Editor’s Note: I asked Josh to put together a message for Badger fans following this year’s run to the National Championship game and ultimately his 5-year career, and he was more than willing to share his thoughts on what his time at Wisconsin meant to him. He’s been the guy that’s embodied what it means to be a Badger for a long time – The Captain, the homegrown guy, the lockdown defender, and the voice of reason. It’s hard to say good-bye, but here it is, in his words. – JD
What’s up Badger Nation,
I would first like to say how disappointed, heartbroken, and sorry I am that we couldn’t bring a National Championship back to Wisconsin. I truly believed we were the best team in the country and that we were going to win that game, but those 40 minutes did not go our way, and we got beat.
That’s not what this is about. This is about how much of an honor it was to be a part of this program for the past 5 years, and how appreciative I am of all the fans throughout my career. We could not have accomplished anything if it wasn’t for the support of all you guys. Playing in front of a sold-out Kohl Center crowd every night was special, but even that doesn’t do you all justice. It’s the little things such as the “congratulations” or “I love you” tweets, the high-fives on the street, and filling our hotel lobby before and after games. Seeing the support during difficult times such as this really makes me realize how lucky I am. People coming up to me and saying “thank you” for what we did, or telling us how proud they are makes everything better. It makes me realize just how special of a place Wisconsin really is. Thank you guys for giving me the best five years of my life.
It’s about time to stop thinking about what could’ve been, but rather what was. This team is going to go down as the greatest ever assembled at the University of Wisconsin. We went 36-4 (the most wins in school history), won the Big Ten handily with a 16-2 record, cut the nets in the Big Ten Tournament, made it to the Final Four for only the fourth time in school history, and ultimately made it to the National Championship game. What we have accomplished these past two years stacks up against all of the national “powerhouses.” It pissed me off a little that Wisconsin hasn’t gotten the respect we deserved over the years, which is a big reason why #MakeEmBelieve took off. Since Coach Ryan took over, Wisconsin has been one of the best programs in the country, especially these past two years:
Our accomplishments on the court can never be taken away from us (especially because we run a clean program), but what made this team special was what we were about away from it. Everything you guys read about this team and how great we got along off the court was 100% true. Even though a few of us are immature (Frank), dirty (Bronson), and corny (Nigel), we still had a brotherhood I can’t find the words to explain. We worked together, fought together, won together, and had fun together. Most days I was at the Kohl Center for about 8 hours – 3-4 hours were spent on basketball, while the rest we spent just hanging out, joking around. That gives you an idea of how great our team really was, and what this program is all about. All 16 guys on the roster got along, and they will be considered my best friends/brothers forever. I always knew my college career would end some day, so being able to create relationships, memories, a legacy, and also get a pretty damn good degree is all I ever wanted.
As hard as it is for even me to look back and realize how successful our season was, it’s difficult to ignore the accomplishments we have attained, and I am confident that this will continue in the future and as long as Coach Ryan is at the helm. Wisconsin basketball is in good hands.
On, Wisconsin! #MadeEmBelieve