December 7, 2009

Hughes garnering league and national attention

MADISON - One of the best things about college basketball, at least when it comes to Wisconsin basketball, is watching good players develop into great players over the span of their individual career.

Case in point, Trevon Hughes.

As a freshman, the native New Yorker was a bit eccentric in regards to Badger hoops style and erratic on the floor. It was easy to see the talent base was there, it just needed some fine-tuning around the edges.

Enter Bo Ryan and fast-forward three years.

Now, as a molded senior leader, Hughes is simply playing at an All-Big Ten level. He is a match up nightmare for most opposing defenders and creates for his teammates better than anyone else on the UW roster.

After a week where Hughes led his team to a 73-69 win over Duke by scoring 26 points, only to follow it up with a 20-point effort against Grambling State, Hughes was named Big Ten player of the week.

"I look at the everyday part of what he does," Ryan said. "Not just when the spotlight shines. Because that is where you can find out where the true leaders are."

Though many thought the Badgers would struggle on the floor this year, Hughes, as well as his teammates, are proving the doubters wrong. Yes, it's still early in the season and yes conference play is still a few weeks away, but through seven games and with the schedule and results UW has compiled, some are beginning to pay attention to the Badgers.

So much so that Andy Katz, a lead college basketball writer for ESPN.com, named Hughes his national player of the week.

But for Hughes, the honors don't mean nearly as much as winning on the floor. And his head coach has noticed that through his approach leading into the season.

"He did it at the hill, he's done it in the weight room and he's done this and it's been his best year according to every coach that has been involved with him in everything that we've done," Ryan said. "He's been the most focused, not that he wasn't before, but this is his time."

Two years ago, it was Brian Butch and Michael Flowers' time to shine after the departure of Alando Tucker and Kammron Taylor. Last year, it was Joe Krabbenhoft and Marcus Landry's shot at the spotlight when Butch and Flowers were no longer on the squad.

This season, it's Hughes and Jason Bohannon's go at it. And that is the reason Ryan thinks Hughes is off to such a hot start and one that he surely hopes to see continue.

"This is his time," Ryan said. "And he's handled it well along with Jason Bohannon."


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