MADISON — The Badgers’ coaching staff has been able to steal some talent out of Ohio the past few years. Nigel Hayes, Vitto Brown, Khalil Iverson and D’Mitrik Trice all grew up in the state of Ohio.
The Badgers are traveling to Ohio State for a game on Thursday (8pm, ESPN), and it’s a chance for those players to play in their home state and in front of some familiar faces.
With Wisconsin not traveling to Ohio State last year, this is sophomore Khalil Iverson’s first trip back to play in his home state, and freshman D’Mitrik Trice’s as well. The two Badgers are looking forward to their return.
“It’s exciting, I get to see my family,” Khalil Iverson said.
While Iverson is looking forward to seeing his family, this game means more to Trice than the average game.
“I’m definitely excited. I’ve had this game circled on my calendar since the beginning of the year,” Trice said. “I get to go back and play practically in front of a home crowd, my whole family is going to be there, they all have tickets. It’s going to be an exciting game. It’s going to be a rivalry game for me.”
Both players admitted to being Ohio State football fans as youngsters, but said they were never fans of their basketball program while growing up.
The older Badgers, Hayes and Brown, have already made their first trip to Columbus. The Badgers dominated the Buckeyes and won the matchup by a score of 72-48. The duo, then sophomores and taking a backseat to Frank Kaminsky and Sam Dekker, combined for 12 points.
Hayes, a native of Toledo, OH, was asked if beating Ohio State at home last season was ‘extra special.’ “Nah, I’m cool,” Hayes said. “I mean, they got the guys they wanted. I’ll take my two Final Fours and my wins and I’ll carry on my merry way.” He then, of course, dropped his mic.