The Dagger: College Basketball Blog

Wisconsin forward launches campaign to get President Obama to play pick-up with the Badgers

Jeff Eisenberg
The Dagger

For a kid whose school is best known for half-court defense, Wisconsin's Zach Bohannon puts on one heck of a full-court press.

Bohannon, who transferred from Air Force last year, launched a Twitter campaign Wednesday in hopes of persuading President Obama to play a pick-up game against Wisconsin players during his visit to the campus the following day.

It's probably a long shot President Obama will have time for a quick pick-up game in the midst of his campaign, but Bohannon has made every effort.

He emailed the chancellor's office Wednesday afternoon and persuaded him to extend a formal invitation. He also tweeted everyone from "SportsCenter" anchors, to White House staffers, to Michelle Obama asking for their support.

Bohannon's efforts have caught the attention of everyone from his teammates and coaches to local media.

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"I started tweeting throughout the day today and it has really been a big snowball that has started rolling down the hill," Bohannon said Wednesday night. "Once it kind of got more and more out there, all my teammates were like, 'Oh, this actually has a chance.' They started retweeting it themselves after being hesitant at first."

It's no surprise to anyone who knows Bohannon that he's the one spearheading this movement since he actually has political aspirations of his own.

Bohannon originally enrolled at Air Force in part because he dreamed of being the president of the United States someday. The Iowa native transferred to Wisconsin after his sophomore year because he wanted to be closer to his family, play basketball and pursue a graduate degree, but he still envisions himself running for office 10 or 15 years from now.

"It's one of those things that has always intrigued me," Bohannon said. "I was really passionate during the 2008 election when I was a junior in high school and I was in a government class. It really went from there. I loved learning about the different issues and trying to get my point of view across."

Maybe the best part of Bohannon's Twitter campaign was the exchange he had Wednesday with Oregon State coach Craig Robinson, President Obama's brother-in-law.

Wrote Bohannon "Any way u can get @BarackObama to play pickup w/ @BadgerMBB while in Madison tmw?"

Responded Robinson, "U should've come to Oregon State!"

As the day has gone on and interest has increased, Bohannon has gotten a bit more optimistic about his odds of making this happen.

"I wouldn't be going on this tweet spree if I didn't think there was a chance," he said. "All my teammates have encouraged me to keep going on with this, so I'm trying to pull all the tricks out of my sleeves I can think of."

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