MADISON (WITI) — Badgers Head Coach Bo Ryan has been around the game of basketball for a long time. Long enough to have coached the father of one of the players on this year’s team! Last week, Zak Showalter had a coming out party of sorts — one that brought back memories from years gone by.
Zak Showalter, a redshirt sophomore guard for the Badgers is making a contribution to one of the best teams in the country.
Showalter is humble and understated off the court, but once he gets on the floor, he’s electric. The 6’2″ guard known for his incredible leaping ability plays every second as if it’s his last. With the injury to Traevon Jackson, Showalter’s been getting more minutes. In the February 3rd win over the Indiana Hoosiers, Showalter came off Bo Ryan’s bench to score a career high nine points. In the process, he pleased the sell-out crowd at the Kohl Center. A couple of times, they came out of their seats!
“I think that’s what they wanna do. I’m just trying to give them something to react to, and when I can do that it feels really good. Just trying to bring energy to the game and if I can get the Kohl Center doing that, I think that helps us in the long run,” Showalter said.
At Germantown High School, Showalter played for his father Steve and with his younger brother Jake — starring on the first of three consecutive state championship teams. Dad was able to catch his son in action against the Hoosiers.
“The fact that he’s out here now making a contribution — I couldn’t be more excited. You know, we’ve been waiting for this, and now he’s starting to show people what he can really do,” Steve Showalter said.
Steve Showalter was a terrific player in his own right at UW-Platteville, where he was a key member of Bo Ryan’s first recruiting class — so Ryan has coached father and son, 30 years apart.
“I think that just means that we’re both kind of old! I would have never thought that when my kids were born that one of them would have a chance to play for the coach that coached me. I mean, it’s a dream come true,” Steve Showalter said.
“Zak is just a guy that plays so hard and he’s smart. He takes advantage of opportunities. Steve was like that as a player when he played, and Zak is like that as a player when he plays, except that Steve wasn’t very happy when I took him out of the game. He’d make faces,” Bo Ryan said.
Zak Showalter’s efforts put a smile on the faces of his teammates.
“There’s days where we can’t even stop him in practice. Some of the things he does for our team behind the scenes, you can’t talk enough about how important it is. Everyone’s excited for him,” Badgers Forward Frank Kaminsky said.
Zak Showalter’s younger brother Jake is a freshman on the North Dakota State basketball team. Jake was a three-time state champion at Germantown.