Bo knows basketball. It sounds like a commercial, but in reality, it's a testament to his tremendous coaching success. Ryan transformed Wisconsin basketball into one of the nation's top programs by instilling player development and his innovative "Swing Offense." He wanted no part of the one and done era of five star recruits. The future Hall-of-Famer did it his own way.
In fact, radio stations across Wisconsin should be playing Frank Sinatra's famous song, "My Way."
Let's talk about his ingenious swing offense. It's a great neutralizer against more athletic opponents because the concept is to spread the floor and reverse or swing the ball on the perimeter for pick-n-roll plays. The options are three-fold, pick-n-pop, pick-n-roll, or if the defense gets frustrated and starts to hedge, it opens up the back-door cut. Then the defense is on its heels and that creates more space for Kaminsky down low and avoids the double team.
The key is spacing and constant pick-setting by the bigs on the perimeter. That's why Wisconsin beat Kentucky. They got impatient after Sam Dekker and company were knocking down threes, which opened up the floor even more. Conversely, Duke and Coach K must have decided that they will give up the pick-n-pop, but won't let themselves get burned on the pick-n-roll or back door cuts. They remained patient and Wisconsin shot poorly from the perimeter which didn't open up option two or three. Does that make sense?
To make a long story longer, Ryan is a great X and O coach, in addition to his other attributes.
This is what National Player of the Year Frank "The Tank" Kaminsky had to say about Ryan's decision to make this his last season:
— Wisconsin Basketball (@BadgerMBB) June 30, 2015
The Badgers made the NCAA tournament in each of Ryan's 14-season tenure. The 67-year-old has 387 victories in 16 seasons as a Division I coach, including 357 wins at Wisconsin, the most in school history. The Badgers are coming off back-to-back NCAA Final Four appearances.
Forget about his career .764 winning percentage, three Big Ten Tournament Titles, four Big Ten Regular Season Championships, and 4-time Big Ten Coach of the Year awards. Ryan's primary focus for 40+ years was the success and growth of the young men he coached.
Other notable players that he has touched the lives of are Nigel Hayes, Jon Leuer, Kirk Penney, Jordan Taylor, Alando Tucker, and Devin Harris, to name a small portion.
Matt Norlander of CBS Sports has the details on what this means for the Badger program, recruiting, and who could be his successor:
Greg Gard is synonymous with Bo Ryan and Wisconsin basketball, so he seems to be the likely candidate. He is an excellent recruiter and he has been Ryan's top assistant since his days at Wisconsin-Plattsville in the 1990s. The 44-year-old was named associate head coach in 2008, serves as recruiting coordinator, does opponent scouting and game preparation, scheduling, and is director of the Badger Boys Summer Basketball Camps. Quite a plate full.
Ryan's retirement begs the next question, is Bo Ryan's departure a sign of changing times? The endless recruiting, longer and longer seasons, and the added pressure to compile victories, taking its toll on some of the other legendary coaches like Jim Boeheim (age 70), Rick Pitino (age 62), Larry Brown (age 74), Roy Williams (age 64), and Mike Kryzewski (age 68). Prepare yourselves because these guys aren't getting any younger and they might not be far behind from retirement.
Bo Ryan will coach one more year in Madison and one thing is certain, he will leave Wisconsin in better shape than he found it. And I'm sure his long walk to the end will have many followers.
Follow Tim Langevin on Twitter@Sports Rockers