Wardle, Sykes and Brown Claim Top Horizon League Honors
GREEN BAY, Wis. (GreenBayPhoenix.com) – Two days after finishing off the regular season with a 24-5 record overall and a 14-2 mark in league play, the Green Bay men’s basketball team was rewarded with numerous accolades as the 2013-14 Horizon League postseason awards were announced on Monday.
Head coach Brian Wardle was named Coach of the Year, junior Keifer Sykes (Chicago, Ill.) was named Player of the Year and senior Alec Brown (Winona, Minn.) was named Defensive Player of the Year. Green Bay becomes just the second team to claim each of those three honors in the same season (Butler, 2009-10).
Sykes and Brown were each voted to the 2013-14 All-Horizon League First-Team while Brown was joined by sophomore Jordan Fouse (Racine, Wis.) on the Horizon League All-Defensive Team.
Wardle is the third Phoenix coach in its Division I history to earn Coach of the Year accolades (Dick Bennett, 1990-91 and 1991-92; Mike Heideman, 1995-96). Likewise, Sykes becomes just the third player (Tony Bennett, Jeff Nordgaard) in Green Bay’s Division I program history to earn conference player of the year honors and the first since Nordgaard in 1995-96. Brown joins Terry Evans (2007-08) as the only two Phoenix players to win Defensive Player of the Year.
In his fourth year at the helm of the program, Wardle guided Green Bay to its first Horizon League regular season title in 18 seasons. The 24 regular season wins by the Phoenix are tied for the most in the program’s Division I history. The team is also currently receiving votes in both top-25 national polls.
Under the direction of Wardle, Green Bay went 10-3 in non-conference play with a 75-72 victory over Atlantic Coast Conference champion Virginia. The Phoenix then claimed the regular season conference crown with a 14-2 record, including victories in its past five contests. Holding the No. 1 seed, Green Bay earned the right to host the 2014 Horizon League Championship.
Wardle has compiled a 71-54 record in his four seasons at Green Bay. Establishing his program’s mantra of Compete, Defend and Rebound, Wardle’s teams have led the Horizon League in field goal percentage defense and blocked shots in each of the past two seasons.
, Junior, 5-11, Chicago, Ill.
2013-14 Horizon League Player of the Year
2013-14 First-Team All-Horizon League
Sykes has been the frontrunner for Horizon League Player of the Year accolades for seemingly the entire 2013-14 season. The 5-foot-11 guard burst onto the scene with 32 points against Wisconsin in Green Bay’s second game of the season, and then was named to the All-Tournament Team of the Great Alaska Shootout before returning to Green Bay to lead the Phoenix to an upset win over Virginia with 21 points and 10 assists.
In Horizon League play, Sykes has taken his game to an even higher level, averaging 21.1 points per game. He has scored at least 14 points in every league game and totaled 20 or more seven times.
For the season, Sykes is averaging 20.4 points per game while adding five assists and 4.4 rebounds per game. He joins Billy Baron of Canisius as the only players in the country averaging 20-plus points, five-plus assists and four-plus rebounds per game. Sykes’ 593 points in 2013-14 are the fifth-most in a season by any player in program history.
The two-time All-Horizon League First-Team selection has scored 1,467 points and dished out 391 assists in his three-year Phoenix career, ranking 10th in program history in each category. He has won six Player of the Week awards in 2013-14 and 10 in his career, both league records.
Compiling the best season of his career, Brown was named to an All-Horizon League team for the third time in his career and for the second time to the All-Defensive squad. The 7-foot-1 senior is averaging 15.8 points, 5.8 rebounds and 3.3 blocks per game. In addition to points and blocks, Brown is posting career-best numbers in field goal percentage (.492) and three-point field goal percentage (.441).
Brown has been exceptional in leading Green Bay to its best record in road games since 1995-96. In 10 road games, Brown is averaging 19.1 points per game while shooting 55.5 percent from the field and 51.4 percent from long range.
Defensively, Brown broke his own single-season program blocks record with 91 and has helped the Phoenix shatter the Horizon League record for team rejections in a season (215). With Brown as the defensive anchor, Green Bay ranks second nationally in blocks per game and 11th in the country in field goal percentage defense (.389).
Brown has won Horizon League Player of the Week accolades four times during the 2013-14 season, including twice during league play. His senior campaign also included two milestone performances. On Nov. 23, Brown recorded a triple-double with 15 points, 10 rebounds and 10 blocked shots, and on Dec. 21, he tallied a career-high 40 points in a win over Fairfield.
The only player in Horizon League history to accumulate 1,500-plus points, 750-plus rebounds and 250-plus blocks in his career, Brown ranks seventh in Green Bay history in points (1660), third in rebounds (790) and first in blocks (306). The senior’s 790 career rebounds are a program record at the Division I level., Sophomore, 6-7, Racine, Wis.
Fouse earned a spot on the five-person Horizon League All-Defensive Team for the second-straight season. In 2013-14, the lockdown defender has helped Green Bay boast one of the top defenses not only in the conference but in the nation.
In 11 games, Fouse and Green Bay held the top-six opposing scorers in the Horizon League to 9.8 points on 28.9 percent shooting.
Statistically among Horizon League leaders, Fouse ranks third in rebounds per game (7.7) and steals per game (2.2) and fourth in blocks per game (1.6). With 65 steals, Fouse needs just three more to break the program’s single-season record of 67 set by Terry Evans in 2008-09. With 47 blocks, Fouse ranks in a tie for sixth all-time behind only Brown’s four seasons and the 49 rejections he has as a freshman.
While starting all 63 games of his young career, Fouse has accumulated 120 steals and 96 blocks to already rank ninth and fifth, respectively, in Phoenix history.
For more schedule and ticketing information on the 2014 Horizon League Championship, please visit tournament central.For the latest and most up-to-date information on Green Bay Athletics, please visit GreenBayPhoenix.com.