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In 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.