MADISON (WKOW) -- The season is still months away, but the Wisconsin men's basketball team is already hitting the practice court. The Badgers are preparing for an eight-day trip to Canada in August.
Wisconsin will play five exhibition games against various Canadian opponents. This is the first time the Badgers have taken an international trip since 2006. Wisconsin has six freshmen on the roster. So, senior Ben Brust says this was the perfect time to land 10 extra practices leading up to those exhibitions in late August.
"Any time you can get the young guys, get their feet wet, it helps. So, I think having a lot of court time right now this summer, just messing around with certain things, it's good for them because it will pay dividends in the long run."
The Badgers are working in that big freshman class and welcoming back Josh Gasser. The junior guard missed last season with a torn ACL. He is now running and shooting. However, Gasser says he's not quite ready for full-squad workouts.
"Physically, I'm not able to play five-on-five quite yet, but I'm getting to that point. Mentally, it's the same thing. I haven't played basketball in eight months. You can't just go out there and start playing right away. You've got to ease into it. I hope I'm still the same player I was or better. But I think mentally it's helped me out a lot to watch from the sideline. Gives me a different perspective of the game."
Gasser is returning to a very different team. He just said goodbye to five seniors.
"It's definitely a new group of guys. Bringing in six freshmen. Losing five seniors from last year. In the locker room, it's just a brand new group of guys but, they all fit really well with what we do on and off the court. Very talented kids. I think this year we're going to be pretty good."
Before they see how they stack up against the Big Ten, the Badgers will battle some of Canada's best. They head north of the border August 20.