October 23, 2009

Berggren ready to make impact in frontcourt

MADISON - For anyone worried about depth at the center position for Wisconsin, have no fear.

After a redshirt season, freshman Jared Berggren is poised to contribute in the paint for the Badgers. During the teams annual media day festivities, BadgerBlitz.com caught up with the 7-foot Berggren.

The following is a question and answer with the Minnesota native.

The off-season is over with and you've been in the program for over a year. What are you looking forward to most this year?

Berggren: Personally, I'm just looking to get back out on the court and playing in a meaningful game. I haven't played in a real game since high school after taking last season with the redshirt. So that's been tough, but I'm real excited for that just to get back out on the court and see what I can do out there.

Was that always the priority that you were going to get redshirted no matter what last year? What was the process behind that?

Berggren: It was kind of a wait and see thing. I think I was close to being able to contribute, but there were certain things that I guess I didn't pick up on quick enough, you know, things that I need to improve on. Taking a year to learn those things and learn those things and get stronger and quicker and things like that. I feel like it was definitely the right decision for me to be successful and be able to contribute this year.

Had you not have taken the redshirt, would you have been able to contribute last year where your game was?

Berggren: I mean I think I could have contributed here and there but I think the main thing was that I wasn't consistent enough. I wasn't good enough on defense and consistent enough on offense to where I would have been successful all the time. It was just the best thing for me to take the year and just get ready for the next four.

Obviously there are people that followed you through high school and know what you're about, but maybe some people that don't know, how would you characterize your game?

Berggren: I guess I would just kind of consider myself the typical Wisconsin big man, being able to fit in the swing, play down low, score on the post as well as step outside and shoot some mid-range, shoot some jump shots and just really fit into Bo Ryan's system.

Do you shoot around the perimeter?

Berggren: Yeah, I think I've got a pretty good shot for a big man. I think with the swing that's something that's very important.

How much does that open things up for the guards, especially when the big guys are hitting perimeter shots?

Berggren: Yeah, that's what the swing is all about and that's why coach Ryan has been so successful through his years with that system.

Obviously you guys lose Marcus (Landry) and Joe (Krabbenhoft) last year, a couple of big guys, frontcourt players. What did you learn from those guys?

Berggren: They were very tough players. Just going against them everyday in practice was great just to learn all the little things from them and learn the attitude it takes, the toughness it takes and the hard work. Just seeing that everyday out of them definitely helped me prepare to contribute this year.

Do you see that kind of mantra and that type of play carrying over this year with the frontcourt players you have?

Berggren: Yeah, that's kind of a staple of Wisconsin basketball just the toughness and post play. That's something that me, Keaton Nankivil, Jon Leuer as well as guys like J.P. Gavinski and Ian Markolf, we all compete and we all bring it in practice and work hard. We should be successful


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