Ben Brust had a standout career at UW finishing as the Badger’s all time leader in three pointers made. He finished his career with a trip to the final four UW’s first in 15 years.
Q: Did you always love basketball?
A: I grew up like any other kid I played soccer, basketball, and baseball. As I got older towards 7th and 8th grade, I knew I had to pick one to focus on and I picked basketball. It was fun and I had the most passion for it. Towards the end of highschool the sacrifice paid off.
Q: How did Highschool shape your game?
A: It did a lot, it was a great opportunity it was a good opportunity to play in a free flowing system and learn the offensive side of my game. Which impacted me at Wisconsin where I had to grow on the defensive end and sit and learn the older guys helped a lot. I would say high school shaped my development.
Q: Can you talk about your AAU career?
A: I played for a team called the Rising Stars. We had a really good team and I played with some really good guys Rayvonte Rice and Deyonte Smith. We Beat some great teams and played some great players. I committed to Iowa before my senior year, before the coach got fired.
Q: What does basketball means to Illinois?
A: I listen to the radio a lot, and I hear a lot of fans optimistic about the Bulls. Lot of talent in Chicago and in the south. I think people would love if the collegiate teams could keep talent in state and put together some better seasons. Definitely passionate fans in Illinois.
Q: What do you think basketball means to the Midwest? And how does moving the Big Ten Tournament fit that?
A: I think basketball for the Big Ten is something people are proud of. When you go to the Big Ten Tournament you see the fans from every school. They travel to see their teams regardless of the host site.
I think the move to Madison Square Garden is interesting, theres definitely alum in New York. I think I’d prefer it in the Midwest, in the heart of the conference like it has been in Indianapolis and Chicago.
Q: What was your recruitment process like?
A: I was recruited heavily by my final four: Iowa, Stanford, Butler, and Northwestern. With Butler I had a good relationship with Brad Stevens and Stanford I had a good relationship with Johnny Dawkins. Iowa was close to home and Northwestern had the academics.
Wisconsin had closed my recruitment because of scholarships. They had two open with and Blue & Anderson were committed. Ian Markhoff transferred and that was able to help me end up there. After I decomitted due to the coaching change at Iowa.
Q: What was your time like at Wisconsin?
A: It was unbelievable I love the school and the city. I got to go to Lambeau field with alums and friends. It has everything you could ask for. It was the greatest place you could ask to go to school. Not to mention playing basketball. I don’t think you could have scripted a better college career
Q: What was your Favorite memory?
A: I have 3 on the basketball side. The Michigan game where I hit the game winner. The Elite 8 OT game to go to final four and all of Final Four week.
Q: How did you improve at Wisconsin?
A: I got a lot better from day 1 to the time I left. I got better in some ways, and became a different player in a lot of ways. We became an elite defensive team and I learned to play in a system. I learned how to play under control and minimize turnovers. Thinking about the kid who walked in to the guy who left being able to do a lot more.
Q: What was it like to play for Bo Ryan?
A: It was fun, he pushes you and makes you better. He is a proven winner, I learned a lot. I was able to grow as a player and once you earned his trust it all paid off. I just had to keep learning and get better.
Q: The Shot against Michigan?
A: I was coming off a play we drew up, it worked the way we drew it up. It was a cool moment to see the ball go in. the memory lasts forever, people thank you for this and that.
Q: What did the Final Four mean to you?
A: It meant a lot we hadn’t been there in a while. Coach had never been there. I wish we had finished it off, but knew the guys would return with a lot of final power. It set a precedent for the next year.
Q: You are phenomenal at Shooting, is there anything special you did to become so good?
A: I just worked hard and shot a lot. I kept shooting regardless of the conditions. Just a lot of time in the gym. There is no secret trick to becoming good, just hard work and practice.
Q: What was your pro career like?
A: The pro career was short, I went overseas to a pretty good league. At the end of the day I just didn’t want to be overseas. I had a lot of family and I’m glad to be back home.
Q: Can you talk a little bit about what your family support consisted of?
A: My brothers are awesome and they are super supportive. I went to my brothers Stephen soccer games at Bradley. I went to a ton of Johnathans when he was in highschool. They tried to make as many of my games as they could.