Travis Bader acclimating himself to newfound attention
|Travis Bader: Unshakeable|
A season after making an NCAA second-best 124 3s last season, Bader, a preseason Summit League First Team selection, had to adjust to more physical defensive tactics. He’s responded by continuing to be a deep threat as well as improving in his ability to get to the basket. He is second in the Summit League in scoring, averaging 20.3 points per game.
“The pressure is more than last year,” Bader said. “All you hear is coaches and players yelling ‘Where’s Bader?’
“At the beginning of the season, it just kind of threw me off with how much pressure I was getting. I’ve adjusted and practiced how to get open and reading different situations.”
Bader is dealing with each opposing coaches' concerted defensive effort as well as their players and rabid fans — who have even resorted to Bader’s personal Facebook page to drum up material, including photos, with which to taunt the vaunted long-distance ace from the supposed friendly confines of the free-throw line.
“Someone (at Eastern Michigan Dec. 22) told me I was a Nickelback fan, which isn’t true,” Bader joked. “You hear it some places more than others.”
Bader remembers Pitt fans heckling him even before the 60-minute game countdown clock had begun Nov. 17 and later held photos printed from his Facebook page. They even resorted to calling out his sister’s name as well as attempting coin nicknames other than the “Darth Bader” moniker that follows the 6-foot-5, 187-pound red-shirt junior from Okemos.
“They try to get in your head, but to me, it’s funny,” he said.
After an early-season slump while acclimating to opponents’ overtures, Bader has rebounded to lead the nation in triples, 60, including a 45-percent clip in the past seven games. Oh. And Bader also leads the Summit League in free-throw shooting at 90 percent (72 of 80).
Opposing coaches and fans alike may want to retool their strategy.