Thursday, December 1, 2011

Sometimes I Feel Like a Number

In the picture above, taken last night by Associated Press photographer Gerry Broome, you see a North Carolina player (white and blue uniform) shooting over a UW-Madison player (red uniform).  It was a hard-fought battle; the Badgers had a flat first half, and perhaps a half-court shot at the halftime buzzer launched by Ben Brust of the Badgers woke them up; but, the clock ran out on Bo’s boys and they lost by three on the home court of the always-tough Tarheels.

The player in the photo above, putting up the shot, is a fellow named Harrison Barnes.  I know this because after he made the shot, on the live TV broadcast the camera showed him at a different angle, and above his uniform number (40) I saw the name “Barnes”.  The name of the Badgers player in the picture is…..ah….5.

To write this post, I first looked online for some pictures of the game last night, and then I went to the UW Badgers basketball website and downloaded a roster of the current players.  The point of this post is that I want Bo to relent and put the names of the players on the back of their uniforms.

I believe there are certain times (games, tournaments) when coaches are given no choice in the matter: they MUST put the player’s last name above the number on the back of their uniform jersey.  At least, that’s what I gather, from years of observation.  Because most of the time, the Badgers have nothing but a number on their jerseys.

Yes, I understand that many coaches deliberately leave the player's name off the jersey to show that it’s a TEAM effort and that it’s not about individuals.  Well, as far as I’m concerned, that’s a bunch of crap.

I don’t KNOW the names of all the players, but I really WANT to.  Oh, I know that red-haired fellow is Mike Bruesewitz (31), but that’s the only one I know “by heart” right now.  Hopefully, later in the season, I’ll know the names of most of Bo’s players, because I’ll have seen them often enough to associate a name with a uniform number.  But it would be SO much easier if Bo would just put their names on their uniforms.  It would make me a BETTER fan.  It would increase my enjoyment of the game.

So, if you have any influence with Bo, mention that I suggested this.  And I’m sure I’m not the only one.

And, by the way, the follow in the picture above…wearing the red uniform number 5….is Ryan Evans.

I had to look it up.


  1. What's interesting is that these men -- not kids, I hate that, they're all over 18 -- these MEN are smart enough to get into the UW, smart enough to play for Bo Ryan's team, but not smart enough to remember that it's an individual effort... if their name is on the jersey?

    What is Bo afraid will happen? Bruesewitz will put on his jersey WITH HIS NAME ON IT, and will suddenly decide not to pass the ball?

    Does that mean that people who wear nametags at work are not thinking of the good of the company?

    And couldn't Bo just screen for this in recruiting? Ask a question like "If I put your name on your jersey, will you suddenly forget that basketball is a team sport, and will I suddenly forget how to coach you so that I will be incapable of benching you if you forget that?"

    This kind of symbolic stuff is stupid. And a little name recognition is all many college players end up getting. I'm with you.

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