Originally posted on Fox Sports Wisconsin  |  Last updated 11/15/11
MADISON, Wis. Just because Rob Wilson has appeared in more basketball games at Wisconsin than nearly every player on the Badgers' current roster doesn't mean he's guaranteed any minutes this year. At least, that was the sentiment issued from Badgers coach Bo Ryan during his weekly press conference on Monday. This early in the season, Ryan is still shuffling his rotation to determine how all the pieces will fit together. Where Wilson fits in remains to be seen. Wilson, a 6-foot-4, 200-pound senior guard from Cleveland, Ohio, has played in 82 career games for the Badgers. That number represents the second-highest figure on the team, behind only senior point guard Jordan Taylor's 101 games. Despite appearing in the majority of Wisconsin's games the previous three seasons, Wilson has yet to make a significant impact in the team's rotation. And this season represents his last opportunity to accomplish that feat, although it certainly won't be easy. Wilson was one of the first players to check into the game off the bench in the first half of Saturday's 85-31 season-opening victory against Kennesaw State. He played 15 minutes, made his only 3-point attempt and finished with three points, three rebounds and one assist. "He has experience," Ryan said. "So a guy like that is going to be a little more comfortable going into a game early in the year. It's a competitive world and there's guys out there that want minutes." No. 14 Wisconsin plays its second regular-season game on Wednesday against Colgate at 7 p.m. in the Kohl Center. And if the season opener was any indication, there are still some minutes up for grabs as Ryan combs through his lineup combinations. Wilson's competition for minutes appears to be with guards Ben Brust and Traevon Jackson. Brust, a sophomore, already has established himself as the team's sixth man, pouring in 14 points in the season opener in 23 minutes. Jackson, a freshman, played 13 minutes and scored three points with two rebounds. Starting guards Jordan Taylor and Josh Gasser will eat up the bulk of the minutes in the backcourt throughout the season, but there will be times when Ryan opts for a three-guard lineup, as was the case on Saturday. While Brust is the first option in that scenario, the possibility exists that Jackson or Wilson or both could be counted on to contribute in key situations. "I'm hoping to get more playing time," Wilson said during the team's media day in October, "win the Big Ten championship and go as far as we can in the tournament this year." Last season, Wilson never played more than 16 minutes in any game and actually saw more significant time the year before as a sophomore, when he appeared in 30 games, averaging 12.2 minutes per contest. He was bothered last year by a hamstring injury and played in 23 games, averaging 7.3 minutes per game. Ryan is giving Wilson the opportunity in the early season to carve out a niche in the rotation. As with most role players in Ryan's system, Wilson's best opportunity to contribute will be doing the less heralded tasks, including defense, rebounding and screening. "If he wants his, he knows how to get them like everybody else on the team does," Ryan said. "I never leave any doubt about that. That's always been something that guys understand, why certain people are on the floor and how you can get on the floor. That's the way it should be in anything in life." Follow Jesse Temple on Twitter.
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