Little-used sophomore may be Wisconsin’s secret weapon

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Nobody ignores Wisconsin anymore. Bo Ryan’s squad may not play fast, but it seems they’ve finally earned people’s respect in preseason rankings. I slotted the Badgers No. 12 in our preseason Top 25, while AP voters placed ‘em 15th. Not bad.

Still. The Badgers lost Jon Leuer from last year’s 25-9 team. Who steps into his scoring role?

Josh Gasser seemed like a good bet. Maybe juniors Mike Bruesewitz or Jared Berggen could combine for it.

Or maybe it’ll be Ben Brust, a 6-1 sophomore who didn’t do much other than run the scout team last year. Yeah. Maybe him.

His performance at a Sunday scrimmage – a game-high 22 points on 9-of-15 shooting, five rebounds, four assists and two turnovers in 32 minutes – should open plenty of eyes around the Big Ten. Not that Brust’s teammates are surprised.

“He did a lot of that to us when he was on the scout team,” Taylor told the Wisconsin State Journal. “So it’s nothing that we haven’t seen before, but it’s just something new … to the fans. It’s really no surprise to us.”

It’s just a scrimmage, but it should be noted that Brust’s team beat Taylor’s. Yes, the All-American.

But hey, when you only log 45 minutes in 15 games, the best way to improve is by playing against an All-American all season. That’s what Brust did facing Taylor. Seems like it paid off.

“He can have a scoring frenzy at times. He did it last year in practice every once in a while. He’s quick with the ball, includes his teammates,” Ryan told the paper.

“He played point guard on the scout team last year and his decision-making as a point guard wasn’t as good as it is now, so that is something he learned from the scout team. And he’s quick; we always knew that. He’s even quicker now. He’s worked hard.”

Small wonder why people don’t ignore Wisconsin anymore.

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