Photo/screen grab via espn.com
MADISON - We’ve heard from Dan Dakich. It was the words used by the ESPN analyst in the University of Wisconsin’s 82-50 victory over Iowa on Jan. 20 that set off a chain of events that saw Iowa coach Fran McCaffery take Dakich to task publically. And we heard from the guy – Adam Woodbury – that Dakich called “gutless” and a “coward” as a result of the Iowa big man poking at the eyes of the Badgers Nigel Hayes and Frank Kaminsky, and putting a elbow into the back of Duje Dukan’s head. McCaffery called for an apology from Dakich, while Woodbury said he didn’t do anything intentionally but apologized anyway.
On Thursday, it was the No. 5 Badgers (18-2, 6-1 Big Ten) turn to talk about the incident and the subsequent fallout as they continued preparing for their trip to face the Hawkeyes (13-7, 4-3) on Saturday. The overwhelming sentiment is the spat was much ado about nothing.
“That’s just the way it is. It’s really nothing. I didn’t think it was bad at all, anything that happened,” guard Josh Gasser said about the small-scale controversy. “Maybe Dakich needed something to talk about. It’s a 30-point game. He was probably bored.”
Bored or not, the comments stoked the fire of McCaffery and the Iowa fan base. It’s the reason Iowa officials have added extra security for Dakich, who will call the game on ESPN.
“I don’t know if that’s necessary,” Gasser said. “Oh, well.”
As for the guys that were impacted by Woodbury’s antics, it was no big deal either.
“No, I don’t think so,” Nigel Hayes said. “I think it was just an accident. Two accidents in a row. I’m sure they just looked bad. There’s really nothing I can do but try to go out there and play.”
The poke of Hayes came in the first half and could easily be filed under the accident description. The one on Kaminsky in the second half, though, seemed much more deliberate, as Woodbury had his hand on the seniors head before scraping across his face. Following the first game, Kaminsky joked that he was blind before saying he didn’t have a problem with what occurred. And on Thursday, the preseason All-American told reporters he didn’t know much about the tiff between Iowa and Dakich.
“I didn’t dive into it,” he said.
While Kaminsky didn’t publically acknowledge following the back-and-forth between the two sides, it’s difficult to believe he didn’t hear about it a lot. He’s active on social media and it’s been nearly impossible to avoid the debate on Twitter. But his non-reaction to the story is a view held by most members of the team, including Sam Dekker.
“You see it on Twitter and people ask you about it. To be honest, within the two teams, we don’t care. Our job is to play basketball and not worry about the outside stuff,” Dekker said.
“The media’s job and the fans are supposed to get into that stuff, and for good [reason]. That’s what they are there for. They can make the headlines and the stories. We just have to go play and not worry about that stuff. Everyone’s got their role.
“That’s all I got to say about that. I was never mad. I’m over it. It’s basketball. You get hit in the eyes, you get punched, you get elbowed. It happens.”
Sam Dekker is still trying to figure out how he managed to cut his hand on the rim following a big two-handed dunk against Michigan last Saturday.
“I’ve watched it since. I watched to see if there was a spot on the rim I hit,” Dekker said. “You guys have seen me dunk the ball many times but never had a rim cut me.”
Dekker said he didn’t actually notice the blood until he was lining up to shoot his free throw and complete the 3-point play.
“I didn’t feel it,” he said. “I did not know I cut myself that whole time until I looked down and there was blood on my shoes. I spun the ball and blood dripped on my shoe. I looked at it and was like, ‘How did this happen?’”
Dekker was taken to the locker room where trainers used a special glue to close the gash on his right hand, and he returned to the game with a bandage protecting it. He started the second half but down the stretch of a tight game, Dekker was on the bench. Afterwards, UW coach Bo Ryan said he saw Dekker grimacing when he was shooting and that was the reason for the junior’s absence, though he returned for the overtime period.
For Dekker’s part, he didn’t really feel impacted by the bandage or the injury.
“Maybe around the wrist a little bit with the tape but overall it was fine,” he said. “I just didn’t want it to open up again and start bleeding, so I was maybe trying to catch it a little differently but overall it was fine.”
Iowa injury report
Senior forward Aaron White is officially listed as questionable for Saturday’s game with a shoulder injury sustained in Iowa’s loss to Purdue last week. That’s according to McCaffery, who has maintained that he’s not sure if White will be able to play. However, they message apparently didn’t reach White.
“It’s kind of funny. I woke yesterday morning and read an article that said I’m doubtful,” White said Thursday according to the Cedar Rapids Gazette. “It’s just weird, because nobody’s talked to me. I’m just taking it day-by-day. That’s why I think Coach (Fran McCaffery) said day-to-day, and that’s how I’m taking it. Each day I’ve been feeling better so hopefully Saturday, I’ll be ready to go.”
All the Wisconsin players asked about White on Thursday said they expect him to play and are preparing as such.