Chat with Wisconsin's Alando Tucker
At the beginning of the season, Tucker, a senior forward, quickly showed that he was one of the premiere players in college basketball this season. He is now prominently featured in any talks about college basketball's player of the year.
This season, Tucker is averaging a career-high 19.2 points per game, to go with 5.0 rebounds per game. He has hit double digits in every game so far this season and 28 straight, dating back to last year.
The Badgers are off to a fantaastic 20-1 start and, along with Ohio State, are the favorites to win the Big Ten championship. Wisconsin has won 16 straight games,
Send in your questions now and catch Tucker for the answers Friday at 12:30 p.m. ET.
Buzzmaster (12:30 PM)
Sara, Madison WI
What are your favorite and least favorite Big Ten arenas to play in, excluding the Kohl Center?
Alando Tucker (12:30 PM)
Well, I would definitely have to say Michigan State is one of my favorite and Illinois where we just won. They're the toughest to play in. The fans are crazy down there.
I am a displaced Badger fan living in Iowa. What is your main concern regarding Iowa on Sunday?
Alando Tucker (12:31 PM)
Well, Iowa's a tough team at home. They've always been strong there. They have and edge on us. Going in there, we just have to make sure we keep the crowd out of it. They're tough to beat.
I read an article that you've never smoked before. How then do you explain the smoking of Michigan on Wednesday? Are you a liar?
Alando Tucker (12:32 PM)
That's the only kind of smoking that I give. I guess what I do on the basketball court, if that's considered smoking, then I have to be held accountable.
Nick: (Madison, WI)
What's Coach Ryan like off the court? And most importantly, does he ever do the Hambone to get you guys pumped up for big games? That was one of the coolest things I've seen when they played that during Saturday's game. Good luck with the rest of the season!!
Alando Tucker (12:33 PM)
(laughs) I'm glad he's never done the Hambone in person. That was specifically for TV. That's his hidden talent. Off the court, he's pretty cool. I think a lot of people see him intense on the court, but he's different off the court. He's always telling jokes.
Kanninen Fan (Chicago, IL)
Doh, huge Badger fan here in Chitown. How is the team reacting to all the national attention? Must feel good to finally get the RESPECT.
Alando Tucker (12:35 PM)
For me personally, I think it's great. We've responded well. We try not to pay attention to all the hoopla. We've done a great job separating what goes on with the rankings and what goes on on the court. Now we have a target and with that target comes responsibility. We're taking it and running with it. We've worked hard to get here and we don't want to give it up.
Matt (Wausau, WI)
Alando all I have to say is I LOVE YOU!!
Marc - Boston
With a long schedule - is it hard to get excited about every game?
Alando Tucker (12:36 PM)
No, not really. I'm the type of player that loves games, as opposed to practice. Practices are intense. The games are easier, for me. We're more prepared and ready to play. Plus the season goes by so fast. The games are a lot better than practice.
Matt (Bloomington, IN)
How do you keep yourself from doing too much? Your self-awareness, poise, and leadership are amazing.
Alando Tucker (12:37 PM)
I think it comes from experience for me. I've been in a lot of tough situations and been in a lot of games. Especially with me being the leader of this team, everyone's looking at me. If I crack at any point, the team cracks. But it's something I've dealt with since high school. That prepared me for the situation I'm in now.
Many guys have pre-game rituals they do before every game for good luck. Do you have anything special that you do before any game to bring you good luck?
Alando Tucker (12:38 PM)
With me, it's funny because I don't believe in luck. Guys tell me before games, good luck. I say, no luck, it's all skill. It's one of those little things to get mentally prepared. I've always done that since high school. I have no pregame rituals. I just like to prepare in my head what I'm going to do. I listen to music. That's one thing I do to get pumped up and motivated.
You guys got a big overtime scare from Winthrop earlier this year...what was your impression of those guys?
Alando Tucker (12:39 PM)
Winthrop came ready to play. What we took from that game is that everyone that's going to play us is going to play their best. In the past, we were looking for teams that were highly ranked to beat them. That's what people are trying to do against us. Every team is going to try their best. But they're a good team, especially when they're shooting the ball like they were against us.
Scott (Beaver Dam, WI)
Hey, do you keep in touch with Devin Harris at all and does he offer you advice?
Alando Tucker (12:41 PM)
Yeah. We don't talk a great amount, but we do talk here and there. He was at our last game against Michigan. He'll offer advice on my game. He'll tell me how to handle things on the outside with agents and all that for the future. We don't talk all that often, because I know what his schedule is like, so I don't want to bother him. But when he calls me, I'm always open to talking to him.
Congratulations on the season so far and good luck the rest of the way. What are you thoughts about playing in the NBA?
Alando Tucker (12:42 PM)
My thoughts on the NBA - it's been a long time dream. Every time I step on the court, I feel like I'm one step closer to my dream. That seems unreal right now, because when I was growing up, I was always told I couldn't make it. I always wanted to prove them wrong.
Harold (Durham, NC)
were there other schools you considered playing for?
Alando Tucker (12:43 PM)
Yeah, there were other schools I considered, but Wisconsin sold themselves really well. And then Coach Ryan's style of play - it appealed to me. When I saw how the team bonded here and how it was a family atmosphere, it took me just a couple of days to decide I was coming to Wisconsin.
You've played against Oden already. Does he look like he's about 40 in person too or is that just the tv?
Alando Tucker (12:44 PM)
He's definitely an old man right now at his age. He's raw talent right now. He still has some things he has to work on, but right now defensively, he's as tough as they come. He blocks a lot of shots. He has some upside. He'll just have to tone some of that raw skill up. But as far as his looks, the only thing I can say is that he's a man right now for his age.
G, (Chicago IL)
With your team record being 20-1, do you worry about peaking as a team too early in the season?
Alando Tucker (12:45 PM)
No. The main reason is how we prepare for each game. We never relax throughout the season. We still have something to prove. I try to tell people that we still have something to prove. I tell them that we're not getting our due respect. We are getting it, but that's the mentality that you have to have. Teams that relax and take everything and settle for it, those are the teams that drop out from being the top teams in the nation.
Bleacher Creature (Chicago, IL)
How do you (and the team) focus and execute so successfully with such high expectations placed on you?
Alando Tucker (12:47 PM)
Coach Ryan does a great job of making sure we're ready for any situation in a game. Whether it's a last-second shot or anything else, so we're composed in those situations because we've seen it in practice. We're able to do that because Coach Ryan makes sure we're prepared.
Erik (Stevens Point, WI)
Alando, Who's the toughest defender you've faced in your college career (aside from the constant double and triple teams)?
Alando Tucker (12:49 PM)
Wow. I have to say most of the time it's teams that throw a lot of different guys and matchups on me. Teams are looking to double team me. A lot of players have done a great job of leading me to the help side. One defender I've played against that's tough is a recent one - Brian Randle.
You're from the Chi, you have to be cheering for the Bears next Sunday right?
Alando Tucker (12:49 PM)
Oh yeah. I'm a big Bears fan. I have my orange and blue on here. I know I'll be hated by a lot of people in Wisconsin, because they're all about Green Bay. But I'll always root for Chicago, no matter where I'm at.
Dan S. (New York, NY)
Do you ever running specific plays out of the swing offense or does Coach Ryan leave it open for whoever gets the best shot?
Alando Tucker (12:51 PM)
Well, we kind of go through who has the hot hand. But we have different plays, we don't just run the swing the whole time. If we run a play and we don't get a shot out of it, then we'll go back to the swing. But every team knows that the swing is our bread and butter, so we have to have other plays to run. It's a mixture at times.
Jeff, La Crosse
How close do you follow college basketball outside of the team you play? Do you like watching any other sports?
Alando Tucker (12:52 PM)
I enjoy watching football, especially college football. But I am a fan of the game of basketball. I watch as many games as I can. I watch as many college games as I can catch. I watch as many NBA games as I can. This is my favorite time of the year, when basketball is on all the time.
You're the best AT, go Badgers! Who can get higher on the glass, you or Landry?
Alando Tucker (12:53 PM)
Woah. Well, Landry does a lot where he can get high. He gets up on blocks. But I still got him. I'm still going to hold down the throne here and say I can get higher than him.
What is the greatest thing about playing basketball at Wisconsin?
Alando Tucker (12:54 PM)
Over the years, it's been the fan support. Playing at the Kohl Center has been great. The first time I ran out on the court was great. We get 17,000 a night. That's unbelievable. The players that I've been blessed to play with. I can go down the list of players. They've been great. We've never had a problem and I think that's made the transition go well.
Do you model your game after any other players?
Alando Tucker (12:55 PM)
I'm a Chicago player, so definitely Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen. A more recent guy is D-Wade. People ask me how would I react playing in the NBA, I look to Wade and say that's what I can do. To work as hard and try to prove myself at the next level. I definitely model my game after the Chicago players, but I try to establish my identity as my own players.
Alando Tucker (12:56 PM)
It was a pleasure talking to everyone. I enjoyed all the questions. Keep enjoying Badger basketball. I'll try to keep up my end of the bargain by playing exciting basketball.