#133 Green Bay Men's Basketball 2016-2017 Preview

Green Bay Phoenix
2016-2017 Overall Rank: #133
Conference Rank: #2 Horizon
Green Bay did not have the best regular season in 2015-2016, finishing with an 11-7 record in a tough and exciting Horizon League. However, the Phoenix got hot at the right time, beating Cleveland State, Milwaukee, Valparaiso and Wright State in four straight days to reach the NCAA Tournament. Green Bay was outmatched by Texas A&M in the NCAA Tournament, but it was a great debut campaign for Coach Linc Darner. With a couple big time scorers gone, much of the scoring will fall on the shoulders of junior guard Khalil Small. Small averaged just 10.2 points per game last season, but he was extremely efficient both inside the arc and out. He connected on 40.6 percent of his three-point attempts and shot 45.6 percent from the floor. With Small needing to take on a bigger role this year, he should be a breakout candidate and a potential All-Horizon League player, especially coming off of his 22 point effort against the Aggies in the NCAA Tournament.
2015-16 Record: 23-13, 11-7
2015-16 Postseason: NCAA
Coach: Linc Darner
Coach Record: 23-13 at Green Bay, 315-131 overall
Who’s Out:
Carrington Love and Jordan Fouse are gone after being the senior leaders on last year’s team. Love was Green Bay’s top outside shooter, knocking down 85 three-pointers on the year and leading the team with 17.3 points per game. He also averaged 2.6 steals and 3.6 assists per contest. Fouse may be even tougher to replace. The 6-7 wing was a matchup nightmare for most teams in the Horizon League. He could shoot from long range or attack the basket; he could pass the ball extremely well and hit the glass extremely effectively. Replacing his 12.7 points, 8.3 rebounds, 3.3 assists, 2.1 steals and 1.4 blocks per contest will be nearly impossible for any single player to do. Little used Henry Uwadiae is the only other departure.
Who’s In:
Coach Darner has not had much time to recruit at Green Bay, but he has done a very good job so far. Coming into this class there are a couple Division I transfers and a couple impact freshmen. Warren Jones led Bradley with 11.9 points per game two years ago. He certainly has the talent to start, but Jones played off of the bench with the Braves and he could play a similar role with the Phoenix. David Jesperson comes to the Phoenix from Pepperdine, where he played limited minutes for two seasons. Jesperson may not take the Phoenix by storm, but he is a big body who can hit the glass and that is what this team needs. Of incoming freshmen Trevor Anderson and Kameron Hankerson, it is Anderson who will be asked to play a big role right away. The Phoenix need a point guard, and Anderson is the best on the roster. Obviously, his lack of experience could be a big issue and keep his minutes limited, but if he is ready to go, Anderson will quickly earn the starting spot.
Who to Watch:
With Charles Cooper joining Small in the backcourt, Green Bay should be able to continue to put a slew of points on the board. Unlike Small, Cooper is not much of a shooter, but he is a tough 6-4, 220 guard who can drive to the basket with ease. Cooper went to the charity stripe an impressive 232 times. It would be nice if he could boost his percentage up from 69.0 percent at the free-throw line since he may spend even more time there during his senior season. Promising sophomores Anthony Brown and Avery Brown are talented players who spent last season learning behind players like Love. Sooner or later those two will be productive members of the regular rotation and at the least, they should be given more of an opportunity this year. The backcourt will also need quite a bit of production out of senior Tevin Findlay. He averaged just 13.2 minutes per game last year, but the point guard job is his if Anderson is not ready. And it is at that point guard spot where this season could turn for Green Bay. If Findlay or Anderson, or both, can take care of the ball and at least be a threat to score, this is a team that can be very dangerous.
Final Projection:
The frontcourt has some experience with Kenneth Lowe, Jamar Hurdle and Turner Botz. Lowe started every game as a junior and averaged 6.8 points and 3.9 rebounds. He will be asked to increase his rebounding now that Fouse is gone. Hurdle also averaged 6.8 points per game last year, although his came off of the bench. Hurdle will now battle for a starting gig beside Lowe. Hurdle is the big man who can stretch the defense, while Lowe is really the only player on the roster who stays in the paint. Both are capable shot blockers and defenders though. Botz should spend most of his time backing up Hurdle, or more likely splitting time with Hurdle. Botz will take a lot of three-pointers and provides Green Bay with a big that can stretch the floor more than Hurdle. But the Phoenix needs those guys to rebound. Losing Fouse off of a team that was not very good on the glass as it was, could turn into a big problem. The other big concern is at the point guard spot where Green Bay must find somebody who can at least set up his teammates. Otherwise Green Bay will not come close to averaging 83.7 points per game.
Projected Postseason Tournament: CBI / CIT / V16
Projected Starting Five:
Trevor Anderson, Freshman, Guard, DNP last season
Khalil Small, Junior, Guard, 12.7 points per game
Charles Cooper, Senior, Guard, 13.6 points per game
Jamar Hurdle, Senior, Forward, 6.8 points per game
Kenneth Lowe, Senior, Forward, 6.8 points per game
By the Numbers:
Scoring Offense: 83.7 (8th in nation, 3rd in conference)
Scoring Defense: 80.0 (326, 7)
Field-Goal Percentage: 44.6 (143, 5)
Field-Goal Defense: 44.9 (260, 7)
Three-Point Field Goals Per Game: 7.1 (165, 7)
Three-Point Field-Goal Percentage: 34.9 (153, 7)
Free-Throw Percentage: 65.7 (312, 8)
Rebound Margin: -2.0 (251, 7)
Assists Per Game: 13.9 (133, 5)
Turnovers Per Game: 12.3 (130, 5)