As his freshman year dragged on with little promise, Ben Brust pored over the review sheets handed out after each of Wisconsin's games and grew increasingly frustrated.

Led by Jon Leuer and Jordan Taylor, UW was winning in 2010-'11 and eventually reached the Sweet 16.

Brust, whose lone asset was his perimeter shot, was sitting and watching.

"I got sick of not being able to write something for me to get better at," Brust said of the review sheets that list sections for the team and individual players. "I just remember wanting to be able to write something in there and learn.

"I just went from there."

Brust went from a nondescript freshman who played a total of 45 minutes in 15 games to an all-around contributor who joined the 1,000-point club in UW's victory over Indiana and is set to start his 65th consecutive game - and final one at home - when the Badgers (24-5, 11-5 Big Ten) host Purdue (15-14, 5-11) at 8 p.m. Wednesday.

"I think from my freshman year to now there has been a process each year," Brust said. "I'm still learning now. There is never a time to stop learning."

A brief review of Brust's impressive rise from his freshman season:

■ Brust played a combined six minutes in four Big Ten regular-season games and played in just one NCAA tournament game, less than a minute in UW's loss to Butler in the Sweet 16, in his first season.

■ He became a key reserve as a sophomore, when he shot 38.9% from three-point range and averaged 7.3 points per game.

■ He started all 35 games as a junior and averaged 11.1 points, 5.1 rebounds and 2.3 assists per game.

■ Through 29 games this season, Brust is third on the team in scoring (12.6 points per game), third in rebounds (4.8 per game), tied for first in steals (26) and first in free-throw shooting (89.4%). He also leads the team in minutes played (34.8 per game).

The 6-foot-1 guard from Hawthorn Woods, Ill., can still spot up and bury three-pointers. But now he can shoot off the dribble, drive into traffic and finish at the rim or stop and hit a fadeaway jumper.

His defense has improved dramatically - coach Bo Ryan compared him to a mosquito - and his ability to rebound takes pressure off the post players.

"You don't want to be a liability on defense," Brust acknowledged. "That's something I tried to do and get better at."

UW associate head coach Greg Gard has enjoyed a front-row seat for the growth.

"It's not just his game," Gard said. "It's his mentality, too. Because if there was one word, if you had to give one descriptive word for Ben when he was a freshman, it was soft."

Soft? Ugh. That is the last label any competitor wants affixed to his game.

"He didn't want to rebound," Gard said. "He wanted to hang out on the three-point line. He didn't do much off the dribble. He didn't know what the other end of the floor was about.

"So he had to mature and grow in a lot of areas. Now he is the first one to put his face on the ball. He is diving on the floor. He is on the glass.

"Not only has his game improved but his overall maturity and toughness level have elevated."