Leading hoteliers in the black: Plava Laguna, Maistra and Valamar Riviera in the first six months achieved growth by all indicators

first_imgAccording to the eVisitor system, which includes tourist traffic realized in commercial and non-commercial facilities and nautical charter (eCrew system), in the period from January to the end of June, 6,4 million arrivals (+ 12%) and 25,4 million overnight stays were realized in Croatia. (+ 10%). Out of that, foreign tourists realized 5,5 million arrivals (+ 12%) and 22,2 million overnight stays (+ 10%), while domestic tourists also recorded increases in arrivals by 10% and in overnight stays by 11%.During the six months, most overnight stays were realized in Istria (7,4 million), while in the Split-Dalmatia County 4,5 million overnight stays were realized, ie 4,3 million overnight stays in Kvarner. They are followed by Zadar and Dubrovnik-Neretva counties with 2,6 million overnight stays, Šibenik-Knin county with 1,4 million overnight stays, Zagreb with 1 million overnight stays and Lika-Senj county with 681.000 overnight stays. At the national level, during the first six months, most overnight stays came from Germany (5,1 million), Austria (2,3 million), Slovenia (2,3 million), the United Kingdom (1,4 million) and Poland (1,3). , 9,2 million), and looking at the accommodation segment, most overnight stays were realized in hotels (6,5 million) and in household facilities (4,6 million) and camps (XNUMX million). Top destinations in the first six months according to the criteria of realized overnight stays are Dubrovnik, Rovinj, Zagreb, Poreč, Split, Umag, Medulin, Mali Lošinj, Zadar and Tar.In line with the growth of arrivals and overnight stays, our leading hoteliers, Maistra, Plava Laguna and Valamar Riviera, also achieved excellent results. Blue Lagoon  in the year of the largest capital investment in recent history, in the first six months it shifted the plan by 2 percent. U the first six months Blue Lagoon realized 836 thousand overnight stays in hotels and apartments which is 2,7% above the planned, ie 548 thousand overnight stays in camps, which is 26,3% above the plan. Considering all types of accommodation capacities, Plava Laguna realized 2018 million overnight stays in the first six months of 1.38, which is increase compared to the plan by 10% and 2% above last year’s values ​​by analyzing comparable accommodation capacities. Based on the reasoned physical filling, Plava Laguna generated HRK 324,8 million in operating revenues in the observed half-year period, which is last year’s achievement. “Given the derived capital projects whose effects will intensify in the next,  for the tourism industry, in the most significant quarter Plava Laguna expects growth of all operational indicators compared to the previous year”, They say from the Blue Lagoon.  By the way, with the beginning of the season in 2018, Plava laguna completed the largest investments in its facilities so far, in the total amount of almost HRK 487 million.Maistra achieves 13% night growthMaistra achieved 13 percent more overnight stays than in the first half of 2017 and eight percent higher sales of accommodation capacities, with an increase in the average price of five percent. Operating income from regular operations is also 13 percent higher. The tourist part of the Adris Group is intensively investing in the renovation and increasing the quality of existing products, Adris points out, adding that the construction of the Park Hotel is underway, and significant investments in camps have continued. “For the most part, investments are made in the supporting infrastructure and raising the quality of the common contents of the camps. The result of these investments is a nine percent increase in the number of occupied units in the camps, with an average price increase of 11 percent. ” They pointed out from Adris and added that the current booking is 11 percent better compared to last year, and confirms the positive growth trends in the number of overnight stays, with an increase in the average price.By the way, Maistra’s total investments in 2018 are estimated at more than HRK 500 million. It is also important to point out that the demanding process of business integration of HUP dd into the tourism part of the Group has begun with the aim of using operational synergies and economies of scale. The formation of a unique business system is a prerequisite for the creation of a leading national tourism company positioned in three growing and internationally recognizable destinations – Rovinj, Dubrovnik and Zagreb.Valamar Riviera achieved growth by all indicators In the first six months of this year, Valamar Riviera achieved exceptional growth by all indicators. In the first half of the year, Valamar’s total revenues amounted to HRK 648 million, which is 13% more than the revenues generated in the same period last year. “Double-digit revenue growth is primarily the result of a 9% increase in overnight stays and an average price increase of 5%. Efficiency improved and operating profit (EBITDA) grew 17% in the first six months, or faster than revenue. “They point out from Valamar Riviera and add that the growth of business in the pre-season continued for the fourth consecutive year and for the first time more than 2 million overnight stays were realized in the first six months of the year. This season, too, Valamar successfully implemented a strong investment cycle worth more than HRK 700 million, and the Supervisory Boards of Valamar Riviera and Imperial gave prior approval for the investment cycle in 2019 in the total amount of HRK 752 million. Valamar is in the process of successful privatization and an offer to take over the shares of Hotel Makarska, in which they acquired 2018% of the shares of Makarska hoteliers by July 55,45. Also, the restructuring plan for the bankrupt Helios Faros is being considered, for which Valamar Riviera and PBZ Croatia osiguranje for the management of pension funds have jointly submitted an offer for investment and recapitalization.Last week, Valamar Riviera announced the acquisition of the Petersbühel 4 * hotel in Obertauern, Austria, the first step in the internationalization of business as one of the key strategic development goals in the coming period. RELATED NEWS:BLUE LAGOON OPENED RESORT PARK IN POREČVALAMAR RIVIERA CELEBRATES 65TH ANNIVERSARY OF OPERATIONS AND CEREMONIALLY OPENED A NEW ADMINISTRATIVE BUILDING IN POREČlast_img read more

Census 2016: Home ownership on the slide, renting on the rise in Queensland

first_imgHome ownership in Queensland continues to decline but more people are renting, according to 2016 census.HOME ownership rates in Queensland have continued to decline and more of us are renting, but fewer households are in mortgage stress.Data from the 2016 census, released this morning by the Bureau of Statistics, shows a slight decline in the number of Queenslanders owning their home outright, with only 28.5 per cent having paid off their mortgage.That is down from 29 per cent in the 2011 census.Nationally, 31 per cent of Australians have paid off their home – down from 32.1 per cent in 2011. Census 2016: Queensland population booms in Buderim, Surfers Paradise and Caloundra Surprise Queensland dwelling results as Census 2016 is released The proportion of Queenslanders with a mortgage has also dropped slightly to 33.7 per cent from 34.5 per cent five years ago.But there’s been a shift towards renting, with 34.2 per cent of us now paying a landlord, up from 33.2 per cent in 2011, and higher than the national average of nearly 31 per cent.Household income has improved in Queensland, with 19.5 per cent of us taking home gross earnings of less than $650 a week.That’s a marked drop from 22.8 per cent five years ago.And more Queenslanders are earning over $3000 a week – 14.4 per cent compared to 10.2 per cent in 2011. In good news for homeowners, the median monthly home loan repayment in the state has dropped $117 to $1733.More from newsMould, age, not enough to stop 17 bidders fighting for this home3 hours agoBuyers ‘crazy’ not to take govt freebies, says 28-yr-old investor3 hours agoFewer Queensland households are in mortgage stress than five years ago, with only 6.4 per cent of households needing 30 per cent or more of their income to pay off their home.That’s down from 9.7 per cent in the previous census when official interest rates were 4.75 per cent, versus 1.5 per cent now.And it’s better than the national average of 7.2 per cent. GET THE LATEST REAL ESTATE NEWS DIRECT TO YOUR INBOX HERE A common measure of mortgage stress is whether households are spending more than 30 per cent of their monthly income on home loan repayments.Rents are on the rise though, with the median weekly rent in Queensland now $330, compared with $300 five years ago.More Queenslanders are under rental stress, with 12.8 per cent of households requiring 30 per cent or more of their income to pay the rent.That’s up from 11.9 per cent in 2011 and greater than the national average of 11.5 per cent.In good news, household income has improved in Queensland, with 19.5 per cent of us taking home gross earnings of less than $650 a week.That’s a marked drop from 22.8 per cent five years ago.And more Queenslanders are earning over $3000 a week — 14.4 per cent compared to 10.2 per cent in 2011.last_img read more

Sydney Roosters star player Luke Keary has put his Camp Hill home on the market

first_imgMore from newsParks and wildlife the new lust-haves post coronavirus20 hours agoNoosa’s best beachfront penthouse is about to hit the market20 hours agoLuke Keary’s property is for sale. The home is at Camp Hill.The home is listed with marketing agent Glenn Bool of Place Estate Agents, who is certain of a quick sale.“We had big numbers through the first open,” said Mr Bool. “It’s a quintessential inner-city family home with good separation in an immaculate condition.“It’s not going to last long on the market.”Mr Bool added that the location was a big draw card.“Everything is at your fingertips,” he said. The rugby league player and his wife, who were previously planning on calling Brisbane home, now intend on making Sydney their fixture for the time being. “We thought about moving to Brisbane, but things change,” Mr Keary said. RELATED NEWS: JAMES MALONEY BUYS IN PENRITH HEARTLAND“I’ve just signed a new contract in Sydney, so we’ll be there for the next three to four years at least.“We’ve decided we need a bigger place down there, and with the market performing well in Camp Hill, it seems like the right time to sell.” Sydney Roosters player Luke Keary. (AAP Image/Paul Miller)SYDNEY Roosters player Luke Keary is selling his Camp Hill investment property in a bid to secure a new home down south.Keary, who purchased 89 Samuel St, Camp Hill in early 2015, has listed the two-storey home for offers over $745,000.The median house price in the area is currently at $882,250.center_img Inside the home.Mr Bool said there had already been a lot of interest from families.“There’s a school right across the road,” said Mr Bool. “We’ve had a number of inquiries from parents from the signage, even before the property was listed online.”The two-storey home, which sits on 754sq m of inner-city land has multiple living areas, four bedrooms, two bathrooms and a double lock-up garage. Video Player is loading.Play VideoPlayNext playlist itemMuteCurrent Time 0:00/Duration 1:28Loaded: 0%Stream Type LIVESeek to live, currently playing liveLIVERemaining Time -1:28 Playback Rate1xChaptersChaptersDescriptionsdescriptions off, selectedCaptionscaptions settings, opens captions settings dialogcaptions off, selectedQuality Levels720p720pHD432p432p270p270p180p180pAutoA, selectedAudio Tracken (Main), selectedFullscreenThis is a modal window.Beginning of dialog window. Escape will cancel and close the window.TextColorWhiteBlackRedGreenBlueYellowMagentaCyanTransparencyOpaqueSemi-TransparentBackgroundColorBlackWhiteRedGreenBlueYellowMagentaCyanTransparencyOpaqueSemi-TransparentTransparentWindowColorBlackWhiteRedGreenBlueYellowMagentaCyanTransparencyTransparentSemi-TransparentOpaqueFont Size50%75%100%125%150%175%200%300%400%Text Edge StyleNoneRaisedDepressedUniformDropshadowFont FamilyProportional Sans-SerifMonospace Sans-SerifProportional SerifMonospace SerifCasualScriptSmall CapsReset restore all settings to the default valuesDoneClose Modal DialogEnd of dialog window.This is a modal window. This modal can be closed by pressing the Escape key or activating the close button.Close Modal DialogThis is a modal window. This modal can be closed by pressing the Escape key or activating the close button.PlayMuteCurrent Time 0:00/Duration 0:00Loaded: 0%Stream Type LIVESeek to live, currently playing liveLIVERemaining Time -0:00 Playback Rate1xFullscreenAndrew Winter: Location, location, location01:29 last_img read more

UN Observers: ”Burundi presidential election not credible”

first_imgMENUB observes the electoral process in Burundi, before, during and after the electionsWhile the 21 July election in Burundi that won President Pierre Nkurunziza a controversial third term was relatively peaceful and conducted adequately, the overall environment was ‘not conducive’ for an inclusive, free and credible electoral process.This is accordning to an assessment by  the United Nations Electoral Observation Mission in the country (MENUB)This was the main conclusion of MENUB’s preliminary findings on the conduct of the presidential polls in Burundi, which took place after two postponements in an environment of “profound mistrust” between opposing political camps.The decision of the incumbent President to run for another term precipitated a deep political and socioeconomic crisis, the mission said.“The Constitutional Court’s ruling on the admissibility of the President’s candidature for a third mandate did not solve the wider political problem of presidential term limits in Burundi, but rather exacerbated further controversy, protests and tensions,” the Mission explained in a statement issued today.Freedoms of expression, assembly and association, essential conditions for the effective exercise of the right to vote, remained severely impaired. “Violence, although observed in a less intense degree than during the period preceding the 29 June [legislative and communal] elections, remained an unfortunate feature of the entire process.”The various dialogue efforts, including the most recent initiative under the leadership of Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni and the East African Community (EAC), remained inconclusive, stated MENUB.“Also, the parties did not reach agreement on a consensual electoral calendar. Nevertheless, on election day, Burundians in most places went peacefully to the polls to cast their ballots.”Out of the eight presidential candidates, four declared that they would withdraw from the race. However, their names remained on the ballot, pointed out the Mission.It also found that media freedom remained severely restricted. “Private and independent media outlets that were destroyed during the failed coup did not reopen, despite national and international appeals to the Burundian government to enable media to operate. State-owned media did not provide balanced media coverage to all presidential candidates.”The Commission ¨¦lectorale nationale ind¨¦pendante (CENI) conducted adequate logistical preparations for the presidential elections and polling activities in the observed polling sites largely followed procedures, the UN observers noted.But tabulation at the observed municipal and provincial locations was carried out expeditiously, albeit in a disorganized manner, they said.In conclusion, MENUB reiterated the Secretary-General’s call “for the cessation of all forms of violence respect of basic human rights and resumption of dialogue.”last_img read more

Ripley County schools receive awards in National Rube Goldberg contest

first_imgCOLUMBUS, Ohio. — St. Louis School and the Ripley County Engineering Academy, the Division I and Division II winners of the Regional Rube Goldberg Machine Contests, won awards recently at the National Rube Goldberg Machine Contest at the Columbus Ohio Center for Science and Industry.This year’s task was to “Apply a Band-Aid.”In the first ever live Division I National Rube Goldberg Machine Contest, the “Rube World Staffers” team from St. Louis School entertained contest officials with their circus-themed machine.The team accomplished the task in 13 steps to capture a second place finish.The Division II Nationals saw intense competition among 14 teams from around the nation.The Ripley County Engineering Academy’s machine, “Operation Sam,” was selected by Rube Goldberg’s Granddaughter, Jennifer George, as her favorite machine due to its whimsical theme and amusing story.George awarded the Rube Goldberg Legacy Award to “Operation Sam” which is a priceless experience. Congratulations to both teams!last_img read more

Parish backs beleaguered Holloway

first_imgCrystal Palace joint-chairman Steve Parish has given his backing to manager Ian Holloway despite the club’s poor start to the season. Press Association “I believe in the manager and I believe in his ability to create a winning team,” the Palace joint-chairman told the South London Press. “We need to keep the ball better. You can’t keep giving it away in this league because, unlike in the Championship, you won’t get it back. “Ian knows that and it was what we were trying to work on over the summer transfer window, bringing people in to try and help us do that. “I’ve got every faith in Ian to sort it out. There are a lot of new players and we’re trying to find both a formation and a way of playing. “We didn’t get what we deserved in the first few games and that puts us where we are. But we’ve got to keep believing. “I know we’re good enough to stay in this league. We just need to find a bit more of a goal threat and believe. “Southampton were the better side on Saturday but we weren’t battered in the second half. “There is a lot to be positive about. We’ve just got to pull together and get some results.” Palace will have to up their game significantly if they are to end their rotten streak this Saturday as they travel to second-place Liverpool. center_img Holloway earned great praise for guiding Palace into the Barclays Premier League last term, but he and his team have found life tough since. Holloway’s position has come under scrutiny after a run of just one win in six games but he retains the backing of Parish. last_img read more

Marine vet Amy McGrath challenging Mitch McConnell for Senate in 2020

first_imgSenate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has a challenger in his 2020 re-election campaign.Democrat Amy McGrath announced her candidacy via Twitter Tuesday, saying she wants to “reset the country’s moral compass.”I’m running to replace Mitch McConnell in the U.S. Senate. Everything that’s wrong with Washington had to start somewhere—it started with him. With your help, we can defeat Mitch and defend democracy. Join us: https://t.co/c4b0WAp4ji pic.twitter.com/DNLjFkHGua— Amy McGrath (@AmyMcGrathKY) July 9, 2019 McGrath is the retired fighter pilot who narrowly lost to incumbent Republican Andy Barr in last year’s 6th District congressional race in Kentucky.The McConnell campaign responded with a tweet saying “Welcome to the race, Amy” and a video highlighting McGrath’s liberal views.McGrath hit back almost immediately writing via Twitter that Senator McConnell has ignored her and many other Kentuckians.When I was 13 years old, I wrote my Senator—I wanted to be a fighter pilot, but women weren’t allowed to do that. Mitch McConnell never wrote back, and I know I’m not the only Kentuckian he’s ignored in his years in Washington. Let’s defeat him together: https://t.co/Zuvl99alrk— Amy McGrath (@AmyMcGrathKY) July 9, 2019 McConnell unveiled his re-election campaign in April, citing his ties to President Trump and the confirmation of two conservative Supreme Court justices in two years.last_img read more

ICC World Cup Virat Kohli fined 25% of match fee for excessive appealing during Afghanistan game

first_imgNew Delhi: Indian skipper Virat Kohli has been fined 25 per cent of his match fee for breaching Level 1 of the ICC Code of Conduct during the match against Afghanistan on Saturday, ANI news agency reported. The Indian skipper was found guilty of breaching Article 2.1 of the Code of Conduct, which relates to “excessive appealing during an international match”.During the India vs Afghanistan match, Kohli was desperately looking for early wickets and Mohammed Shami did provide a chance but was ruled out by third umpire as the ball had slightly pitched outside line.With scorecard reading 6/0, Shami almost trapped Hazratullah Zazai in front of the wicket. However, the on-field umpire was not convinced and Kohli had to seek third umpire’s intervention. For all the Latest Sports News News, ICC World Cup News, Download News Nation Android and iOS Mobile Apps. However, the replay showed that the on-field was right not to raise his finger and the ball had pitched slightly outside the leg. The Indian skipper was not happy loosing DRS early in the innings and argued with the umpire for a moment. He was later seen pleading with his folded hands.Kohli admitted the offence and accepted the sanction proposed by the match referee Chris Broad of the Emirates ICC Elite Panel of Match Referees, and as such, there was no need for a formal hearing.In addition to this, one demerit point has been added to the disciplinary record of Kohli, for whom it was the second offence since the introduction of the revised Code in September 2016. Kohli now has two demerit points after having got one demerit point during the Pretoria Test against South Africa on 15 January 20. last_img read more

Trojans able to hold off Huskies this time around

first_imgLike it was four weeks ago, the Trojans held a double-digit lead in the second half over Washington. And again, the Huskies made a push to trim the Trojans’ advantage.But unlike January 3rd in Seattle, the Men of Troy were able to weather the Huskies’ push and come away with a 98-88 victory at Galen Center Saturday afternoon.Junior forward Nikola Jovanovic led the way with 28 points on 10-of-13 shooting while sophomore guard Jordan McLaughlin chipped in 21 points, making 5-of-10 shots.The Huskies made a run to cut into the Trojans’ lead to start the second half, cutting the 11-point lead down to three after a couple of transition baskets.But USC answered with a run of its own, scoring on eight of its next nine possessions. Jovanovic continued to score inside and a 3-pointer by McLaughlin helped regain a double-digit advantage for the Trojans at 72-61 midway through the second half.“We just remained poised,” McLaughlin said. “We understood what we went through when we were up there [at Washington]. Yesterday in practice we worked on our press break, coming back to the ball and helping out whoever was getting pressed. We really emphasized all the mistakes we had up there.”After Washington trimmed the lead down to two possessions with under four minutes to play, USC clamped down on defense, holding the Huskies to just two field goals the rest of the way. Jovanovic’s putback layup gave USC a 93-82 lead with just over a minute to play.The junior’s 28 points was a season-high and he did most of his damage in the paint against a Washington team that struggles with defensive rebounds. The Trojans had 18 offensive rebounds to the Huskies’ 12.“We knew we could attack the defensive glass and hurt them over there, and that’s what we did,” Jovanovic said.Head coach Andy Enfield noted that he did not do anything special to call attention to Jovanovic.“Nikola is extremely talented and skilled,” Enfield said. “He played within himself tonight. Made some moves, and was able to get to the rim and finish. There’s nothing we did to say, ‘Go out and score 28 points.’ We just said, ‘Go play your game and have some fun.’”The Trojans used a 17-5 run to pull ahead late in the first half, as they were prolific from 3-point range. It took USC nearly 12 minutes to knock down its first triple when sophomore guard Elijah Stewart put the Trojans up 23-20. But the Men of Troy made three of their next four shots from distance, and freshman forward Bennie Boatwright’s connection at the 4:39 mark of the first half gave USC its first double-digit lead of the afternoon at 36-24.Jovanovic finished off the half with two pretty layups – one in traffic after a series of pump fakes and the second on a controlled take to the rim with the shot clock winding down.The Huskies, meanwhile, were held to just three field goals in the final eight minutes of the first half as the Trojans took a 44-33 lead into halftime.Washington’s star senior guard Andrew Andrews, who leads the Pac-12 in scoring at 21.3 points per game, had a subpar afternoon with just 15 points on 3-of-14 shooting as the Trojans were able to limit his driving ability.“It helped a lot,” McLaughlin said on the strategy against Andrews. “Without him being as effective and getting to the rack, it helped us in a major way.”Boatwright scored five quick points early on for USC, which jumped out to a 9-6 four minutes into the game. Boatwright, who finished with 15 points, was one of five Trojans who scored in double figures along with Katin Reinhardt, Jovanovic, McLaughlin, Reinhardt and Stewart.“We’ve been able to pick each other up,” Enfield said on the scoring balance. “If [certain] players have off nights, their teammates have been able to carry the scoring load and make plays. We don’t have anyone [like Andrew Andrews] who’s going to score 20 or 25 points a night. We have extremely talented offensive players. They share the ball. They bought in to making the extra pass. We lead the [Pac-12] in assists because we’re sharing the basketball.”The Men of Troy surely entered the game with the Jan. 3 loss at Washington on their minds. USC fell 87-85 to the Huskies on the road after blowing a 22-point second half lead.“It was a big learning experience for us,” Jovanovic said. “We were excited for this matchup. We prepared really well.”The Trojans improve to 17-5 and 6-3 in conference play, and are now just a half game out of first in the Pac-12. They also remain undefeated at home with a 13-0 record at Galen Center.Both teams entered Saturday on hot streaks; USC had won four of its last six games while Washington had won three of four, including a comeback win at UCLA Thursday.The Trojans were coming off a comfortable 81-71 win over Washington State Thursday night following a pair of losses in Oregon last weekend.They have four days off before taking on UCLA at Galen Center in a crosstown showdown next Thursday.last_img read more

UW readies for second chance with Hawkeyes

first_imgSenior forward Jared Berggren posted eight points and five rebounds in Wisconsin’s 70-66 loss to Iowa early this season. Berggren is averaaging a team-high 11.6 ppg as the Badgers look to beat Iowa for the first time in two seasons.[/media-credit]In its last 20 meetings, the Wisconsin men’s basketball team has held a commanding 14-6 advantage over Iowa. But three of those six losses have come over the past two seasons as the Badgers have not taken down the Hawkeyes in nearly two years.So what is it about Iowa (14-8, 3-6 Big Ten), a program that has not landed in the NCAA tournament since 2006, that has given Wisconsin (15-7, 6-3) such unrelenting trouble? It starts with a roster that makes the most of their talent, utilizing a style of play reminiscent of the Badgers themselves.“A thing they do well is they match our intensity,” freshman forward Sam Dekker said. “A lot of times we’re the team that comes out and we hit them in the mouth right away, and just play harder than them, and they match it. And the past three times they’ve played harder than us and they’ve gotten the best of us.”Wednesday night’s rematch at the Kohl Center – when Wisconsin will try to bring that three-game losing streak to a close – will be critical as the Badgers try to stay in the Big Ten title race. Halfway through a brutally tough conference season, Iowa serves as the final prep for an immensely talented Michigan team Saturday, one of four teams that sit ahead of UW in the conference standings.Though the Badgers would need near-perfection over their final nine conference games to capture their first Big Ten regular season crown since 2008, a victory over the pesky Hawkeyes would hand the home team its first pair of consecutive wins in nearly three weeks.UW assistant coach Gary Close says the Hawkeyes are a deceptively talented team, one lost in the mix of a Big Ten that currently boasts five ranked teams.Their top talent arrives in sophomore forward Aaron White, a name that may be familiar to Badger fans after he posted 17 points and made it to the free throw line 15 times in a 70-66 Iowa win at Carver-Hawkeye Arena Jan. 19. His name may not yet have secured a spot in the vocabulary of Big Ten basketball fans, but his 13.9 points and six rebounds per game – both team highs – will soon earn him such a place.“Aaron White’s one of the top players in the league,” said Close, who spent 13 years as an assistant coach in Iowa City from 1986-99. “Everybody in this league would love to have him. If he were playing for Michigan or Michigan State or Indiana, the whole country would know about him … he’s a big-time player.”As difficult a task as it will be to control the 6-foot-8 White, defense has generally not been the issue for this Badgers team.Instead, it has been ice-cold shooting that has cost Wisconsin in tight losses. Never were those shooting woes more apparent than when the Badgers found themselves in a 16-point hole at halftime after shooting 23.1 percent in the first half in the first meeting with the Hawkeyes this year.That began a stretch of several poor shooting performances before UW appeared to regain its rhythm in a six-point road victory over Illinois Sunday, when it finished the game shooting 42.9 percent.“I think that kind of got us out of [the shooting slump], getting over the hump there on the offensive end and getting to the line,” Dekker said of the win over Illinois. “Those are just things we need to do to get confident, get us going and carry that into the next few games.”Anchoring that improved offensive effort at Illinois was sophomore forward Frank Kaminsky, who netted a career-high 19 points in his second game back after missing three games with an eye injury, including the loss to Iowa earlier this season. He watched much of that game with his mom and sister – who were in town for his sister’s birthday – from the lobby of a Madison hotel where he admits he drew some startling looks as he yelled at the TV. “It was frustrating to watch, and there’s things we could have done in that game to win the game I think,” Kaminsky said. “They were right there at the end to win the game, just a couple dumb mistakes away from victory.”The Badgers will need all the offensive help they can get from an Iowa squad that, according to Close, is one of the deepest in the Big Ten and carries nine players who average at least 15 minutes per game on the floor.The duo of freshman Mike Gesell and junior Roy Debyn Marble lead a backcourt with 8.9 and 13.4 points per game, respectively. Athletic big man Melsahn Basabe takes pressure off of White in the paint when he comes off the bench with 7.4 points and 4.5 boards per game.Coaches and players understand Wednesday night is a pit stop for the Badgers at the midway point of a taxing Big Ten season, a chance to refuel and gather the momentum for a late-season run.“We’ve just got to refocus, bring that energy again,” Dekker said. “I think a couple of those losses were eye-openers for us because we dug ourselves in another hole, and we’ve got to get out of that. We don’t want to drop any further in the standings than we already are.”last_img read more