With Wisconsin set to play in the Sweet 16 tonight, this week’s Throwback Thursday Q&A shines the spotlight on Mike Bruesewitz. Bruesewitz, who is in his rookie pro season with Hapoel Jerusalem of the Israeli Winners League, averaged 4.6 points, four rebounds and 1.2 steals during his Wisconsin career (2009-2013).
We got in touch with the former Wisconsin bundle of energy to discuss his much-talked-about hairdos, new pro career (view his player profile) and the Badgers, among other things.
Read BTN.com’s full email Q&A with Bruesewitz below.
BTN.com: You were known in part for all of your wild hairdos. Which one was your favorite, and why?
MB: By far my favorite was the cornrows, with the Kramer being a close second. I would have kept the braids in longer, but they fell out after two days, and I was too much of a wimp to put them back in. The Kramer was awesome because I am a huge Seinfeld fan and the reactions of the fans were classic. I think I upset more old time Indiana fans then anyone ever both with my play and my hair. The reactions to both were pretty extreme and almost everyone called me several names for both but that was kind of the point. I have been a giant gingery polar bear my entire life and people are always quick to point it out since they lack any creative bullying skills. I figured the best way to shut them up is throw it in their face with a giant Afro, cornrows, or blowout.
BTN.com: Do you keep in touch with Ryan Evans, and if so, is he still doing the jump-shot free throw? Also, you ever give him a hard time for doing it?
MB: Haven’t kept in touch with him too much, but he is having a pretty good year in the D-league. He stopped shooting the jumper as a free throw, and I never gave him to much guff for it because I wanted to win games. I will say there were some pretty funny conversations with other teams while sitting on the block. Most of them went like this:
Me: Alright Rev, get your stats up.
Opponent: So…..this dude is for real?
Me: Yes, yes he is.
Opponent: I have never seen this before; does he shoot like this during practice, too?
Me: Depends, usually he does on the day that ends in Y.
Opponent: (blank stare) This is the craziest thing I’ve ever seen.
At that point, the exchange would be over, and I would have the same conversation with the next person I happened to be standing next to on the foul line.
BTN.com: What is the biggest key to Wisconsin advancing to the Final Four?
MB: I think a big key for them is continuing to be a strong defensive team. In all of their losses this year, they really struggled on that end of the floor, especially with dribble penetration, which is a rarity for a Wisconsin team. Also, continuing to push the ball. This team is very successful when it plays at a higher pace because of all the firepower it has on the offensive end. One player that must continue to stay aggressive is Josh Gasser – when he starts rolling, this team is tough to stop.
BTN.com: If the Badgers make it to the Final Four, how will you celebrate?
MB: I will probably be on my usual Steven Glansberg swag watching the game by myself in my apartment. Seriously, I feel like the kid from School of Rock sometimes. I will probably send a few texts to the guys I still talk to on the team and then get back to being my usual dorky self and read whatever book I have recently downloaded to my iPad. Hopefully, they will make it over the hump this year and I will be able to congratulate those guys when I make an appearance back in Madison this summer.
BTN.com: Frank Kaminsky’s season – did you see this happening this year?
MB: Did not see Frank having this type of season but saw he was going to have a big year. He came in as a freshman and earned some minutes and continued to get better and better last year. He is probably one of the more skilled 7-foot guys I have ever seen, so him putting it all together is great to see.
BTN.com: Cliches aside, how do Bo Ryan and staff routinely churn out these unknown reserve bigs-turned-studs?
MB: There is a rule my high school coach has, every inch you get past 6-6, the weirder that person is, and the more time they take to develop. Most big guys come into college having a hard time walking and chewing gum at the same time. Seriously, in high school most of them look like Bambi on roller skates. It takes bigger guys a couple more years to develop and get used to their gangelyness (I made this word up). Wisconsin is a place where you have to wait your turn and where they are willing to take their time to develop the bigs’ skillset. This is why they are constantly turning out quality bigs year after year.
BTN.com: This should be fun: What is your best behind-the-scenes Bo Ryan story that only you and your teammates would know?
MB: Playing at Illinois my sophomore year was probably one of the funnier things I have heard him say, and it was directed toward me. It was during a timeout right after I had given up and And-1 to Meyers Leonard. I was subbed out and standing off to the side frustrated and attempting to avoid the tongue-lashing I knew I was about to receive. He was calm at first and started talking about the next offensive set. After he finished the play, he turned to me and uttered something like, “And we gotta be tougher, some of you guys are playing so soft. Mike, we told you to go under the screen, just go ahead and get a dress with all that hair.”
When he first said it, I was a little shocked and didn’t quite understand in the heat of the moment. But then it hit me about five minutes later, and I could not help but just laugh about it and it eventually became quite the joke within the locker room. Also, it was quite hilarious because I had dressed up as Orphan Annie for Halloween that year, which was my best costume ever.
BTN.com: How about Bo’s funniest interaction with an official that you were able to hear?
MB: I thought almost all of his interactions where hilarious. Seriously, he gets so animated and red in the face if an official doesn’t call something he likes. His most classic line is, “We teach defense every day, and that’s how we teach it.” He had some better lines, but honestly I just learned to shut them out and do my best to focus on the next play.
BTN.com: Other than your teammates, coaches and gameday, what do you miss most about being a Wisconsin Badger?
MB: I really miss the fall and football game days. Those are some of the most fun times I had at school. The amount of school/state spirit that comes out on home football games is crazy and is an experience unlike any other. Waking up to everyone blasting music at 9 a.m. getting ready for the big game is a special feeling. The first couple of Saturdays are great, because the weather is still warm and everyone is enjoying the last few days of warmth. Grilling out and watching all the people constantly flow to the stadium is something I will always remember.
BTN.com: What’s your favorite part of playing overseas in Jerusalem?
MB: I love not having to do any school work. I still read but never again will I need to purchase a textbook or hand in a paper. Also, I love Fridays, also known as Shabbat, or the day of rest. Almost everything is closed and everyone is home by 4 cooking a huge meal for their family and guests later that night. After dinner everyone just relaxes and enjoys their time with the people they care about the most. I have been fortunate to be able to find a few families that I join whenever I so choose. Also, I have some really great teammates that have made this season really enjoyable.
BTN.com: Your least favorite part?
MB: Sometimes things get a little lonely and girls are a little tough over here. They all have boyfriends or are working/studying. School over here is very serious and they study all the time, which puts a damper on my social calendar, because all I have is time now since we practice once a day. I also miss my car (Patty Mayonaise) back home. I am currently driving a Fiat Puto, and I am grateful for the car, but it is a serious struggle getting in and out of it. I feel like I am driving a clown car at times. This is a tad bit ironic to me, because I was often compared to Bozo the Clown during my playing days at UW.
BTN.com: I assume the new home fans have taken to your playing style, constant hustle?
MB: I have had only a few opportunities to show my stuff this year on the floor, but have performed well. Fans of Jerusalem are awesome and have a deep love for the club. It is very similar to how soccer fans love each of the clubs, and I have gotten a lot of support from them even though I have spent most of my time on the bench. I am playing on one of the best teams in Europe and hopefully will be advancing to the Eurocup Final 4 after this week.
BTN.com: What American staple food do you find yourself craving the most?
MB: Mexican food and more specifically Chipotle. I need a half-chicken, half-steak burrito with guac in my life the second I get back stateside. Also, I have yet to find a place that makes a quality chocolate shake, and that is another must have for me.
|About Brent Yarina||BTN.com senior editor Brent Yarina covers football and men’s basketball for BTN.com. He writes the popular uniform feature “Clothes Call,” which also focuses on the latest cosmetic changes across Big Ten arenas and stadiums. Read all of his work here. You can subscribe to Yarina’s RSS feed and follow him on Twitter @BTNBrentYarina.|