Wisconsin’s Bo Ryan Has Sour GrapesMarch Madness has come to an end with the Duke Blue Devils coming away as the champions. Coach Mike Krzyzewski has won his fifth title and he has done some with some pretty talented freshman on board. But along with the celebration of Duke, there was the agony of defeat from Wisconsin. The Badgers just could not come through this time like they did against the Kentucky Wildcats on Saturday night. And just like that, one of the best seasons under head coach Bo Ryan ends without the glorious ending. You would think that Bo Ryan would lose graciously as a veteran coach, but that was far from what we received. The coach would go on to use two remarks that would resonate with some in the sports world. Quite honestly, it was surprising that he would want to go out this way with these comments. And it should not be something that we accept as just something a coach says after disappointment.
The loss was definitely a tough one for Wisconsin. The team had come so close yet the title ended up seeming so far away. And for Wisconsin next season, there will be a different look minus Frank Kaminsky and Sam Dekker, should Dekker leave school early. Ryan seemed somber when he spoke to CBS after the game, but he spoke on something that he thought about the game. He spoke on the officiating and what he felt like it was. Here is an excerpt of what he said: “It was just a situation where you just have to be able to handle all the hands and the checking. All the body contact — there was more body contact in this game than in any game we’ve played all year, and I just feel sorry for my guys that all of a sudden, a game was like that. I think they’re struggling with that a little bit. We missed some opportunities. They hit some tough shots. You know, it’s just a shame it had to be played that way.” It seemed like Ryan continued to talk about how the game was played and things like that. Though it was true that there was some errors by the officials, there should be no reason for Ryan to blame the officials. Did Ryan forget that his team forgot to take the ball inside consistently in the second half? Did he forget that his team let Grayson Allen of Duke drive past them and finish at the rim? Did he forget they went through a drought in the second half that essentially cost them the game? But conveniently, Ryan can remember all the things that went against his team in his mind and all the things his team did to lose the game. That sounds more like a coach that is bitter about a loss than a veteran coach that has been in his share of rodeos.
But Ryan was not done with his commentary after he said this. He also took a shot at one-and-done players. When answering a question about it being hard to say goodbye to his seniors, this one an excerpt of what Ryan had to say: “Oh without a dout. All the seniors that I’ve had-hard to say that. But every player that’s played through the program, okay, we don’t do rent-a-player. You know what I mean.” Some may say that he may not have intended his comments to come out the way they did, but guess what? They did. In this instant, it seemed like he was taking a shot at programs that recruit players that are deemed one-and-done players. And he seemed to try and put his program on some moral high ground because his team did not recruit these types of players. Honestly, he may want to remember that not many if any one-and-done players are actually considering Wisconsin nor have they ever. And he also may remember that the kids that are leaving have a chance to make some money off their talent, like coaches do when they manage players on the sidelines. He may call them rent-a-players, but for Ryan, he rents most of his players for four years while they make absolutely nothing off what they do for him. All the while coaches like Ryan are getting paid to coach these players and benefitting from what the NCAA has put together in this structure. And while we are on Ryan’s salary, he was actually the 10th highest-paid coach in America at $2.75 million. While the NCAA is pimping these players, Ryan and other coaches are the playas on the sideline crushing a lot while the players break their necks for both and get no money. So for Ryan to get mad at certain players for taking advantage of the system we have and coaches for recruiting them is crazy. And by him saying he would not take a one-and-done player is not true. He would take one in a minute if that would line his pockets more and make his program better if even for one year.
In the end, Ryan comes across as a hypocrite for how he complained about the refs and the one-and-done players in college basketball. We all know he would take one if they considered Wisconsin and we all know that he was not complaining about how the game was officiated when he won versus Kentucky. Several calls were missed in that game and yet there was Bo, silent as a church mouse when it came to that. So maybe the next time Bo should take the high road when it comes to talking to the media. Many roasted Kentucky for having players walk off the court without shaking hands and the infamous Harrison comments. But it seems that some are turning their heads the other way on these Ryan comments. Honestly, both were bad and both actions were that of a sore loser. But Andrew Harrison and Willie Cauley-Stein, who was a Kentucky player that walked off the court without shaking hands, are young kids who will learn from their experiences. As for Ryan, he knows better. He has been in the game probably longer than Andrew Harrison and Willie Cauley-Stein have been alive. Yet he makes this mistake of coming across as a sore loser instead and a deflector of blame. Wisconsin did not lose the game because of officiating or the one-and-done players. They lost the game because they did not make enough plays to win.