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January 27, 2011

Catching up with Mike Bruesewitz

MADISON - Like usual, sophomore Mike Bruesewitz had plenty to talk about. Whether reflecting on Josh Gasser's triple-double, the first in UW history, discussing Tim Jarmusz's ability to protect the ball or the way he "screwed" up Jordan Taylor's triple-double bid earlier in the year, Bruesewitz is always a Grade A interview.

BadgerBlitz.com took some time following a recent practice to catch up with forward. The following is a question and answer with the Minnesota native.

Did you ever expect to see a triple-double as a member of the Badgers?

Bruesewitz: Well we almost saw one earlier, but then I screwed it up. I would like to go on the record and say that Jordan yelled at me after I took that shot. He said the score and time. In the back of my mind I was thinking, well, I was trying to get you a triple double, obviously. But fine, whatever.

But no, what Josh did was pretty incredible. He had a heck of a game. Going right in he was very aggressive. When the first shot went down he was extremely aggressive from there. He rebounded the ball extremely well, so he played a very, very good game.

You look back at last year when you were a freshman, did you ever hit a wall?

Bruesewitz: Kind of, yeah. It's not really a physical wall. I mean, it kind of is, but it's just every day. You can't really back off. That's the thing that is a little more challenging, mentally at least. Every day you're going at it and there's not really an, okay, you can take a step back and breathe moment. Even though you may have a day off you still have to get class work done and you still have stuff to do so it's an every day mental grind.

Obviously being away from home for the first time and trying to figure out how to take care of yourself. Living in a dorm is not the ideal situation, I don't think, with a roommate in a 6-by-6 cinder block cell. I think it's just a mental thing so last year me hitting the wall was me kind of wanting to go home and being a little more homesick than anything else.

Did you ever see him hitting a wall at all?

Bruesewitz: Maybe a little bit earlier if we had a short turnaround. I don't think he's really hit a wall too badly. He's a mentally tough kid and he shows it on the floor. I don't think I've seen it. Maybe a couple of times where he was maybe a little bit tired, but that happens to everybody. Everybody gets tired during the season.

You look back at that Northwestern game and you had five guys score in double figures. Is that more of an exception or can that be the rule? Or is it even worth speculating?

Bruesewitz: I think it was a lot of guys shooting the ball really well. I think the biggest thing was that we moved the ball so well so everybody got some really, really good looks against their 1-3-1. They were trying to take some stuff away from us and we were able to manipulate the zone a little bit and get stuff that we kind of wanted and stuff that we could knock down.

When we played Northwestern on Sunday people were knocking shots down. I don't know if it's an exception of if it's going to be a rule, but if we can get guys scoring in double figures like we did against Northwestern we're going to be extremely tough.

It seems like it happens every game where you guys get open shots. Sometimes you knock them down and sometimes you don't. That's obviously what you're going for, especially on the road.

Bruesewitz: Right, exactly. All of us have been working extremely hard. Ever since the summer started me, Tim, Jordan Jon Leuer and Josh and everybody else has been getting in the gym and getting shots up. When we get those opportunities in games we're ready and we can knock those shots down.

Have you seen Tim's numbers at all? He's got 434 minutes of play so far this year and only three turnovers.

Bruesewitz: I've heard about it. It doesn't really shock me because Tim is that type of guy. He makes the right play 99 percent of the time. I don't remember who said it, but if you make the correct play or the easiest play available to you, 90 percent of the time you're going to be a pretty good basketball player. Tim is a heck of a basketball player because he does that. He makes good reads, he plays hard, he sits down and plays defense. Those numbers aren't really shocking. Now that you say them it's kind of a big eye opener, but we kind of expect that out of him.

Were you pretty sore after that game the other day? It seemed like you were on the floor quite a bit.

Bruesewitz: Not more than usual. Some games you get knocked around a little bit more on the floor. Diving on the floor doesn't really hurt. It's getting kneed and stuff like banging into other people. It wasn't too bad. It's just kind of bumps and bruises and some stuff that I'll go see Henry (Perez-Guerra) about the next day, but it's not a big deal.

Where does that come from? That drive within you?

Bruesewitz: That's just kind of how I've always been. Ever since I was a little kid I kind of always played up. I never really got the ball very much so if I wanted to get it I had to go get it myself. Also, having an older brother and a pretty competitive dad maybe helps out a little bit. Playing hockey helps. Just learning how to fall and stuff like that. When I do get up it doesn't hurt that bad.

You played hockey?

Bruesewitz: I played until I was in eight grade actually. I had to make a decision when I was an eight grader. I was either going to get moved up in basketball or get moved up in hockey. I was about 6-foot-1 and didn't have any armpit hair, wasn't shaving yet. I have a 6-foot-9 brother, a 6-foot-2 mother and a 6-foot-4 dad so I figured I'd stay with basketball.

You probably made a wise choice. You get kind of tall on the hockey rink there. Any haircut plans or are you going to keep it going?

Bruesewitz: No, no. My mom is going to come up here in a couple of weeks so maybe we'll get a quick trim. But nothing as of right now. I'm still sticking with it. After the season we'll get some braids and a mullet.

The following is an audio file of the interview with Bruesewitz:
Bruesewitz, 1/26/11


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