Bronson Koenig, No. 24, understands he is a role model for Native youth.
Ethel Funmaker, Bronson’s mother: “He realizes he is a role model to Native youth.“
Wisconsin Badgers v. Arizona Wildcats – Saturday, March 29 at 8:40 p.m. – EDT on TBS.
ANAHEIM, CALIFORNIA — Ho-Chunk tribal citizen, Ethel Funmaker, the mother of Wisconsin Badger, No. 24 Bronson Koenig, will be in the stands tonight in Anaheim, California as the Badgers play the Arizona Wildcats in the “Elite Eight” game in West Regional game of the NCAA men’s basketball tournament.
She is her son’s No. One fan. She tries to attend all of his games.
“I have attended all home games and all but three away games. I attended all of his high school games,” said a proud Funmaker to the Native News Online on Saturday. She and friend flew to California to watch Bronson play in the NCAA tournament.
“The Tribe has been very supportive of allowing me to get time off to be here,” said Funmaker, who is employed by the Ho-Chunk Nation in its IT department.
The Wisconsin Badgers won the spot in the Elite Eight by easily defeating the Baylor Bears on Thursday night 69-52. The Elite Eight game will be televised on TBS at 8:40 p.m. – EDT live from the Honda Center in Anaheim, California. Check your local television listings for channel information.
Tonight’s game will pit the No.2 seeded Wisconsin Badgers (29-7) against the No.1 seeded Arizona Wildcats (33-4).
With the Thursday night victory, Wisconsin advanced to the Elite 8 for the third time in school history and the second time under head coach Bo Ryan. Wisconsin’s last appearance in the NCAA regional final was in 2005 when the Badgers lost to eventual national champion, North Carolina, 88-82, in Syracuse, New York.
The 6’3” Koenig, No. 24, plays reserve guard for the Badgers. In Thursday night’s matchup against Baylor in the Sweet Sixteen game, Koenig played six minutes in the first half and 10 minutes in the second half. He scored three points of the bench.
Wisonsin basketball player Bronson Koenig in white tee-shirt with Winnebago Tribe youth earlier this month.
Funmaker recalls how Bronson played basketball all the time since he was about five-years-old when he started playing the game at the YMCA.
“I am proud of him and the proud of the man he has become.”
Bronson has assisted in basketball clinics for the Ho-Chunk Nation and put on a talk for the Winnebago Tribe of Nebraska earlier this month when the Badgers were in Lincoln, Nebraska to play the Nebraska Cornhuskers.
“The Winnebago Tribe called and got permission for Bronson to speak to their youth. So, he was able to talk to them. He realizes he is a role model for Native youth,” commented his mother.
The true freshman is holding up well under the pressure of playing in a national collegiate tournament.
“All of this has not gone to his head. He is calm and level-headed,” continued Funmaker.
Since Bronson and his mother have been in southern California, a Ho-Chunk Nation member who resides in California called to see if he could meet Bronson.
“We went out and had something to eat with him last night,” said Funmaker, who is having fun while tournament continues.