|Posted by Brian Dickmann on March 8, 2017 at 12:35 AM|
Photo via Green Bay Athletics
Green Bay's loss in the Horizon League Tournament quarterfinals to UIC marked the end of the most successful four year period in the program’s Division I basketball history.
It also marked the end of the college basketball careers of Green Bay’s six seniors – Kenneth Lowe, Turner Botz, Tevin Findlay, Charles Cooper, Jamar Hurdle, and Warren Jones.
Half of that group came in two seasons ago as part of head coach Linc Darner’s first recruiting class at Green Bay after he was hired in April of 2015. Cooper and Hurdle played key roles in their two seasons with the Phoenix and helped Green Bay make its first NCAA Tournament appearance last year since 1996.
“A couple of them came in with us when Coach Darner first got the job with Coop and Jamar,” associate head coach Randall Herbst said Sunday after the UIC loss on WNFL. “For those guys to be a part of taking us to the tournament last year and having a decent year this year, that was great.”
The third of that group was Jones, who came on strong during conference play this season en route to winning the Horizon League’s Sixth Man of the Year award. He averaged 10.0 points and 2.3 assists in 19.5 minutes per game this season as a senior and provided a much needed deep threat connecting on 37.3% of his three point attempts.
“Warren sat out last year when he first got here but he showed some great flashes this year of being able to score the basketball and being Sixth Man of the Year,” Herbst said.
Green Bay’s six seniors accounted for 60.5% of the team’s scoring this season and 61.1% of the total minutes played. Cooper led the team in scoring at 13.6 and minutes played at 26.3 per game.
While the contributions of those three will be hard enough to replace, the trio of Lowe, Botz, and Findlay won more games during their time at Green Bay than any four year class in program history going 89-42 in their four seasons, an average of 22.3 wins per season. They were freshman for the Phoenix first regular season title since 1996 in 2014 and contributed in a big way to the program’s first NCAA bid in twenty years last season by winning the conference tournament.
All three were recruited by former head coach Brian Wardle, who bolted for Bradley in the spring of 2015, but decided to remain part of the program.
“When you have a coaching change you always have some players in the program that were with the previous staff,” Herbst said. “As far as making the transition, you never know which way it’s going to go. We put in a whole new system, a whole new style of play. We went from playing slower with lots of sets, because they were very successful with Keifer, to up-tempo and not a lot of sets.”
“Those three guys to go from the one staff to our staff, they had a great attitude, they had great work ethic, they’re great teammates, and they were nothing but a joy in the transition.”
The seniors leave behind a winning legacy and big shoes to fill. Green Bay will have at least three freshman and a JUCO transfer incoming next season with two more roster spots to fill before next fall.
Besides the production on the floor, the Phoenix must replace the leadership that the six seniors brought day in and day out. Green Bay will have three seniors next season – Kerem Kanter, Khalil Small, and David Jesperson.
Categories: Green Bay Basketball