Bohannon makes Badgers betterThere was no light bulb that went on in his head, no lightning bolt from above that finally turned Jason Bohannon
By: By TOM OATES/The Wisconsin State Journal, The Daily Telegram
There was no light bulb that went on in his head, no lightning bolt from above that finally turned Jason Bohannon into the dangerous scorer everyone thought he could be.
“There wasn’t any specific moment where everything kind of came together,” the sophomore guard for the University of Wisconsin men’s basketball team said.
Maybe not, but there was a specific moment when UW went from a team with slim hopes for a Big Ten Conference title to a team that can control its fate in the championship race.
That moment came when Bohannon regularly started drilling 3-point shots and scoring in double figures in every game.
Bohannon’s emergence as another major scoring threat in the Big Ten’s most balanced attack actually came in the Badgers’ second meeting with Purdue, a home loss that seemingly knocked them out of title contention.
Bohannon had 14 points in that game and his scoring has been a major factor in UW’s four games since then, victories that put it in first place with three games to play.
In the last five games, Bohannon has averaged 14.8 points and led UW in scoring three times. He reached double figures in all five games, after achieving that standard only five times in UW’s first 22 games. He had a college-best 18 points in the victory at Indiana.
Given UW’s uneven play on offense this season, especially against zone defenses, Bohannon’s consistency has been a blessing for the Badgers.
It would be a reach to say that Bohannon has saved the season because others such as Michael Flowers and Marcus Landry have dramatically stepped up their play as well, but his coming-out party as a scorer has taken UW to a new level.
That’s because Bohannon has stepped up to a new level. He has finally understands how hard he has to work for open shots, how to find holes in the defense and how to speed up his release without sacrificing accuracy.
Those are things every college shooter has to learn because the defenders are quicker and taller than they were in high school.
Some shooters never make the adjustment. Some, such as former UW guards Jon Bryant and Clayton Hanson, became masters at it by the time they were seniors.
Bohannon has figured it out as a sophomore. He’s moving better to find open spaces on the floor and has backed off the 3-point line a bit to give himself more room.
In his last seven games, Bohannon is 18-for-33 from 3-point range.
It helps that Bohannon isn’t a one-dimensional, catch-and-shoot guard.
Although the Billy Packers of the world haven’t figured it out yet, he can put the ball on the floor and make things happen.
With 33 consecutive made free throws, he’s also become a factor at the end of games.
“He learned a lot of ball movement before he got here,” UW coach Bo Ryan said. “But now in the college game he’s learned some things on how to get better position and get his feet set a little quicker because of the length of the guys that are covering him, that are closing out on him.”
Bohannon said he’s learned by watching others, including teammate Joe Krabbenhoft in person, former UW star Kirk Penney on tape and Detroit Pistons guard Richard Hamilton on television.
The common denominator? They’re constantly cutting and moving without the ball.
“I’ve been working hard to get open, working all the swing cuts,” he said. “It’s a process. I’m still learning right now. There’s still a long way to go and I can get a lot better doing it.”
One thing Bohannon never suffered from was a lack of confidence.
“My confidence was always there,” he said. “I always knew I could do it, but maybe the shots weren’t falling or the shots just weren’t there.”
Now they are, and UW is a better team for it.
— Distributed by McClatchy-Tribune