Krabbenhoft finds niche
JEFF SCHORFHEIDE/Herald photoEven themost casual of fans are aware of several things about University of Wisconsin?smen?s basketball team this season: That Wisconsin has been ranked in the top 25for most of the season, that head coach Bo Ryan does a mean ?Soulja Boy? danceand that junior forward Joe Krabbenhoft has emerged from behind the scenes tobecome one of UW?s most prominent players.Prior tothe 2007-08 season, Krabbenhoft spent the majority of his playing time belowthe radar, contributing at key moments with fundamentals rather than flair andletting his substance and consistency speak for themselves. But since thedeparture of the team?s top two scorers last season ? Kammron Taylor and BigTen Player of the Year Alando Tucker ? Krabbenhoft has inherited one of theleading roles among the team.?I?ve hadto step up as a leader after Alando [Tucker] left.? Krabbenhoft said. ?He wouldbe the one taking shots, making plays, and now I?m stepping up and taking them.?Krabbenhofthas certainly been stepping up. He is fifth on the team in scoring with 7.9points per game, second in rebounding with 6.7 per game, shooting 78 percentfrom the line and 50 percent from the floor and has lead the team in eachoffensive category in at least one game this season. Week after week, he isfilling up the stats sheet, and week after week he provides a substantialperformance, improving in all aspects of the game since his sophomore season.Ryan valuesKrabbenhoft?s versatility and attributes his success to his diligence on andoff the court.?He justcomes every day, and I don?t know what else you can say.? Ryan said. ?There arejust some people who come out and give a great effort every day. The resultsmay vary, but it?s that effort that can help [win games].?Personalimprovement on the part of Krabbenhoft has been responsible for his growingsuccess. ?[My] confidence has gotten better, and I?ve slowed my game down. I?mconcerned with getting better, playing my hardest. I just want to improve.?The 6-foot-7-inchforward from Sioux Falls, S.D., has always had a reputation for being a hardworker and places heavy importance on a strong work ethic to improve hisskills. In high school he earned first-team all-state selection as a senior,led hometown Roosevelt High School to a third place finish at the statetournament and was named Gatorade state player of the year. He first suited upfor the Badgers in the 2005-06 season as a freshman and was later named to theBig Ten all-freshman team.?You?ve gotto take advantages of opportunities to prove what you have learned, how faryou?ve come.? Krabbenhoft said. ?I feel good.?Despite thenational attention he has received as of late, Krabbenhoft feels the main goalis success within the team, and that is where his focus is concentrated.?Thethought of winning the Big Ten Championship, a National Championship, FinalFour, all those that are out there in front of us keep me motivated,?Krabbenhoft said. ?Game by game, we want to win every game and add up thosewins. We want to be considered the best team at Wisconsin.?A minor editing error in the original article was corrected on Feb. 22, 2008.