Wilkinson earns Sports Buzz Athlete of Month
UW-Madison's Mike Wilkinson was picked Big Ten Player of the Week twice in January, so he's good enough for the Sports Buzz first Athlete of the Month.
The 6-10 senior forward had a couple huge games, with 29 points and 10 rebounds against Ohio State and 28 points and 15 rebounds against Michigan. Unfortunately, he could not single-handedly get the Badgers past Illinois on Jan. 26.
Wilkinson is picking up national attention now and has ESPN analyst Dick Vitale gushing over his unselfishness and fundamentals. Vitale repeatedly told us Wilkinson will "play at the next level," meaning the NBA, during the Illinois game.
His fiancée, Alexis Schrubbe, also has picked up a lot of attention for her musical talents and habit of turning her back on the court in the student section when Wilkinson is shooting a key free throw. She asks another student if he made it or not, and only then looks back at the court. Should be an interesting marriage.
Other candidates for the first Sports Buzz award included the Admirals' Brad Tiley, Dan Hamhuis and forward Simon Gamache, who made the Canadian squad for the American Hockey League All-Star game; Andrew Hutchinson, who made the PlanetUSA team; and UWM track stars Tenia Fisher and Jan Schweitzer, who earned track athlete of the week awards in the Horizon League during the month.
Remember, you can nominate athletes for the Athlete of the Month in the talkback section of the Weekend Sports Buzz, on the last Thursday of every month. The winner will be announced in the State Sports Buzz, which runs the first Thursday of every month.
Birkie to Baseball
February will feature the usual winter sports of basketball, hockey and indoor soccer, but some very special annual events will also be held this month in the state.
The Birkebeiner, the largest Nordic skiing event in North America, will be held in the Cable-Hayward area Feb. 24-26. More than 9,000 skiers and 15,000 spectators are expected.
On Feb. 18-20, the annual international ski jump will be held at Snowflake outside Westby in Vernon County. Some of the top ski jumpers in the world are in the competition. Look for Beyond Milwaukee columns during February with more on the Birkie and ski jump, their history and the areas in which they are held.
The Badger State Games finals will be held in Wausau this weekend. Those games, and the Wausau area, were featured in a Jan. 23 Beyond Milwaukee column.
Baseball starts in Arizona for the Brewers, with the first full workouts on Feb. 20. The lead part of the Sports Buzz columns will be devoted to a Brew Crew Review most weeks from Feb. 18 until the regular season starts in April, since this writer will be in Arizona for the duration of spring training.
The Bucks play seven games at the Bradley Center in February. A highlight will be a Feb. 27 game against Seattle, led by former Bucks player Ray Allen.
UWM and UW will continue their quest for NCAA bids in March. Marquette will try to recover from the losses suffered when Travis Diener was hurting and attempt to make it to some post-season tournament.
The Admirals and Wave also continue play and are challenging for championships again.
The Name Game
Marcie Schwengel of Milwaukee is just one of many participants in this weekend's Badger State Games who has a remarkable story. Diagnosed with terminal lung cancer in 1992, her life, not to mention her figure skating career, looked over. But, Schwengel survived and now is in complete remission. She returned to skating in 2000 and has won gold and silver medals at the Games ... Congrats to former Bucks coach George Karl, who was signed last week as the Denver Nuggets' coach. His first game was a win over the Bucks ... Admirals coach Claude Noel will lead the Canadian team in the American Hockey League All-Star Game ... The Admirals called up goalie Michael Robinson from the Rockford IceHogs of the UHL and reassigned goalie Seamus Kotyk to that team.
Beyond Milwaukee Sports
Dick Kloepfer of St. Germain will serve as Honorary Athlete for the Badger State Games in Wausau. Kloepfer won the National Cross Country Ski Championship at 40 ... Gary Griffin, Bryan Jennings and Brian Fortson of the Racine Raiders football team were named Regional All Americans by Minor League Football News ... UW-Stevens Point football coach John Miech heads a group that will be inducted into the Wisconsin Football Coaches Association Hall of Fame. Miech, with a 113-56-2 record in 17 seasons, has the most wins of any coach in Point history and ranks fifth in WIAC history... Despite record attendance last summer, ESPN has pulled the Games out of Madison. The network claims it lost $3 million in taping the event last year.
Again, if you want to travel to Wausau, the Badger State Games are going on this weekend.
If you prefer to stay closer to Milwaukee, the Bucks play the Los Angeles Clippers at 7:30 p.m. Friday at the Bradley Center.
In college basketball, UWM hosts Illinois-Chicago at 1 p.m. Saturday at the U.S. Cellular Arena. Marquette plays Southern Miss at noon, across the street at the Bradley Center, on the same day. UW travels to Minnesota this weekend for what could be a key game for the Badgers' Big Ten hopes.
UWM also learned this week it will play Feb. 19 in Hawaii as part of ESPN's Bracket Buster tournament.
The Admirals host the Cincinnati Mighty Ducks at 7 p.m. Thursday at the B.C. and then go to Houston for the weekend. The Wave hosts the St. Louis Steamers at 7:05 p.m. Friday at the U.S. Cellular Arena.
Of course, the big show for the weekend does not include any local teams, but still has to be mentioned. The defending NFL champs, the New England Patriots, look to be the choice over the Philadelphia Eagles in the Super Bowl.
Post a comment / write a review.
Disclaimer: Please note that Facebook comments are posted through Facebook and cannot be approved, edited or declined by OnMilwaukee.com. The opinions expressed in Facebook comments do not necessarily reflect those of OnMilwaukee.com or its staff.