After practice today, I was able to talk briefly with the Wisconsin men’s basketball team’s newest addition: freshman Jackson Bax. As reported last week, Bax “won” the Badgers open tryout in October to join as the 18th man on the team.

Below is the interview with Bax, transcribed from audio.

Zach Rosen: Did you have any idea that there would be an open tryout at all? Did you ever talk to Coach Ryan?

Jackson Bax: I never talked to any of the coaches here. My assistant coach, Townsend Orr, knew some of the coaches here, and he mentioned that there might be an open tryout. And then I received an email just talking about the information that was required and if you wanted to try out…Pretty much, they could only take one person, so I was like, I might as well go because I thought I had the opportunity to compete at this level.

Zach Rosen: What was the transition like going from a normal freshman to getting an opportunity on the team?

Jackson Bax: At first, I was trying to adjust education wise to a new school and everything. But then, once I found out there was an open tryout, I mean I was already getting in the gym trying to work out, in case there was this opportunity. Once the tryout happened, it was tough adjusting because there’s a lot of paper work to fill out, a lot of places to go in order to get acquired to the team. And, once everything had adjusted, I didn’t have too much trouble adjusting my schedule with the basketball…The players and the coaches made it a lot easier for me to adjust.

Zach Rosen: How soon after did you hear you had made the team after the open tryout?

Jackson Bax: I think the tryout was on a Wednesday. And I received a call on Thursday late evening. They said they just wanted to meet with me; they were still evaluating players. So I thought, there’s a good chance I make the team, but they’re probably going to want me to tryout more…I went in and met with them, and they said I was the one they wanted to move forward with.

Zach Rosen: Great. What do you want people to know about you since all I could really find is a YouTube video I think that you made yourself?

Jackson Bax: Yeah. Just that I’m gonna come in here every day and compete with these guys. I’m just trying to make the starters and everything better. I’m gonna also try to prove to myself that I can compete at this level. And that I’m going to try to organize the scout teams and get them in the right sets…My main goal is to make these guys better. They know what it takes, and I’m going to try to take everything in that they tell me.

Zach Rosen: Are you expecting to redshirt right away or what?

Jackson Bax: I don’t really know where this is going to take me. So, whatever comes up, I’m happy to consider and weigh my opportunities. Now I’m just trying to make these guys better and prove that I can play at this level.

Zach Rosen: What about your game made you stand out?

Jackson Bax: What they said at the meeting was they were looking for someone who could organize the team and get them in the right sets, and I think that really displays my game. In high school, my main priority was to distribute the ball and get them in the right sets. Pretty much create the right tempo that our team was looking for. Since that’s what they were looking for, that’s what made me stand out.

Zach Rosen: Do you think they were looking for a point guard in particular?

Jackson Bax: I don’t know if they were necessarily looking for a point guard, but definitely somebody that could distribute the ball, get the team organized on the court when they’re frantic, and just set them out in the right offenses.

Image: Bax