Transfer leads Badgers hoops

MADISON, Wis. (AP) — Wisconsin point guard Ty Calderwood says the instructions he gives his teammates during practice have nothing to do with one-upmanship.
“I’m not trying to be above them, I’m trying to help them,” Calderwood said.
Calderwood, a junior who came to Wisconsin from Palm Beach Community College in Florida, remembers an early practice session when he had to face off with center Paul Grant.
Grant, a senior and a team leader, didn’t like the way Calderwood passed the ball to him in the post and yelled at him. The 6-foot Calderwood yelled back and told the 7-footer he had to move better.
“As fine a shooter as he is, he sometimes doesn’t look for his shot enough,” Calderwood said. “So I’m telling him, `Get in there and get some screens, do this and do that.'”
Calderwood also didn’t hesitate to take on sophomore star Sam Okey.
He watched Okey during the summer running up and down the court on fast breaks, almost always with the ball. During an early practice session Calderwood asked Okey to give him the ball during a fast break.
“He kind of wouldn’t do it at first,” said Calderwood, who quickly turned his request to a demand.
“Now, when I say `Give it here,’ (Okey) understands it,” Calderwood said. “Of course, he can (run with the ball) because he’s a gifted athlete. But at times I need to handle the ball and give it back to him and then he can finish the break.”
Coach Dick Bennett has never coached a good team that didn’t have a good point guard. Terry Porter at UW-Stevens Point and Tony Bennett at UW-Green Bay are two that come to mind.
“And their decision-making is always 100 percent of the time based on what is best for my team,” Bennett said. “They think like coaches.”
Bennett sees that in Calderwood, who through two victories has solidified the Badgers’ offense by making nine assists and six steals, and one turnover.
“He has a poise about him. He doesn’t get rattled,” Bennett said.
Bennett also likes the way Calderwood defends on and off the ball and rebounds. He is the team’s fourth-leading rebounder, with an average of four per game.
“And in the locker room he is the one guy who asks questions, and that has been a common denominator of the other (good) point guards,” Bennett added.
His performance has been a relief for Bennett, who struggled last season to find such a player.
“You don’t learn to play point guard. We have guys who can play it. Hennssy (Auriantal) can and Sean (Mason) can play it. But I would not describe them as point guards mentally. They play the point still with their own ideas in mind,” said Bennett, who also threw Darnell Hoskins, who transferred to Dayton at mid-season last year, into the mix.
“This kid may not be as talented physically as any of them, but he has a great head on his shoulders,” Bennett said.
That is the part of the game in which Calderwood takes greatest pride.
“There are so many emotional lifts and downfalls during the course of the game,” Calderwood said. “I think it comes down to who’s the toughest, the most disciplined, the smartest.”