Badgers basketball managers headed to Final Four - WKOW 27: Madison, WI Breaking News, Weather and Sports

Badgers basketball managers headed to Final Four

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MADISON (WKOW) -

Throughout the year, the student managers of the Badgers men's basketball team spend their days serving the needs of the team. However, they also harbor some hoops dreams of their own.

"My personal strength is definitely offensive rebounds," says graduate student Julie Danielson. "So, I like to get on the boards."

"People say I need a shot limit because I'm a shooter a little bit," adds senior Jasen Baranowski with a sly smile.

Throughout the season, the Badgers organize games against opposing schools' managers. Those contests typically take place the night before the basketball team's games.

"We took a couple tough losses but for the most part we won," senior Alex Hayden says of this season. "I think we have a pretty solid team."

Indeed, the Badgers were 11-2. That earned them a spot in the 'Manager Games' postseason tournament. The tournament features student manager squads from across the country. Two years ago, Wisconsin nearly made it to the Final Four. That led to some motivation for the returners.

"I cannot confirm or deny that your basketball talent will determine if you're a manager or not," Baranowski responds when asked about recruiting.

This year's teams skills earned them a spot in the tournament. However, it was support on social media that earned them a spot in the big show. Ultimately, the Badgers won a Twitter vote to be one of the eight squads invited to play in a tournament in San Antonio this week during Final Four festivities.

"I'm so excited. I just cannot wait to go down to Texas," Danielson beamed.

Of course, the invitation was just the beginning. The managers also had to figure out how to get to Texas. The organization putting on the tournament gave the team a small stipend but not nearly enough to get all 13 members to San Antonio. So, the team started a Go Fund Me page that ultimately raised $4,465. That sum included a $1,000 donation from Badgers head coach Greg Gard. Before leaving for Texas, Baranowski joked that he warned Coach Gard the managers may be hanging a new banner in the practice gym when they return.

"Yeah. I actually discussed that with him. We're going to probably downsize the banner a little bit, but we're definitely going to get one up there."

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