Originally posted on Fox Sports Wisconsin  |  Last updated 11/7/11
MADISON, Wis. It's no secret that Wisconsin men's basketball coach Bo Ryan values defensive smarts in a player above all other traits. There is a reason, after all, why last year's Badgers team ranked fourth in scoring defense and only 159th in scoring offense.Freshman guard Traevon Jackson already has demonstrated a willingness to embrace Ryan's defensive principles. Consequently, he's already found himself vying for substantial minutes in the Badgers' rotation.During Wisconsin's 80-54 exhibition victory against Division III Wisconsin-Stevens Point on Saturday, Jackson played 17 minutes, the most among the team's five true freshmen."I think for those that have been around here a while, they know the kind of people that usually get a little bit more of an advantage of playing time when I'm the coach," Ryan said during his weekly press conference on Monday. "I think the word has spread over the years that you can be a pretty good shooter, but if you're not playing defense, not making the reads "Trae has developed very quickly and has adopted our reads a lot quicker than some of the other guys. That's why he's got the potential to get more minutes."Jackson, son of former NBA player Jim Jackson, is a 6-foot-2, 208-pound guard from Westerville, Ohio. And his frame makes him a good fit in Ryan's tough-nosed, defensive-minded lineup. That does not mean, however, that he is incapable of scoring.Jackson finished his career at Westerville South High School as the program's all-time leading scorer. He earned second-team all-state honors as a senior, when he averaged 18.3 points, 7.0 rebounds and 4.4 assists. On Saturday, Jackson went 2 for 4 from the field, making his only 3-point attempt. He finished with five points, two rebounds, two assists and no turnovers. He also appeared to solidify the fourth guard spot in the Badgers' rotation behind starters Jordan Taylor and Josh Gasser, as well as sixth-man Ben Brust. Ryan said Jackson and fellow freshman guard George Marshall make good use of their practice time by challenging Taylor, the All-American point guard, during drills."Jordan Taylor is not blowing by either one of them," Ryan said. "They love to go against Jordan, which is a good test. Who wouldn't if you're playing on a team? I want our guys to have that attitude."Marshall played four minutes on Saturday, scoring two points, and it's unclear at this stage how he'll fit into the rotation of guards. Ryan said he had not discussed the idea of redshirting any of his players, though that decision would have to be made before players appeared in Saturday's season-opening game against Kennesaw State.One player whose role appears in flux because of Jackson's emergence, at least in the early going, is senior guard Rob Wilson.Wilson has averaged less than nine minutes per game in three seasons, appearing in 81 contests. Last season, he played in 23 games, averaging 1.6 points and 1.0 rebounds, although a hamstring injury slowed him considerably throughout the year.Wilson played nine minutes on Saturday and did not score. He finished 0 for 3 from the field with one rebound and one assist.The more Jackson shines on both ends of the floor, the less time that allows for Wilson or any of the team's remaining guards."Trae played because he's learned a lot of things," Ryan said. "And he's using them."Follow Jesse Temple on Twitter.
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