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Flowers ‘blossoming’ in second year as key reserve

first_imgIn a winter with what has felt like spring weather, sophomore guard Michael Flowers is blossoming into one of the top options coming off the bench for head coach Bo Ryan’s squad.”Right now he might be in the top-10 defensive players in the league,” Ryan said. “And offensively, his decision-making, his shot selection, and he’s feeling more confident now with his shot, that’s definitely improved too.”The goal-oriented Flowers says that while he may be a good defender now, he can always improve until he’s the best.”That is definitely a personal goal of mine,” Flowers said. “And it’s not a bad personal goal to have because if I do good that means that the team is doing good, but you know I just want to go out there and every time I step out on the court I want to produce for the team and I just want to make the team as successful as I possibly can.”Growing up dribbling a basketball around his house in Madison, the generally unselfish Flowers said playing in front of hometown fans weighed heavily on his decision to attend the University of Wisconsin — Madison and the chance to play for Ryan.”It’s the greatest thing in the world,” Flowers said. “I’m from around here and support and a lot of friendly faces and all, I mean if you’re comfortable, you’re going to have the potential to succeed.”Succeed he has, compiling 5.7 points per game, 3.3 rebounds and 2.4 assists all while playing 24 minutes per contest. The Madison La Follette High graduate has appeared in all 20 games, and he is likely to play in tonight’s matchup against Illinois despite suffering a knee injury late in Saturday’s game against Michigan. “[Flowers] brings an intense competitive nature,” said Ryan. “Everyday at practice, diving for balls, taking charges, he just plays hard on every possession. And he does the same in the games — his intensity is always at a high level, he’s the student of the game, he’s gotten better in his decision making, in his reads, so it’s fun coaching guys who continually show that they have a passion for the game and that they want to get better and that’s Mike.”Even with all the positive impressions Flowers has made on his coaches with the intensity and mental toughness he brings to the court every night, he is hungry for more.”You know I’m never satisfied with my play,” Flowers said. “So you know, to crack the starting lineup is an individual goal that I’m working towards and it’s the best compliment that I can receive from the coaches and so I’m just trying to get the confidence up and have them trust me to be one of the five starters.”With more playing time have come higher expectations. Like the up-and-down game of basketball, the grind and pressure on Flowers can sometimes be too much to bear, so like many before him, Coach Ryan has helped him iron out the rough spots.”Bo Ryan has taught me to never have a bad day,” Flowers said. “As simple as that sounds, but it’s really hard to never have a bad day, I mean you face a lot of adversity out there on and off the court, you just have to handle it, and just the way you handle yourself and carry yourself about is really important. Plus, basketball is a big part of my life — I’m never going to get away from that.”When he’s not on the court, Flowers likes to, always with a basketball in hand, spend time with his family, listen to music, hang out and watch movies all at the same time. His favorite genre of movies is comedy.”If it’s funny, it’s funny no matter when it was made,” Flowers said. “I like, you know, ‘Old School.’ I like ‘Wedding Crashers,’ ‘Dodgeball,’ Ben Stiller movies, Vince Vaughn movies, Martin Lawrence, Will Smith, all those great comedians, I like them all.”Being a man of a thousand facial expressions himself, Flowers said there’s only one comedian that can portray what he represents to his friends and family.”I’d have to go with Martin Lawrence,” Flowers said. “He’s the more physical funny comedians, makes faces, just his gestures is really hilarious.”Despite all the pressure of being a Division-I basketball player, the fun-loving Flowers loves the game and is always readying himself to ignite his team to victory.last_img read more

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Around the Nation: Michigan-Iowa, Texas-Kansas State highlight weekend slate

first_img Published on February 7, 2014 at 12:25 am Facebook Twitter Google+ In a less than arousing college basketball weekend there’s still, as always, a fair share of story lines presented by Saturday’s slate.Wichita State will probably continue its undefeated season. Steve Fisher will continue to coach in a time machine. And someone on Kansas is going to baptize someone on West Virginia.After that, treat yourself to some average basketball and bank on next week being a little more exciting.No. 15 Texas at Kansas State, 1:30 p.m., ESPN3It’s an underwhelming weekend of college basketball when a Big 12 matchup featuring an unranked team sneaks its way into the top games. The Longhorns (18-4, 7-2 Big 12) are white hot in conference play, winning their last seven games including four against ranked opponents. Texas recently met Kansas State (15-7, 5-4) on Jan. 21 and beat the then-No. 22 Wildcats 67-64. Don’t expect this one to be as close as that, as the Longhorns are hitting their stride with a formidable combination of staunch rebounding and up-tempo offense.AdvertisementThis is placeholder textNo. 10 Michigan at No. 17 Iowa, 2 p.m., ESPNMichigan (17-5, 9-1 Big Ten) was brought back down to earth by Indiana last Sunday, after starting 8-0 in the Big Ten. Then the Wolverines got back on track with a blowout win over Nebraska this week and will look to feast on a stumbling Hawkeyes (17-6, 6-4) squad. Iowa has lost three of its last five games — one of which was against Michigan two weeks ago. The Hawkeyes will have a chance if they slow down play in the half court, but if the Wolverines outshoot them, Nik Stauskas, Glen Robinson III and Caris LeVert will catapult the visiting team to a win.West Virginia at No. 8 Kansas, 4 p.m., ESPNKansas (17-5, 8-1 Big 12) dropped its first conference game to Texas last weekend but hung on to its Top 10 spot. West Virginia (14-9, 6-4) has been shaky since the start of conference play — relying heavily on the scoring duo of Juwan Staten and Eron Harris — and will have to have a lot of things go its way to stick in this one. With Kansas, it really comes down to which Andrew Wiggins, Joel Embiid and Wayne Selden Jr. show up. They’re all going to get their shots, and if they’re hitting, the Jayhawks effortlessly put teams away.Baylor at No. 21 Oklahoma, 7 p.m., ESPN2After starting conference play with some signature wins, Oklahoma (17-6, 6-4 Big 12) has sputtered out with two straight losses. The buck doesn’t stop on Saturday against Baylor (14-8, 2-7), a team itching to prove its worth after a miserable start to its league slate. The Bears currently sit ninth in the conference and need to start getting more production out of sophomore Isaiah Austin. The Sooners are a good team for Austin to get back on track against, as they struggle against big men who can stretch the floor.No. 23 Gonzaga at No. 24 Memphis, 9 p.m., ESPNI hate reverting to the mid-major spiel, but Gonzaga is making it easy this year. Sure, the Bulldogs (21-3, 11-1 West Coast) are nearly untouched in conference play, but have played too many close games against far inferior opponents and therefore haven’t earned the pedigree of a Top 25 team. Memphis (17-5, 7-3 American Athletic) is in a prime position to boost its strength of schedule in a game that is so randomly placed in both teams’ conference schedules.Rest of the scheduleAlabama at No. 3 Florida, noon, ESPNNo. 20 Virginia at Georgia Tech, noon, ESPN3Virginia Tech at No. 25 Pittsburgh, noon, ESPN3No. 18 Kentucky at Mississippi State, 1:30 p.m., ESPN3Texas Christian at No. 16 Iowa State, 4 p.m., ESPN3No. 13 Saint Louis at La Salle, 5 p.m., ESPN2No. 11 Duke at Boston College, 6 p.m., ESPNNo. 7 Cincinnati at Southern Methodist, 7:30 p.m., ESPNUNo. 4 Wichita State at Northern Iowa, 9 p.m., ESPN2No. 19 Oklahoma State at Texas Tech, 9:30 p.m., ESPNUNevada at No. 5 San Diego State, 10 pm., ESPN3– compiled by Jesse Dougherty, asst. sports editor, jcdoug01@syr.edu, dougherty_jesse Commentslast_img read more

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Kevin Prince-Boateng: Choosing Ghana over Germany was a great decision

first_imgBeşiktaş forward, Kevin Prince-Boateng, has revealed that choosing Ghana over Germany was the best decision in his career.The former AC Milan attacker revealed this in a Puma interview with Arsenal legend, Thierry Henry.Boateng confirmed his nationality switch before the 2010 World Cup in South Africa and was part of the Black Stars team for that tournament and the 2014 World Cup in Brazil.Overall, he played 15 times for Ghana.When asked by the former Gunner why he chose Ghana over Germany, the 33-year-old highlighted the fact that he was of a mixed race and was discovering himself as he grew up.“That’s a tricky one. But it is simple. If you were like me, like yourself, we are all mixed race. Two sides.When you are young, you do not really know who you are. So you always have a lot of questions, trying to figure out yourself.So I did not feel German 100%, neither did I feel Ghanaian 100%. Of course, I am both Ghanaian and German but a lot of mixed-race people born in Germany feel 100% German.Others also felt they were more Nigerian, Cameroonian, Ghanaian or whatever but I was always in the middle not knowing 100% what I was”.Boateng admitted he was willing to represent Germany at the national level but thought he did not have the right character to be able to make the jump to the first team of the national team.“So when football came in and offered me the chance to play for Germany, I was proud to play for them, to hear the national anthem and what have you.But as I grew older, and kept my brains where I was, I said what I think, I always wanted to prove my point, whatever. It was not so welcomed, let’s put it like that. I always said it’s like this and the coaches will be like ‘no, it is like that’. Obviously the coaches are right but I always wanted to prove my point.So there came a point when I thought that maybe I would not play for the first team of Germany. Because maybe it will not be about qualities. My character did not fit so I chose to play for Ghana and honestly, it is the best decision I have made in my career.Because to go home to see your roots, to see your people, different culture and I had the chance to play two World cups. It gave me a lot”.Boateng (first from bottom left) in a Black Stars team picture during the 2010 World Cup in South Africalast_img read more

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