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Phoenix by position - Power forward

Posted by Brian Dickmann on November 2, 2016 at 8:20 PM

Photo: Bryan Terry / The Oklahoman



This is part 2 of 5 previewing Green Bay’s 2016/2017 mens basketball roster. Today we look at the power forward position.


 

How do you replace a legend?


That’s what head coach Linc Darner and the Green Bay Phoenix will be forced to do this season as they attempt to make up for the loss of Jordan Fouse, one of the greatest players in program history.


Fouse, now playing professionally for Charleville in France, set the Horizon League record for career steals, shattered the 45-year old program record for career rebounds, and finished 2nd in program history in career blocks behind only Horizon League record holder Alec Brown.


So how will Green Bay replace Fouse and his 12.7 points (3rd on the team last year), 8.3 rebounds (1st), 3.3 assists (2nd), 2.1 steals (2nd), and 1.4 blocks (1st) per game? It will likely take a committee of upperclassmen.


The biggest production increase will need to come from senior Jamar Hurdle, the likely starter at the 4 spot.


The 6’7” Milwaukee native was one of Green Bay’s more important bench players last season, appearing in 35 of the Phoenix 36 games, averaging 6.7 points and 3.2 rebounds in just under 15 minutes per game.


Without question, his athleticism sets him apart from other players on the Phoenix roster. Hurdle is almost guaranteed to make the highlight reel each game as he is good for at least one high-flying dunk or athletic block per game. But he also is able to spread the floor, knocking down 11 of 26 (42.3%) of his three point attempts last season.


With more minutes will come more opportunities for him to score, which is why his versatility is so important. He is athletic enough to slash and get to the rim but can also step outside and hit a jump shot. His scoring punch will be even more important this season than it was last year when Green Bay went 8-2 in the 10 games that Hurdle scored in double figures.


Against taller lineups, Hurdle’s athleticism also allows him slide to the small forward position to give the Phoenix more length on the floor.


Green Bay has two other options on the bench to provide relief for Hurdle as well as space the floor in the form of a “stretch 4”, or a forward that plays mainly on the perimeter.


Little Chute senior Turner Botz started the first few games of the season last year before settling into a reliable bench role. Merrill native David Jesperson could be an x-factor off the bench after sitting out last season due to NCAA transfer rules.


Entering his fourth and final collegiate season, Botz has always been a floor spacer due to his outside shooting ability. A 34.3% career three point shooter, he finished 4th on the team in made three pointers last season with 35 behind Carrington Love (85), Fouse (41), and Khalil Small (41). He has also been one of the lone bright spots from the free throw line the past three seasons, making 72.8% from the charity stripe.


His size – 6’7” 215 lbs – allows him to play inside on defense. He is also aggressive on the boards, grabbing 3.2 rebounds per game last season, good for 5th on the team. His offensive game is catered towards the perimeter as he took more three pointers (100 exactly) than two pointers (78) last season.


Botz will again likely be one of the first players off the bench this season for the Phoenix as they look to find offensive production to replace two of their three leading scorers from a season ago.


Jesperson, a 6’8” junior, sat out last season after transferring in from Pepperdine where he appeared in 49 games in two seasons for the Waves. He averaged 1.5 points and 1.8 rebounds in 10.2 minutes per game in his two seasons on the west coast.


Like Botz, Jesperson could add much needed perimeter spacing and outside shooting this season for Green Bay. While only attempting 18 threes at Pepperdine, he knocked down 6 of them (33.3%) and was known for his outside shooting during a stellar prep career at Merrill High School.


He made 2 of 3 three pointers and added another two point basket in an 8 point, 2 rebound performance in 17 minutes during Green Bay’s 98-65 exhibition win over Indiana Tech at the Resch Center on Tuesday night.


It will be nearly impossible to replace the defensive and offensive production that Jordan Fouse brought to the Phoenix night in and night out. But between the improvement expected for Jamar Hurdle and solid reinforcements off the bench, Green Bay has a committee of upperclassmen that is capable of getting the job done.



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Phoenix by position - Center




Up next: Small forward





Categories: Phoenix Preview

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