Green Bay Basketball Preview: #111
Overall Rank: #111
Conference Rank: #4 Horizon League
2008-09: 22-11, 13-5
2008-09 postseason: CBI
Coach: Tod Kowalczyk (114-99 at Wisconsin Green Bay, 114-99 overall)
It seems like every year Wisconsin Green Bay is on the verge of big things and then it falls apart at the end. The team is beginning to develop the reputation of finishing poorly and that leaves the Phoenix on the outside looking in. At least during the 2008-2009 campaign the team made the postseason, but this is a program that has had NCAA aspirations over the last five years and has failed every time.
Key Losses: F Terry Evans, F Mike Schachtner, G Ryan Tillema
This year may not be any different since Coach Tod Kowalczyk will have to rely on quite a few newcomers. The biggest need is in the paint and there are certainly plenty of newcomers who can help in that regard. Junior college transfer Greg LeSage is the most experienced option, but power forward Matt Smith may be the most talented when all is said and done. Either way, one of those two will have to start unless the Phoenix opt for a smaller and quicker lineup. Clayton Heuer and Troy Snyder are two more forwards who will be looking for some playing time.
The newcomers on the perimeter, Seth Evans and Rian Pearson, are talented, but there is a lot of experience already on the perimeter. Troy Cotton has emerged as quite the shooter and is the team’s leading returning scorer after averaging 12.6 points per game last year. It would be beneficial if Cotton would be more aggressive getting to the basket, but he definitely does a great job shooting and will take the big shots for this team. Bryquis Perine is an intriguing option after averaging 17.3 minutes per game last year and could provide a bigger spark off the bench this year. In fact, Perine could even move into the starting lineup if Green Bay wants to put Cordero Barkley at the four spot. Barkley missed last year, but he is a very experienced player who can do a little bit of everything. Whether his team needs him at the three or the four spot depends on how well the newcomers play, but Barkley will be ready to play either position.
The frontcourt might look a little slim until the newcomers come around, but Randy Berry is not a bad player to build around. He is not much of an interior scorer, but he did lead the team in rebounding and blocked shots as a junior last year. He will miss having Mike Schachtner and Terry Evans by his side, but Berry could develop into a better scorer now that he will be given the opportunity. Pat Nelson, a 6-9 senior, will compete with the newcomers for a starting spot and minutes off the bench, but he is not much of a scorer either. This is a team that is used to not having a major scorer under the basket, but it would help out the shooters a lot if somebody could step up.
Who to Watch:
Rahmon Fletcher is not one of those shooters, but he is what makes this team go. The junior point guard dished out 4.5 assists per game last year and averaged 10.8 points. Fletcher can hit the long ball, but he does his best work off the dribble and getting to the basket and either finishing or finding a teammate. Now that he is an upperclassman, the entire UWGB offense should feel like they are in safe, capable hands.
It will be interesting to see how things play out in Green Bay this year. The team loses a lot of talent, but there is a lot of talent left behind. The big question is who is going to start at the three or four spot. LeSage has experience, but Smith could steal that spot away sooner or later. Or will the coaching staff opt to put Perine or Pearson at the three spot and move the 6-5 Barkley to the four spot? That would be a very fast team if that were the case, but it might hurt on the defensive end of the floor.
Projected Post-season Tournament: CBI/CIT
Projected Starting Five:
Rahmon Fletcher, Junior, Guard, 10.8 points per game
Troy Cotton, Senior, Guard, 12.6 points per game
Cordero Barkley, Senior, Forward, DNP last season
Greg LeSage, Junior, Forward, DNP last season
Randy Berry, Senior, Forward, 6.4 points per game