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Hove, Arthur (ed.) / Wisconsin alumnus
Volume 61, Number 8 (Dec. 1959)

Corwin, Ron
Athletics,   p. 34


Page 34


Athletics
            Badger Basketball in Process of Rebuilding
                By Ron Corwin
W ISCONSIN's basketball profile is
      undergoing plastic surgery and
the surgeon is youthful, vibrant, and
impressive John Erickson. Heading the
youngest basketball coaching staff in
the Big Ten, Erickson is being assisted
by Ron Nord and John Orr. All three
were named last spring when Wiscon-
sin coach "Bud" Foster stepped down
after a string of disappointing seasons
failed to bring the victory spoils to
Madison.
  Optimism is one of the key words in
the Erickson vocabulary and the men-
tor has passed on this enthusiasm to his
charges who are young and small, but
fast. "There is a lot of chance to im-
prove. We're forgetting the past be-
cause our chances are good for moving
up the ladder. The team has a wonder-
ful attitude and this is a new   year.
We've got good sophomores and fresh-
men," observed the effevescent coach in
anticipation of a bright future.
  There are seven lettermen returning
from the squad that landed in the cellar
in the Big Ten last season. Included in
the veteran department are two front
line men, Jim Briggs and Fred Clow-
Erickson  expects improved   perform-
ances from both of them. Biggs, a
junior, is 6-3 and Clow, a senior, is
6-4. The loss of John Stack, the tallest
man on the squad at 6-8, due to a
chronic knee injury, will hurt the hustl-
ing Badgers since it leaves only one
letterman in the strategic center posi-
tion. Filling the gap left by Stack is
Bob Rossin, a 6-7 junior from Maus-
ton.
   This year's Badger captain, Bob
Barneson, is from Eau Claire. The 6-3
forward was second high scorer last
year with a 12.3 per game average for
the season. Erickson feels that Barne-
son's leadership will be of aid to the
young Badgers. Rick Murry, at 6-1, is
the smallest of the returning lettermen
in the front line. Two guards are back
from last year's squad in the persons
of 6-4 Dick Dutrisac and 6-1 Bob
Serbiak.
  Keynoting practices prior to the sea-
son competition was work on the fast
break. There is no doubt that Erickson
has instilled his team with the idea that
they are going to have to outhustle and
out-position their taller opponents in
order to win games. A lot of the time
has been spent scrimmaging because the
coach is looking for the right combina-
tion. "There is a change in styles and
it takes time for the units to begin func-
tioning properly. We've got a fine team
at Wisconsin and we're loaded with
boys who want to learn," were Erick-
son's words concerning the pre-season
workouts.
  Badger -basketball psychology doesn't
stop with the end of practice. The men-
tal picture in Erickson's camp is not
one of past reflections but one that
throws a piercing glance into the future.
In Erickson's own words, "We're not
afraid of anyone or of the season."
Maybe the Badgers will play the role
of spoiler this year but each successive
season should see Wisconsin higher in
the Big Ten hierarchy.
  There is no twenty-year plan in action
in the Badgerland basketball picture.
According to the head coach, "This is
1959 and we're not going to save any-
thing. Anyone scouting the Badgers in
their opener with Butler will see every-
thing we have." Every game on the
schedule is an important one and Erick-
son feels that playing the first two
games at home will help. "If we can
get away with a couple of quick vic-
tories, it may be the impetus that we
want."
   "There's no question that success
breeds success," he went on. "Once we
have a winner, then we'll start produc-
ing winners. This is not to say that we
don't have top-flight material now.
We're short, but we have some good
Ieyes' and no one is going to push us
over. Run we will, and shoot, too.
There's no substitute for getting the
ball through the hoop."
34
   Five out of the last seven games that
Wisconsin plays are out-of-town and
this looms to be the roughest part of
the Badger schedule. Erickson has a
long road ahead of him 'but he has
taken some of the most difficult steps
already. "Now that the season is here,
we're eager to win all of them. We
start our pre-conference schedule De-
cember 1st and every game is vital to
our cause. We have a Christmas tourna-
ment at Buffalo, N. Y. and those games
have a high priority. Everybody's even.
We have a fine team at Wisconsin and,
although we can't promise victories, we
can try our best. We want to start win-
ning and winning now!"
   So says John Erickson who already
has brightened the Badger hoop scene.
The operation is not an easy one but it
lies in the hands of a most capable sur-
geon who has a strong will and hopes
to find the way to regain prestige for
Wisconsin on the basketball courts.
         Wisconsin 1959-60
         Basketball Schedule
Dec. 1-Butler
      5-Iowa State
      7-At Notre Dame
      12-Loyola of Chicago
      14-At Missouri
      19-At Marquette (Milwaukee Arena)
      2 1-Stanford
      26-Queen City Tournament (Buffalo,
         N.Y.)
     28-Queen City Tournament (Buffalo,
         N. Y.)
Jan. 2-Michigan State
      4-Iowa
      9-At Purdue
      1I-Northwestern
      27-North Dakota
      30-At Minnesota
Feb. 6-Indiana
      8-Ohio State
      13-At Indiana
      15-At Iowa
      20-Illinois
      22-At Michigan
      27-At Ohio State
      29-At Northwestern
Mar. 5-Purdue
Wisconsin Alumnus, December, 1959


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