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Return to the 2006-07 Top 144 Preview

June 30th, 2006

By Joel Welser

Broadcast Basketball


Wisconsin Green Bay Phoenix

Overall Rank: #132

Conference Rank: #3 Horizon


2005-06: 15-16, 8-8, 3rd (t)

2005-06 postseason: none


UW Green BayLast season was expected to be a small rebuilding year for Wisconsin Green Bay.  And it was a pleasant surprise for the Phoenix when a rebuilding year turned into a reloading year.  With only one departure and a group of newcomers that can compete for minutes, Tod Kowalczyk’s squad is deep and ready to make a run in the Horizon.  A huge group of second year players in the program have had a year of adjustment time and expectations are rightfully high on the shores of Lake Michigan.  Forwards Mike Schachtner and Ryan Tillema started at least 30 games as freshmen and their development will be a big key as to whether or not the Phoenix can make an NCAA run.


Who’s Out: Simon Farine has opted to transfer after one season in Green Bay.  The guard averaged 8.9 minutes in 27 contests and leaves the backcourt depth a little slim.


Who’s In: Yet, that depth will be taken over by a couple of newcomers.  Troy Cotton is a flat out shooter.  He can move without the ball and find the open shot without much of a problem.  Combo guard Chase Sukut can fill in minutes at both guard spots.  A coach’s son, he spent some time at Sheridan Community College in Wyoming before heading east.  Sukut can shoot and handle the ball and has the ability to do whatever is needed at UWGB.  Redshirt freshmen Randy Berry won’t put up big numbers, but the 6-9 forward can do the dirty work on the glass and on the defensive end.


Who to Watch: Ryan Evanochko has developed into a solid floor leader.  If he can continue to improve for his senior season, the Phoenix will be in good hands.  Last season the 6-2 point guard averaged 15.8 points and 5.2 assists.  UWGB could go 13 deep quite easily this season, but it probably won’t reduce the minutes of Evanochko very much.  Evanochko averaged 36.5 minutes per game last season and tiring down the stretch is a concern.  If newcomer Sukut can fill some of those minutes, it would go a long way for allowing the team to make a late run.  Fellow backcourt upperclassman Ryan Werch is a decent shooter, but tends to turn the ball over too much.  He will battle for minutes at the two, but a turnaround season for Werch would mean the Phoenix would have an experienced shooting guard on the floor.  In the frontcourt, keep an eye on Josh Lawrence.  He had a slow start last season, but the senior took great strides in his scoring and overall play as the season progressed.  Another step up like that and the 6-7 Ashton, Illinois product could be an all-conference caliber player.


Final Projection: UWGB is a little frontcourt heavy.  It worked out alright last year, but the three ball wasn’t a major threat from anybody.  This year forwards like Aswan Minatee, Schachtner, Tillema, Lawrence and Evans should see fewer minutes as newcomers Cotton, Sukut and sophomore Cordero Barkley fill the long range shooting role and knock a forward to the bench.  Barkley was forced into action as a freshman due to that lack of perimeter depth.  The playing time has helped and he should be ready to contribute more this season.  A 3rd place finish would be disappointing for this squad, but the Horizon League will be extremely competitive this year with the decline of Wisconsin Milwaukee and the stronger squads sported by most other teams.  A surprise or two from the newcomers and roleplayers is the difference between a first place finish and a third place finish.  By the time the season starts the Packers should be 2-6 and the whole city should be wearing green, white and a touch of red, instead of the #4 jersey.


Projected Post-season Tournament: none


Projected Starting Five:

Ryan Evanochko, Senior, Guard, 15.8 points per game

Terry Evans, Junior, Guard, 7.8 points per game

Josh Lawrence, Senior, Forward, 9.2 points per game

Mike Schachtner, Sophomore, Forward, 10.3 points per game

Ryan Tillema, Sophomore, Forward, 8.7 points per game

#133 Robert Morris » Complete List » #131 Belmont

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