Green Bay Phoenix
2012-2013 Overall Rank: #108
Conference Rank: #2 Horizon
Green Bay Team Page
Coach Brian Wardle had some rebuilding to do after taking over the Green Bay program a couple years ago. In his first season the Phoenix went just 14-18. Last year they improved to 15-15. This year the sky is the limit. While there is just one senior on the roster, this is now an experienced team and it is time to make some noise again in the Horizon League. It all starts with 7-1 center Alec Brown. The junior has already shattered the Green Bay record books by blocking 3.0 shots per game last year. But Brown is more than a shot blocker…much, much more. He also led the team with 13.8 points and 8.2 rebounds. Brown does a lot of great things on the offensive glass, which does lead to points, but he can step outside and knock down the mid-range jumper with consistency as well. He is not opposed to trying a three-pointer every once in a while either. But what makes Brown such a dominating force is his ability to stay on the floor. It is not very often a 7-1 center averages more blocks per game than fouls.
2011-12 Record: 15-15, 10-8
2011-12 Postseason: None
Coach: Brian Wardle
Coach Record: 29-33 at Green Bay, 29-33 overall
The biggest loss for Green Bay is part-time starting guard Steve Baker. Baker averaged 7.3 points and 2.9 rebounds per contest and was also a solid outside shooter and defender. Jarvis Williams was supposed to play a big role for the Phoenix during the 2011-2012 campaign, but he ended up playing in just eight games and the young players stepped up in his absence. Guards Terry Johnson and Aaron Armstead are also out after averaging about 15 minutes per game apiece last year.
Coach Wardle has brought in another solid crop of freshmen, but it is one of the non-freshmen that will make the biggest impact this season. Sultan Muhammad, a 6-1 junior college transfer, is a big-time shooter who totaled 187 three-pointers during his two years at South Suburban College in Illinois. Muhammad also proved to be a big time rebounder, but he may have a little more trouble on the glass in the Horizon League. Guard Cole Stefan, a transfer from La Salle, will be eligible to play at the semester break. Stefan is a walk-on at Green Bay, but he did get offers from Auburn and USC before settling on La Salle. He is a quality player who can shoot and has some experience at the Division I level. Coach Wardle did very well in the state of Wisconsin for his freshmen class. Carrington Love is a big scoring guard, Jordan Fouse can do a little bit of everything and Nick Arenz will add more depth in the paint. Wing Jared Dimakos and center Ryan Bross are walk-ons, but Bross is 7-2 and could eventually make an impact on the defensive end.
Who to Watch:
While Brown will dominate the frontcourt, he is not the only forward who can do big things. Senior Brennan Cougill averaged 9.2 points and 7.0 rebounds last season. Brown and Cougill, a 6-9 center, give the Phoenix a ton of size and those two will be on the floor at the same time quite a bit. That is when the block party really gets rolling. Daniel Turner led the Phoenix in rebounding during his freshman campaign, but suffered a season ending ACL injury half way through the 2011-2012 campaign. Turner is not a great scorer and he will not lead the team in rebounding this year, but he is an experienced 6-6 forward who can play the three or four spot. Greg Mays showed some potential during limited action as a freshman. At 6-9 and 220 pounds, he adds even more size to an already huge team. A year of experience should have him ready to pick up a majority of the minutes when Brown or Cougill need a break.
The frontcourt is loaded, but the backcourt has a few more questions. Point guard Keifer Sykes had a fine freshman campaign, averaging 11.2 points and 3.4 assists. Sykes is not much of a shooter, but he can attack the basket and finish. Like most freshman point guards, he did have a few too many turnovers and that is something that should improve over time. Kam Cerroni is the shooter of the bunch. The 6-2 junior took nearly all of his shots from beyond the arc during the 2011-2012 campaign, but he connected on 46.5 percent of those attempts, which was higher than his overall shooting percentage. Cerroni may prove to be a better option off of the bench as a player who can come in and score in bunches by stretching out the defense, but he did start 19 games a year ago. Josh Humphrey earned ten starts as a freshman, but never made much of an impact offensively. With a year of experience, he could emerge as a more dynamic scorer who will use his size on the wing to attack the basket and help out on the glass. Coach Wardle has brought in the players, but now he has to put all of the pieces together. There is some youth and inexperience on the perimeter, but there are also options and depth on this team. If this group can stay healthy, they will make a run at a Horizon League title.
Projected Postseason Tournament: CBI/CIT
Projected Starting Five:
Keifer Sykes, Sophomore, Guard, 11.2 points per game
Kam Cerroni, Junior, Guard, 7.9 points per game
Sultan Muhammad, Junior, Guard, DNP last season
Brennan Cougill, Senior, Center, 9.2 points per game
Alec Brown, Junior, Center, 13.8 points per game
Madness 2013 NBA Draft Rankings:
#38 Alec Brown