April 6, 2009

Catching up with Mike Bruesewitz

It's been a month of emotional ups and downs for Mike Bruesewitz.

Coming off a devastating 60-56 upset loss to Bloomington Jefferson in the first round of the Class 4-A Minnesota state basketball tournament, the Wisconsin-signee has seen a handful of post-season awards come his way.

Sunday night, Badgerblitz caught up with the Badger commitment to talk about his senior season which was cut short and his future in Madison.

The following is a question and answer segment with Bruesewitz.

Could you give us a brief recap of your senior season? How was your senior experience?

Bruesewitz: It went well. Obviously it ended earlier than our team had anticipated. I had a heck of a time playing with all of those guys. We had a blast; it was a lot of fun.

I'm sorry to bring this back up, but could you explain what happened during your first-round loss to Bloomington Jefferson at State?

Bruesewitz: Well, they did outplay us. It's as easy as that. A lot of things went wrong for us and a lot of things went right for them. Our main focus going into the game was keeping their two key players under control. As a defense we didn't want two players to beat us. On the season between those two players averaged about 40 points a game. During our game at State we held them to a combined 20 points. Our plan was to take those guys out of the game and make their role players beat us. They hit all the shots they needed to, along with their free throws. Their role players played great. They did what they needed to do to beat us and we just didn't take care of business.

What were you able to accomplish throughout the course of your senior season?

Bruesewitz: From a personal standpoint I was able to record 1,000 points and 1,000 rebounds. That's was a pretty cool accomplishment. It was a goal I set for myself as a freshman and it feels great to accomplish that. One thousand rebounds is a great thing, it's something I pride myself on. As a team, we lost three games. Everyone wants to win a State title but it just wasn't in the cards for us. We had a heck of a run as a team. I feel that I've grown as a person and basketball player throughout the course of this season.

Could you touch on some of the post-season awards you have won?

Bruesewitz: Well, I was named Gatorade Play of the Year. Also, I was named the Metro Player of the Year in both major news publications in Minneapolis. To be honest, I was really shocked when I won those awards. To look at the class we have here in Minnesota, it's an honor to be named in the same breath as some of those guys. We have a bunch of guys who will be going high major D-1 in our class. I was truly shocked to receive those awards.

Do you know when Mr. Basketball will be awarded?

Bruesewitz: They usually have a banquet for it, but this year they are just going to announce it. It should come out within the next few weeks. If I get it that's great; there are a bunch of other guys to deserve it. Guys like Royce White, Rodney Williams, Trent Lockett, Raymond Cowels and Sam Dower all deserve that award. I won't be heart-broken if I don't get it.

Could you give us a brief recap of why you chose the Badgers? What do you look forward to next season?

Bruesewitz: Coach (Bo) Ryan is a huge reason. He's a great coach. I've talked to about a thousand people regarding Wisconsin and they all know Coach Ryan. No one has ever said a bad word about him. I have yet to find one person who doesn't like him. He's a great guy, great coach, and Wisconsin is a great program. They had the fourth toughest schedule in the nation and they ended up finishing fourth in the Big Ten. That was even after a six-game losing streak. They went through a tough skid and ended up bouncing back. It's a great program and Madison is a great school. I'm just looking forward to getting on campus.

Living in Gopher country do you get harassed for committing to Wisconsin?

Bruesewitz: Yeah, I still get it. People give me crap for not being a Gopher. Coach Tubby Smith didn't end up offering me. Also, I ended my recruitment early in the process because I found the perfect fit for me. I really do love Madison. It's a great town and the program is great. I still have people getting on my case for not being a Gopher, but it just didn't happen that way.

Does it help to know that Wisconsin currently has a few Minnesota natives on the roster?

Bruesewitz: Oh yeah, definitely. I've worked out with Jordan Taylor a bunch. I actually played against Jon Leuer as a sophomore. I'm real good friends with both of those guys. I know Jared Berggren a little bit, I've spoke with him a few times on campus. They treat me as one of the guys, so it's great to have a few kids to relate, too.

Have you been in contact with any of the other commitments? Guys like Diamond Taylor, Vander Blue or Evan Anderson?

Bruesewitz: Last time I saw those guys was during the Ohio State game. I sat and spoke with Van and Diamond for about an hour. I've been able to hang out with those guys a couple of times on campus. We've all exchanged cell phone numbers and we text back and forth once and awhile. We check-in and see how things are going. When we played Van in Minnesota and I actually called him that night to talk about the game. I'm good friends with all of those guys.

As a freshman do you expect to play? How will you contribute to this team next season?

Bruesewitz: Well, as a competitor I expect to play. As a basketball player I'm trying to get on the court as much as possible. I'm not use to sitting on the bench, but then again I have to see where I'm at when I come in. It's not out of the question that I might redshirt next season, but my goal is to come in and play. I want to contribute as much as possible.

When I come in I hope to help fill the shoes of (Joe) Krabbenhoft and (Marcus) Landry. I'm the kind of big guy who can come in and do a little bit of everything. I can step out and shoot; I also like to hit the glass and rebound.

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