MADISON - As a freshman in high school Josh Gasser led his Port Washington high school team to the state tournament. Now, a few short years later, Gasser is set to begins his career in the same place he made a name for himself.
At the annual media day event held at the Kohl Center, BadgerBlitz.com had an opportunity to talk with Gasser. The following is a question and answer with one of four freshmen on the Badger roster.
Just talk about the transition from high school to college? How has it been. And then maybe talk about college life in general.
Gasser: The transition is obviously tough for everyone, but myself, I kind of play it the same way I did in high school as I do here. The physicality is different. Defensively it's a lot different. You've got to play hard all the time otherwise you'll make mistakes and it will show.
Is that tough? In high school you play hard but are you really playing hard…
Gasser: You're not playing hard 100 percent of the time, maybe 90. Here, you can't play 90 percent or you won't see the floor. So it's tough but you've got to do it.
Do you feel like you have a shot to break into that rotation this year?
Gasser: That's what I'm hoping. I'm not expecting anything but I'm going to work hard to get that spot. It's open right now for a couple of guys. Obviously I just want to get on the floor and help my team. Whatever I have to do.
What are the strengths and weaknesses of your game for maybe somebody that hasn't seen you play?
Gasser: Strengths, I'm a decent all-around player. I don't do anything spectacular, but I play physical, I rebound well for a guard and I've got good size. I need to work on improving my jump shot and being better defensively. That's what you have to do here.
Would you say you have a killer instinct?
Gasser: Some would say that I guess. You need that as a point guard, though. So you've got to have it.
If you lead your team to the state tournament as a freshman, that's pretty…
Gasser: Yeah, it was a surprise to everyone. You've got to have it to play college basketball, especially at point guard.
Just talk about your relationship with some of these guys. It seems like the chemistry is pretty good. I guess it always is around here.
Gasser: It is. That's kind of why I wanted to come here. I'm out with the guys on all of my visits and we got along well. To have a good team you have to have camaraderie with your teammates. We all get along really well and I like them a lot.
Is it a pretty seamless transition that way, socially?
Gasser: Yeah, socially a lot of guys were just like me. They came from the same background, do the same stuff, have the same attitude and everything. That's what I like.
Are you a Packer fan?
Gasser: Of course. Of course.
Are you and Jordan Taylor (A Vikings fan) talking a little bit?
Gasser: We have a few Bears fans, a couple Vikings fans and a lot of Packers fans. No one is doing well. So somebody has got to step up. But we've had our battles back and forth.
Just talk about the whole recruiting process and then finally getting here as a player. Is it what you expected?
Gasser: Yeah, it is. I was expecting, I don't want to say the worst, but the biggest challenge I had ever faced. It's definitely a tough challenge but I'm up for it and we're all up for it. It was tough but we're doing alright right now.
Coach Ryan was talking about playing in the field house last weekend and how it's a little bit tighter of a backdrop. Does that matter?
Gasser: I played in the field house a month or two ago in the all-star game, so it's not that big of a transition. My high school gym didn't have any backspace so I've played in all types of gyms. At this point it doesn't matter.
Is it tough to shoot in the Kohl Center then with the sightlines that has?
Gasser: A little bit. It takes a little bit to get used to, but that's not a good excuse to miss shots.
What's your most proud accomplishment from high school?
Gasser: Just the team success we've had. My high school team won four games the previous four years before I came. Then we went to state and won a conference championship. That's the biggest thing. We turned that program around.
What was that ride like? It was out of nowhere.
Gasser: It was unbelievable. We didn't really expect it. We just went out there and played. That's what you've got to do. You can't think about all that other stuff.
Is that kind of what it's like here, too? I mean, you haven't played any games yet, but…
Gasser: I can just tell, you go out there and do business. You work hard and don't think about the next day. You just think about what you're doing now to get better.
I'm assuming you've been a Badger fan most of your life. You've followed the team?
Gasser: Yeah. I've been a little bit of Badger and a little bit of Marquette. I'm definitely a big Badger fan now.
Do you have any contact with any of the former players at all?
Gasser: A little bit, not really anything specific. Just since I've been here a couple of the former players have come and played open gym with us. I've talked to them and they're real nice guys too. They give me a couple of little tips.
What did they say?
Gasser: They just told me that if you want to see the floor then you've got to work hard defensively. You can't make turnovers and just keep working hard and you'll see the floor.
Who's been the most impressive player so far on the team?