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Tribute to Basketball's Beginnings Impresses Recruits

Bo Ryan, coach of the University of Wisconsin men's basketball team, likes to tell recruits the story of the sport's humble beginnings - from the day James Naismith hung up his first peach basket in 1891.

Office of men's basketball coach, Bo Ryan, at the University of WisconsinOffice of men's basketball coach, Bo Ryan, at the University of Wisconsin

Bo Ryan, coach of the University of Wisconsin men's basketball team, likes to tell recruits the story of the sport's humble beginnings - from the day James Naismith hung up his first peach basket in 1891. Although many young players no doubt know that story, few are probably aware that Wisconsin's basketball program began during the sport's infancy, with the Badgers' first game taking place in January 1899 and their first share of the Big Ten title coming in 1907.

To illustrate Ryan's favored narrative, Madison-based Zebradog Environmental Design, which handled the interiors of public areas and coaches' offices within Camp Randall Stadium, hung a peach basket found on eBay on an interior column showing a life-size photo of a UW basketball player from that era. The basket, mounted on a chicken wire backboard (another nod to Naismith), hangs 10 feet above the floor in Ryan's office, giving wide-eyed recruits a chance to stand face to face with Wisconsin tradition.

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