MADISON - When the decision was there to be made, freshman Evan Anderson understood he wasn't ready to contribute at the collegiate level. So, instead of sloughing through his first season as a Badger while getting minimal minutes, Anderson realized it was in his best interest to redshirt.
And, like a redshirt is intended to do, Anderson is developing at a steady rate.
"You never know about big guys," Ryan said following Friday's practice. "He's not worried about whether he's on the floor. By redshirting you remove all the, 'Okay, I'm not ready, I know I'm not ready yet, but I can get ready.' He listens. He reacts."
Having watched Anderson practice on a regular basis throughout the course of the season, it's becoming obvious the 7-footer is starting to develop a bit of confidence with his game. He's got a physical presence in the paint, a nice set of post moves and a better than advertised jumper.
He's not at a level where he'd be able to contribute yet, but its evident he will get there at some point probably sooner rather than later.
"He's good natured," Ryan said. "You can rib him a little bit. Get into him and needle him a little bit and he doesn't think you're being anything other than keeping him loose. He likes the fact that people will talk to him."
Though Jon Leuer went into Michigan State as one of the top scorers in the Big Ten, he struggled to find his groove inside the Breslin Center. In that game, Leuer finished with just 10 points on 3-of-9 shooting and also commited three turnovers, one of which allowed MSU to spring for an easy dunk late in the game.
"He wasn't going to force anything," Ryan said. "You're talking about a team that was picked to be one or two in the country with a lot of depth and everything else. Jon had one of those games where they paid a lot of attention to him and still, we were right there.
"I never under or overreact to anything so it's not like I can say Jon needed to do this or that. No, he just needed to take care of the ball and he knows that. But you don't sell him out."
Though Rob Wilson has received a decent amount of flak for some questionable decision-making late in the game, Ryan isn't about to denounce his junior shooting guard.
"He had a tough situation with the ball going through his hands and the no jump stop," Ryan said. "When you're in a game and then its like that it's easy for people to look and say, 'Well what did he do that for.' If you've played the game a lot and you've been in those pressure situations, then talk to me. That's my theory.
"He just let some things get away from him and Josh Gasser came in and spelled him. Tim Jarmusz did a great job on their three man, Durrell Summers, but Draymond Green hit some big shots.
"Green was the difference maker in the game."
-Jon Leuer, averaging just less than 19 points per game, is one of 30 midseason finalists for the prestigious Wooden Award, presented to the nation's top player.
-Jordan Taylor, in the midst of his best season as a Badger, has been named one of the 20 finalists for the Bob Cousy award, given nationally to the top point guard in college basketball.