|Posted on February 7, 2017 at 4:05 PM|
(Manny Patterson / Photo: Worsom Robinson / Chicago Sun-Times)
Head coach Linc Darner’s third recruiting class at Green Bay is a solid blend of three high school prospects, a JUCO transfer, and the aforementioned Division I transfer. The final piece could come from any of those sources or Darner could choose to bank the scholarship and save it for the 2018 class.
It seems logical that Green Bay would look for another big man for this recruiting class, but that may not necessarily be the case. In Darner’s final season at Florida Southern in 2015 he won a Division II national championship with a roster that consisted of only one player taller than 6’5”.
One of the Phoenix signees in the 2017 class so far is 6’8” Will Chevalier, though he projects to be more of a stretch four at this point. 6’6” Sandy Cohen also played some power forward at Marquette, though he didn’t seem to enjoy playing that position and is better in a playmaking role as a guard on the wings.
Here is a brief rundown on a few of the players that Green Bay has been linked with up to this point:
The Phoenix coaching staff seem to have Chicago native Manny Patterson as their top priority. The 6’8” big man stars at Kenwood Academy and is one of the top remaining uncommitted prospects in Illinois. He is listed as a 3-star recruit according to ESPN as well as 247 Sports.
Patterson, known for his defense, rebounding, and finishing around the rim, could provide a role as a rim protector and is an above average rebounder – something the Phoenix will need to help offset the losses due to the graduations of Kenneth Lowe and Jamar Hurdle.
Green Bay was in on Patterson early, extending a scholarship offer way back in July of 2015. He seems like a logical fit and would challenge for playing time almost immediately as 6’8” David Jesperson and 6’9” Kerem Kanter are the only returning post players for the Phoenix next season.
Patterson took an official visit to the UW-Green Bay campus this past September.
“I liked it,” he said in a video posted last fall by Prep Hoops Illinois. “I could feel the school had a lot of support around me. I could come in right away and play and get the jitters out right away.”
In the video, Patterson says he was hoping to have a recruiting decision made before January but has seen his recruiting heat up a bit lately.
In addition to offers from Central Connecticut State, Towson, Iona, Southern Illinois, and Green Bay, Patterson has received scholarship offers from East Tennessee State and Toledo in the past few weeks.
The only other official visit he has taken was to Central Connecticut this past October.
The Phoenix coaching staff has still been keep tabs on Patterson, taking a visit to one of Kenwood’s games a few weeks ago in Chicago.
Kenwood is 16-6 overall and went 8-2 in the Chicago Public League Red Central Division. They opened the Public League playoffs on Monday with a first round win against Collins and will take on Bogan Wednesday evening in the second round.
Another player Green Bay is keeping tabs on is 6’5” forward Romon Douglas-Watkins.
The Manual High School star was named area co-Player of the Year by the Peoria Star Journal last season after he led his team at 16.9 points and 7.7 rebounds per game and helped the Rams to a third place finish in the Class 3A state finals. Over the summer, unfortunately, Douglas-Watkins tore his ACL playing AAU basketball.
After undergoing knee surgery and missing most of his senior season, he was scheduled to return to practice with his high school team last week and will likely be able to play in a few games before the post season begins. It remains to be seen how effective he will be as he works towards getting back to 100% healthy.
In addition to Green Bay, he had scholarship offers from Illinois State and Bethune Cookman but obviously coaches at these schools as well as several other mid-majors throughout the Midwest will want to see how his recovery from knee surgery has progressed.
Another player the Phoenix have been keeping tabs on is 6’5” JUCO combo guard Deangelo Isby.
The Phoenix offered a scholarship last July and he would have two season of eligibility remaining, helping to balance the classes a little bit.
Isby has a Charles Cooper-type build and would provide versatility on both sides of the floor. He is currently averaging 14.4 points and 5.5 rebounds per game for Wabash Valley CC.
“Very versatile,” Wabash Valley head coach Mike Carpenter said via the Indianapolis Star. “He’s 6’5” and played point guard most of his high school career. He’s added 15 pounds of muscle since he got here and has extended his 3-point range.
“We’ve used him anywhere from the 1 to 4 (positions). He’s a matchup nightmare.”
Isby is connecting on 35% of his three point attempts this season and is a 77% free throw shooter.
Originally from Chicago Hillcrest High School, he boasts 14 scholarship offers in all including Green Bay and several solid mid-major programs such as Utah State, Iona, Southern Illinois, and UIC.
Green Bay also offered a scholarship last April to 6’5” guard Lucas Williamson from Chicago’s Whitney Young HS. He has eight scholarship offers in total: Green Bay, UIC, Toledo, Northern Illinois, Bowling Green, Bucknell, Hofstra, and Hampton.
A scholarship hasn’t been offered yet, but the Phoenix have also started to show interest in 6’5” guard Jason Whitens from Powers, MI in the Upper Peninsula. Whitens attended Green Bay’s 83-73 victory over Cleveland State on January 23rd as well as the 86-69 thumping of Valparaiso on Saturday at the Resch Center and has scholarship offers from Division II schools Northern Michigan and Lake Superior State. He is also a standout football player and has been gaining interest from college football programs across the Midwest.
He could be a preferred walk-on candidate at Green Bay or possibly a 5-for-4 candidate where the player redshirts and pays his own way for one season and then is on scholarship for the next four.
Darner and his staff could also search for another junior college big man option or wait to see if another Division I transfer becomes available, though that could leave them shorthanded with Sandy Cohen sitting out at least the first semester next season, possibly the whole year.
They could also bank the final scholarship and save it for the 2018 class – one that is shaping up to be very solid in Wisconsin. As of right now, the Phoenix have 3 scholarships available for the 2018 class.
Green Bay has extended scholarship offers to at least eight 2018 prospects, seven of which are from the state of Wisconsin.