Marcus and Michael Trotter have always had each other’s backs.

During the 2014 University of Wisconsin football season, the Trotter twins will have each other’s sides.

That’s because Marcus and Michael will be playing next to each other as inside linebackers for the Badgers. Marcus had served as Chris Borland’s main backup at one of the LB positions but with the latter now headed to the NFL — Borland was selected by San Francisco in the third round of last week’s draft — the former has moved into a starter’s role.

Michael had been playing safety but has been switched to the other inside linebacker’s position. He is No. 2 on the depth chart at the position behind Derek Landisch, but figures to be on the field quite a bit in different defensive packages.

Michael said he’s ecstatic about the position switch.

“I’m really excited about the change,” Michael said. “It’s closer to the line of scrimmage and, the way our defense is set up, I don’t have to take on that many blockers. And I can use my athleticism and my instincts more. I like the move a lot.”

When I contacted Michael for this story, he was in a library in Madison studying for finals. That shouldn’t be too surprising to anyone who knows him or his brother. They are students first, athletes second. Michael has a 3.6 grade-point average in accounting; Marcus has a 3.5 GPA in pre-med.

Said Michael: “We challenge each other in our studies. We take pride in our academics.”

Important job

One of the most important positions in sports is the executive director of the National Basketball Players Association. That spot is currently vacant and a search committee has been assembled.

On the five-member committee are Junior Bridgeman, the former Milwaukee Bucks standout, and ... Sonja Henning, the pride and joy of Horlick High School. Henning is a former professional player, former WNBPA president and senior director of business affairs for Nike.

Dedicated performer

Tyrese Pinson is soft-spoken and somewhat introverted.

So when the Case High School junior hurt his foot late in the basketball season, he didn’t tell the world. Not even his coach, Steve Jaskulske.

“I didn’t even know he was injured,” Jaskulske said. “But he loves basketball so much that he played through the pain.”

He did indeed. The diminutive point guard who was a key player on Case’s outstanding team conceded he felt constant soreness but brushed it off so he could keep playing.

Once the season was over, though, he went to the doctor and learned he had been playing with a broken toe.

Wait is almost over

Bucks owner Herb Kohl announced almost four weeks ago that he had reached an agreement to sell his NBA franchise to Wes Edens and Marc Lasry.

Barring some last-minute hiccup, the NBA owners are expected to formally approve the sale later this week.

In a related Bucks’ topic, the Sacramento Kings and Sacramento city officials have reached an agreement on a new state-of-the-art arena. The cost will be $477 million. The Kings have put $222M into the pot, with the city picking up the remaining amount — $255M.

Interestingly enough, Edens, Lasry and Kohl have verbally committed $200M toward construction of a new arena for the Bucks, most likely in downtown Milwaukee. It’ll be interesting to see whether the remaining amount will be picked up by Milwaukee city officials.

Did Thompson miscalculate?

The Packers had, in this veteran scribe’s opinion, two glaring needs going into last week’s NFL draft: safety and tight end, especially if they don’t re-sign Jermichael Finley, whose career is clearly in jeopardy after undergoing spinal fusion surgery.

Packers GM Ted Thompson seems to have nicely filled the safety spot with the selection of Ha Ha — his first name is Ha’Sean — Clinton-Dix of Alabama. A longtime NFL scout told me he ranked Clinton-Dix as the 11th best player in the draft. The Packers got him at 21.

Thompson seemed poised to securing one of the elite tight ends in the second round — Washington’s Austin Seferian-Jenkins, Texas Tech’s Jace Amaro (my personal choice) or Notre Dame’s Troy Niklas — with the 53rd overall pick.

But instead of moving up to secure the tight end of his choice, my gut feeling is Thompson figured one of them would fall to the Packers at 53. That didn’t happen. Thompson then took Davante Adams, a wide receiver from Fresno State.

Thompson did address the tight end issue in the third round, selecting Richard Rodgers of California who, in this veteran’s scribe’s opinion, is nothing more than a run-of-the-mill player.

In today’s NFL, if you’re a predominantly pass-oriented team, which the Packers most definitely are, you need a blue-chip tight end. The Packers still don’t have one and it’s going to cost them.

Gery Woelfel is a sports reporter for The Journal Times. Gery can be reached by calling 262-631-1713 or by email at

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