It was hard for Wisconsin Badgers players in the locker room to focus on much positive outside the sting of a 74-73 loss to Kentucky in the national semifinals. Still, when pressed, this team admits the best may still be yet to come.
The Badgers fell to Kentucky on a late three by Wildcats freshman Aaron Harrison, narrowly missing a spot in the national title game. Still, they should return plenty of talent next season. Senior guard Ben Brust is the only starter set for graduation.
“This is a sour taste,” said junior forward Frank Kaminsky. “We’re going to be back next year, better than ever. We’ll all be ready, it’s going to be a long road to get back to here but I know we’ll make it.”
The returning players say they can point to this loss as motivation during offseason work.
“Always remember Kentucky, always remember what happened,” said sophomore forward Sam Dekker. “I just think this offseason’s going to be building ourselves up to not let this happen again.”
The players coming back will also have the experience of playing on a big stage against a team loaded with future NBA talent in Kentucky.
“We’ll look through the game and see things we could’ve done better to increase our chances to win,” said freshman forward Nigel Hayes. “We didn’t do those, but now we know what it takes to get back here.”
Brust is joined by fellow seniors guard Zach Bohanon and forward Evan Anderson.
“7 of 8 rotational guys coming back,” said senior guard Ben Brust, the main contributor being lost to graduation. “They’ve gained lot of experience this year and they’re going to get a lot better in the offseason. Got a good chance to do something special again.”