October 25, 2009

Catching up: Jason Bohannon

MADISON - With the annual Wisconsin red-white scrimmage set to take place in a matter of hours, BadgerBlitz.com will spend the day leading up to the event featuring several individual players.

Third in the series is senior guard Jason Bohannon. The following is a question and answer with the Iowa native.

With the program, obviously the goal is to win the Big Ten title every year, make the tournament and make a deep run. Is that the goal again this year and is that a realistic goal for you guys?

Bohannon: Yeah it is. It's the goal for us every year. We feel we have as good a chance this year as any other year. Even though people don't necessarily believe that, we believe it and that's what matters to us.

What have you been working on throughout the summer to get better?

Bohannon: Coming around screens, ball handling, getting to the hoop more, defense and kind of keeping guys out of the paint and all kinds of things. Up and down, my whole game. Our whole team has been doing the same thing. We haven't been focusing on one aspect, we've been doing our whole game and overall improvement.

Losing Marcus (Landry), Joe (Krabbenhoft) and Kevin (Gullikson), three guys that were experienced inside, having some new and less experienced guys inside, is there more pressure on the guards to come out early and establish themselves early as a guard led team this year?

Bohannon: We have a lot of experience in the backcourt and stuff, but we're not going to change our game. We've done the same stuff all throughout the year and throughout the past couple of years, you know, since coach Bo Ryan has been here.

We're going to keep working on getting the ball into the post and kicking out for good shots. We're not going to be forcing anything just because people say we have an inexperience….we have some experience and I feel like our big guys will be ready to play.

Being a senior, and like you said, maybe the younger guys look to you a little more. Trevon Hughes was saying that you guys aren't the most vocal guys, is that something that needs to change or can you be a leader in whatever style that suits you?

Bohannon: There are plenty of ways to be leaders. As Trevon said, we're not necessarily the most vocal but we try to lead by example and do things the right way and get everybody going by working hard and stuff like that.

I feel like that's been a good way for us to go about business this past summer. We've been getting into the weight room and getting work done. We've been really blue collar and you know, I think it's paid off for our team. We've made some good strides.

Do you have to get on people's cases?

Bohannon: When there's times, yeah, when the time presents itself we're willing to do that. We all have our own different ways and each person has a different leadership role and each person has been kind of vocalizing that this summer.

Do you feel a bit old?

Bohannon: I wouldn't necessarily say old. You know, time goes fast when you're here. Looking back on it, it doesn't seem that long ago that I was coming in as a freshman and learning the offense.

Four years goes by fast. Me and Trevon are seniors now and we've got a lot of experience. We've got to make this the best last go 'round we can.

Did you sense Marcus and Joe felt the same way last year?

Bohannon: Yeah, anytime you're a senior you kind of take on a little more pressure and want to make the most of the situation you have. Me and Trevon, we have a tremendous situation right now and we've got great guys on our team, a great coach and we're playing in a great program. It couldn't be a better way to go out than winning a Big Ten championship.

You and Trevon came in together and now you're going out together as the seniors on the team. Can you just talk about the journey it's been for you two?

Bohannon: It's been a tremendous journey. We came in together and we were recruited together the whole time. They came in and wanted him to be a point guard and wanted me to be a shooting guard and kind of interchange roles whenever. It's been a great time playing with him.

He's a tremendous point guard and I've learned a lot from him. We continue to grow as players and hopefully throughout the year we continue to grow more and more and take this team as far as we can.

Your shooting numbers last year, were they where you wanted them to be?

Bohannon: No they weren't. I got some shots and they were right there. They just weren't falling. That's been the case. Every shooter kind of goes through that little span where they are right there, feels good and are just going in and out.

Just a couple little tweaks here and there and you've just got to keeping shooting it when it's there. I think there are times when I was a little more hesitant than I necessarily needed to be. This year, I got to kind of get those numbers up and try to be a little more efficient.

Did you shoot any more this off-season than the past or just the same routine?

Bohannon: I've been shooting more. I'm trying to make the most out of this last time going around. I've been trying to get in the gym everyday. I had a lot of great workouts this summer when I was here on campus and at home. Going back with my brothers and other college player's back at home at Linn-Mar High School.

On an average day, how many shots do you launch?

Bohannon: It really depends. When I get on the gun upstairs where it passes the ball back to you I can get to 1,000 and up pretty quick in about an hour and 15 minutes or so. It really depends on the type of day and what I have rebounding or what's getting the ball for me.

Going back to last year, were you happy with the way you progressed defensively throughout the season?

Bohannon: Yeah, I've taken a lot more pride defensively since I've gotten here. It's been a big aspect to my game that I want to improve. I feel last year I took strides, especially off the ball chasing shooters and stuff. I want to take some more strides on the ball defensively this year.

Is that something that maybe you weren't as experienced with coming out of high school was chasing guys?

Bohannon: Yeah, every high school does things different and every player comes into the program with different experience and technique. It's something that I learned new as I got here and I picked up a lot of techniques from Mike Flowers and Kammron Taylor who were here before me. Hopefully I'll continue to keep improving.

You've got some pretty good shooting guards in the Big Ten that you're chasing all the time. It kind of wears you out doesn't it?

Bohannon: We're conditioned to do that. That's what the whole preseason conditioning is to go through to be able to play up and down all the time throughout the whole game. Even though it may look a little tough and you get a little tired, we've been conditioned all preseason the whole time to be able to do that.

When you look at the way you came in as a freshman as far as your defensive play then to where it is today, how drastic of a change has it been?

Bohannon: It's been a big improvement but I'm always looking to get better. No matter how much I've improved, I always see that much more room for improvement and I'm going to continue to do so.

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