Ho-Chunk Bronson Koenig takes leadership role with Badgers
Published November 30, 2015
NORMAN, OKLAHOMA— The last two seasons of Wisconsin Basketball have been a dream for the Badger faithful. Going into their 2015-16 campaign, the Badgers are coming off of back-to-back Final Four appearances, including a win against an undefeated Kentucky team last season.
Those teams were led by National Player of the Year Frank Kaminsky and NBA 1st Round Draft Pick Sam Dekker. Playing alongside those guys though, was LaCrosse Native Bronson Koenig, who was waiting for his chance.
Midway through last season, Koenig (Ho-Chunk Nation) took over the starting point guard role and the Badgers didn’t miss a beat, winning the Big Ten Championship and cruising on the road to the Final Four.
This season, with Kaminsky and Dekker gone, Koenig finds himself taking on a bigger role with the team on and off the court. Koenig not only returns as the team’s starting point guard, but also finds himself in a veteran leadership role as one of the upperclassman.
Photos by Reid Williams
On the court, Koenig has had to adapt with his offensive game. Koenig’s point totals for the season have nearly doubled. In 2014-15, Koenig averaged 8.7 PPG, but this season, he’s up to 16.1 PPG. Koenig says, “It’s definitely been an adjustment picking and choosing times I need to be aggressive, looking for my own shots and getting my teammates involved.”
Off the court, Koenig’s veteran experience is paying off. This season, the Badgers have 12 underclassmen on their roster, and Koenig is aware of what he needs to do to help the young guys out, “I need to do a better job and take it upon myself to help those young guys out and be a better leader.”
As the face of basketball for Native Americans, Koenig has embraced the role. Typically on the road, you’ll find Native Americans of different tribes in the crowd, cheering on Koenig.
Koenig’s mother, Ethel Funmaker said, “He is really proud of his heritage. He’s making history for all Native Americans at this point and in the future.” Funmaker went on to say, “At this point in time, he is a trendsetter.”
At this point of the year, Koenig’s Badgers are off to a slow start at 4-3. Going forward, Koenig says, “We’re going to review the film and shore up the little things, and that will give us a much greater chance of coming out of here with W’s.”
Editor’s Note: This article first appeared in NDNSports.com. Used with permission. All rights reserved.