2014-15 #PhlashForward: Strictly Business
GREEN BAY, Wis. (GreenBayPhoenix.com) – Heading into the 2013-14 season, head coach Brian Wardle and his coaching staff incorporated a new motto for the Green Bay men’s basketball program: Strictly Business. The philosophy was not really about accomplishing major goals or winning championships, but more the program’s attitude and approach to each day.
The 2013-14 edition of the Phoenix owned this attitude. It was evident on the team’s foreign trip to the Bahamas where, despite playing without All-Horizon League big man Alec Brown, Green Bay swept three games.
Evident with the way Wardle instructed his team to embrace preseason expectations.
Evident in a 75-72 win over ACC Champion on a weekend littered with distractions.
Evident on the road, where the Phoenix dispelled past memories and won seven of eight games in league play.
And evident in late February, when Green Bay rattled off five-straight wins to claim the program’s first regular season conference title in 18 years.
“Our players really bought into being ‘strictly business’ last season, and that started long before the actual season began in November,” Wardle said. “I think the approach carried over into our practices, in second halves of close games, when we were on the road and when we were in the hunt to win the championship.”
Every season is different, and the 2014-15 team may sport a new slogan. However, with the entire coaching staff and 10 players returning, Wardle expects the businesslike approach to continue as summer offseason workouts begin for the Phoenix on Monday.
“With five seniors on the roster, leadership should be a strength of our team,” said Wardle, the 2014 Horizon League Coach of the Year. “Our players understand how important the summer months are if you want to improve and be at your best during the season. Those veterans will help teach our underclassmen that we need to approach these workouts with a strictly business mindset. Like I always say, ‘if you aren’t getting better, you are getting worse,’ and we need to be getting better.”
Green Bay will take the floor as the reigning Horizon League regular season champs. The Phoenix loses a three-time All-Horizon League performer in Brown, but returns four starters (Keifer Sykes, Carrington Love, Fouse and Mays) and 10 players overall. In 2013-14, those 10 players accounted for 73.5 percent of the team’s points, 79.1 percent of the rebounds and 86.7 percent of the assists.
Sykes is the reigning Horizon League Player of the Year after averaging 20.3 points, 4.9 assists and 4.4 rebounds per game as a junior. Mays was a double-digit scorer at 10.3 points per game and shot 58.6 percent from the field, and Fouse is a two-time Horizon League All-Defensive Team selection with a career rebounding average of 7.7.
Wardle, the 2014 Horizon League Coach of the Year, enters his fifth season at the helm of the program with a 71-56 overall record. He is slated to welcome back his entire coaching staff, including associate head coach Brian Barone, assistant coaches Chrys Cornelius and Jimmie Foster, director of basketball operations Colin Schneider and video coordinator Rick Karius.
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