Croatian-born Duje Dukan contributing to Badgers this season

MADISON (WITI) -- With players on the court like Sam Dekker, Ben Brust and Nigel Hayes, the Badgers have their fair share of big names on the roster, but this season, Bo Ryan is looking for production from a player whose name was somewhat of a mystery when he first arrived on campus.

"Dool-yay, Dool-jay -- Coach called me Do-ay for awhile, but he finally got it down pat now!" Badgers forward Duje Dukan said.

Redshirt Dukan is proving to be a key contributor for Wisconsin this season, but his basketball roots go deeper than just the college level -- and grow beyond the borders of the United States.

"I was born in Croatia. My dad got the job with the Bulls when I was 10 years old, so we moved to the United States. He's an international scout, so he does a lot of college scouting and he goes overseas to Europe and South America -- pretty much everywhere looking for players," Dukan said.

Having a father who's always looking for the next group of NBA talent is helping Dukan take his game to the next level.

"I see what he looks at for players -- just his personal perspective -- whether he's scouting games, we can watch together where he can point out weaknesses we can look for when we play certain teams," Dukan said.

Dukan's basketball relationships aren't just a family matter. He also has a mentor who has already made a name for himself in the NBA -- three-time champion and fellow Croatian native Tony Kukoach.

"We're great family friends, so he's seen me play a lot. He's been a great person to talk to to get advice and different things he sees in my game or other things he sees I can do," Dukan said.

Last season, Dukan had plenty of time to scout his own game after being forced to redshirt due to a case of mono.

"For me personally, I think it was a great decision -- to be able to watch the game, knowing you're not going to go in, and watch it from a different perspective is great. I think I definitely learned a lot," Dukan said.

Now that he's healthy, Dukan is ready to make sure that the rest of the Big 10 knows his name in 2014.

"Coach Ryan always preaches whenever you get in the game, try to add something. Just try to bring a couple of energetic plays -- whether it's offense or rebounds or a couple threes or whatnot. Just trying to add any way that I can," Dukan said.

And that's a confidence the Badgers will need deep in the conference schedule.