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Wednesday, August 17, 2022

Of Bucks and Badgers: Milwaukee to hold training camp, exhibition game at Kohl Center

The Milwaukee Bucks will bring part of its training camp and an exhibition game to the Kohl Center this fall, representatives from the Bucks and Badgers announced Monday.

The Bucks will hold training camp Sept. 29 through Oct. 2 at the Kohl Center, and then return to Madison for a preseason game against the Minnesota Timberwolves Oct. 20.

Wisconsin athletic director Barry Alvarez and men’s basketball head coach Bo Ryan, along with Milwaukee general manager John Hammond, head coach Jason Kidd and former Buck and current TV broadcaster Jon McGlocklin, unanimously felt the dates in Madison will holistically benefit the Wisconsin basketball landscape.

“I think it gives our students and local residents the opportunity to see up close and personal what the Bucks are all about,” Alvarez said. “I can’t say enough about how impressed I was this year with the great job Jason did…One of the things I’ve always believed in is the relationship we have with the pro teams in the state. People always ask—we don’t compete with them, we work with them and I think this is a sign to that. We have the same type of relationship with the Packers and it means a lot to us and will mean a lot to our students on campus and our fans in the area.”

Ryan drew parallels between the mutual fandom encompassing Madison and Milwaukee and the sentiments he felt growing up in suburban Philadelphia.

“Having come from a town outside of the city, growing up in Philadelphia, there isn’t a limit to the number of miles you can be away from the city to have that team be your team,” Ryan said. “I know everybody here roots for the Bucks, everybody in my neighborhood, everybody that I’m around, and to have you guys come here and have this experience for the training camp and the exhibition game, we’re extremely excited.”

Hammond explained the idea to bring Milwaukee basketball to the Kohl Center was born from a conversation he had with Kidd about changing up training camp. They considered the possibility of hosting camp at an out-of-state location, but Kidd suggested targeting Madison and Hammond “loved” the idea.

“For us to be able to use this time and stay in Wisconsin and also be able to display some of the greatest players in the world here on this campus I think is going to be a thrill for the University of Wisconsin, but also for our young men who could probably still be in college,” Kidd said.

Both Kidd and Ryan want to bring their teams together to talk basketball and learn from one another. Kidd stressed that both himself and his team can take after Ryan's ability to cope with steadily increasing expectations from year to year.

“I’m still a young coach and I still have a lot to learn about coaching, so [there] is no better place than to learn some of the things [Ryan’s] gone through and the things he’s learned along the way, so hopefully I can use those things,” Kidd said.

Hammond emphasized that he wants to emulate the success the UW basketball program has seen over the past few years and hopes to captivate the state in much the same way the Badgers have.

“We feel like we are the state of Wisconsin's team, not just the city of Milwaukee, but this entire state,” Hammond said. “We need the support and we appreciate the support.”

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It’s unclear if, or how many, training camp sessions will be open to the public in Madison, but tickets for the preseason date with the Timberwolves will go on sale in August.

Alvarez, Ryan support new arena

Hammond and Kidd attended the Legislature’s Joint Finance Committee meeting at the Capitol Monday morning to weigh in on the proposal to build a new arena in Milwaukee to replace the Bradley center. In support of Hammond, Kidd and the rest of the Bucks’ organization, Alvarez posited that building a new arena in Milwaukee is a necessity.

“I personally would say the Bucks do need, and our state does need a new arena,” Alvarez said. “I think it’s important for us to keep pro basketball in the state. I think the financial impact it will have in Milwaukee as well as the state makes it a no-brainer to me. I think it’s something that’s a must.”

Ryan didn’t hide his feelings about the proposed construction of a new arena either.

“For the state of Wisconsin to keep the franchise and keep it strong and to have a situation where you have a new arena that will then generate other construction and other streams of revenue that come in...I graduated in 1969 so I’ve forgot a lot about economics but I haven’t forgotten that factor, of something going in that’s in a position to help everything else around it,” Ryan said. "I think it is the state team, it’s not just the city of Milwaukee or the county. I see a lot of benefits to what they’re talking about and what they’re trying to do, so that’s just my opinion.”

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