Badgers players on Coach Ryan’s Basketball Hall of Fame snub: “He’ll get in eventually”
INDIANAPOLIS (WITI) — The Wisconsin Badgers tried for their first national championship in 74 years on Monday night, April 6th. The #1 seed Badgers faced the #1 seed Duke Blue Devils in Indianapolis. The last time the Badgers won a national championship? 1941! Badgers fans hoped this would be the year we could do it again.
The Badgers tamed the undefeated Kentucky Wildcats on Saturday night, April 4th — 71-64, sending Bucky into the national championship game.
Badgers senior center Frank Kaminsky has received the Naismith Award and the National Association of Basketball Coaches National Player of the Year award, but Coach Bo Ryan was not selected for the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame. ESPN reports Ryan fell short of the 18 votes (out of 24) needed to earn enshrinement into the sport’s Hall while Kentucky Coach John Calipari made it on the number.
But Badgers players say they feel it’s only a matter of time before Coach Ryan gets in.
“I mean, all the guys that have been in it are deservingly so. I definitely think with this, maybe next year he’ll get in. I think he has really changed this program in the right direction and he’s starting to get recognized more and more. I think as the year goes by, hopefully they will really recognize what he’s done over the past couple years and he will get recognized with that Hall of Fame spot,” Badgers guard Zak Showalter said.
“I don’t even know what to say, you know? The guy built up his resume, in these last two years specifically, tremendously. It is a shame that he didn’t make it, but you know, I’m sure he will get in it at some point in the future,” Badgers forward Duje Dukan said.
“He’ll get in! I mean, it’s not like a ‘oh, it’s okay,’ or ‘man, I wish you, you were this close.’ He’ll get in eventually. It is just a matter of time before he gets in there,” Badgers point guard Traevon Jackson said.
“He definitely deserves it. I think he will eventually. Maybe after we win on Monday!” Badgers forward Vitto Brown said.
Meanwhile, Wisconsin Badgers fans around long enough to remember the lean years are among those especially enjoying the team’s latest success.
In the years between Wisconsin’s only national championship in 1941 and the first year under coach Bo Ryan in 2001, the likelihood of a NCAA tournament bid was absurd. Post-Crescent Media says the Badgers finished below .500 34 times.
In the mid-1950s to the mid-1960s, Wisconsin placed eighth or lower in the Big Ten eight times over 10 seasons. The 1970s and 1980s weren’t a whole lot better. The Badgers finished better than sixth in the Big Ten just twice.
The Badgers advanced to the tournament just seven times in the 63 seasons before Ryan became coach.
Ultimately, though it was a hard-fought battle, the Badgers fell to the Blue Devils 68-63.