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October 22, 2013Follow @miller_zack
MADISON, Wis. - For those unfamiliar with what incoming freshman Riley Dearring can bring to the Wisconsin men's basketball team, you need not look any further than the fact that Dearring comes to Madison from the same coaching tree as former Badger standout, Mike Bruesewitz.
The hard working, leave-it-all-out-on-the-floor type of mentality that Bruesewitz exemplified during his four seasons at Wisconsin is the very foundation of Dearring's game, and was nurtured by coach Tom Dasovich.
Dasovich, who coached both Bruesewitz and Dearring before their arrivals in Madison, described Dearring as, "A kid that has been extremely dedicated to basketball since he was born and a kid who I've known since he was in the seventh grade. All around the state of Minnesota he was always known for his hard work ethic and determination on the court. As he grew, his skill level got to such a high level that he is now able to call himself a Division 1 basketball player."
It is clear that the familiarity with the winning ways of Badger head coach Bo Ryan and his staff from Bruesewitz's recruiting days allowed for Dasovich and Dearring to come to the conclusion that Wisconsin was the best fit for the 6-foot-5, 180-pound guard.
"Coach Ryan really stresses going out and giving 100 percent every time you play; never take a play off," Dearring said. "He really likes those guys who are willing to dive on the ball and make those hustle plays that some other players maybe wouldn't be willing to make. I like to think I'm that guy."
Beyond Ryan, the tradition-rich history of Wisconsin basketball, the college town of Madison, and the fact that he has family in Racine, Wis., all were contributing factors for Dearring as to why he chose to become a Badger.
A Minnesota Mr. Basketball finalist in 2013, Dearring's hard work and dedication paid off as he averaged 19.2 points per game and led his team to a 20-5 record during his senior season.
One doesn't simply average 19.2 points per game by accident; it takes talent and hard work.
"Riley's hard work has turned him into an excellent shooter," Dasovich said. "I think he will end up being a significant weapon from three-point range for Wisconsin."
While Dearring takes pride in the fact that he can shoot it with the best of them, he still knows that there is a three-point-specialist pecking order at Wisconsin that starts with senior guard Ben Brust.
"Ben can definitely shoot the ball," Dearring said with a huge smile on his face, "but I can shoot the ball, too. Ben has so much experience under his belt. I'm just going to keep working and try to learn as much as I can from him."
Aside from his stroke, that might be Dearring's biggest attribute to this year's team: he accepts his role and wants to make the most of every opportunity he is given. With nine guards on the official roster, and with four of the team's most experienced players (Brust, George Marshall, Traevon Jackson, and Josh Gasser) all in the backcourt, playing time could be very hard to come by for Dearring and the rest of the freshmen guards.
"Obviously some guys are going to play more than others, I know that," Dearring said. "My goal is to go out there and compete every practice; to compete in every drill we run; and to make guys work so that they hopefully will do the same for me."
Since arriving on campus, Dearring has improved his strength - what he calls his "biggest weakness" - by adding 10 pounds of muscle. It's something that he says is a must because of the physical nature of the Big Ten.
In short, Dearring is determined to do whatever coach Ryan and his staff asks of him so that his playing time becomes a real possibility. For such a young player, that's all a coach can really ask for, right?
For more Wisconsin Badgers news, notes and discussion, follow Zack on Twitter.