAN: Each guy has got to hold himself
accountable. Nigel Hayes is the most improved player, and if
that didn't come through with what I said, then he just gets it
done. That's not a dig at anybody. That's me telling you that
Nigel Hayes is a real find here, and without Nigel, we might
not have anywhere near what we have.
And the results haven't been great on the scoreboard,
but, man, the things he's given us defensively very rarely
makes the same mistake twice. So for anyone to even think
there's an insinuation that way just maybe tells me where
somebody's mind was. That's a compliment, and he deserves it.
Anybody that's watched us play knows that. Anybody
that watches us practice. Yeah, practice. They know what he
I just really like it when guys pick up things and
show results. And he's done it better -- when I say he's done
it better, it just means sometimes, when the tests are given
back, some people get A's and some people get B's. But Nigel's
been a big lift for us, huge.
Q. So going the other way, does it help when somebody
like Sam did last week, does it help when somebody speaks out,
whether it's through the media or whatever? Do you think
there's a place for that?
COACH RYAN: I don't even know -- I haven't seen
anything to even be able to answer your question. I don't know
what you mean. If a guy says that he's got to play better --
is that what Sam said? He's got to play better?
I hope he didn't hurt his foot when he put it down.
I didn't hear what Sam said. I just get
the guys in there, show them what we need to do, work them, and
everybody's got to answer to themselves, and they've got to
answer to their teammates. So whatever goes on there, that's
up to the players. I don't control that.