2007-08 UWGB Basketball Preview
Wisconsin Green Bay Phoenix
Overall Rank: #136
Conference Rank: #4 Horizon
2006-07: 18-15, 7-9, 4th (t)
2006-07 postseason: none
Wisconsin Green Bay has rarely seen this much talent on one squad. Last year was disappointing and the future appears bright, but right now the Phoenix need to live up to their potential or the program might have to look in a different direction. Coach Tod Kowalczyk will run an uptempo game and finally has the depth to do it, but the departure of point guard Ryan Evanochko will leave the job of controlling tempo in unproven hands.
Evanochko was never simply a pass first point guard. Not only did he lead the team with 5.2 assists per game, but he also tallied a team high 15.0 points per contest and the backcourt will be looking for a new go-to-scorer. Fellow guard Ryan Werch will not be returning to the program for his senior campaign. The loss of Evanochko is huge, but the absence of Josh Lawrence and Aswan Minatee should raise some concern as well. Both forwards were part-time starters and the versatility of Lawrence will not be easily replaced.
So who is the new point guard in Green Bay? Who knows, but there sure are a whole lot of choices. Rahmon Fletcher, a Missouri product, garnered a few all-state honors during his prep career and could be the starting point guard from day one. Yet, so could Edgar Segura. Segura is a crafty, pass first point guard and as long as he can walk the fine line between flashy and too flashy, the Saltillo, Mexico native will be in the mix for quality playing time as a freshman. Bryquis Perine could run the show, but the smooth shooting lefty will likely spend most of his time on the wings. As if that was not enough, D’Angalo Jackson will be eligible to play at the semester break. Jackson spent half a season down the Creighton depth chart before heading closer to home. Jackson is extremely quick and based on talent alone, should be the starting point guard when he is eligible to play. Eric VanCleave, a transfer from the school that made Craig T. Nelson a star, Minnesota State, and walk-on Nate Claassen will provide emergency depth to the suddenly deep backcourt. There are some big guy newcomers too. Pat Nelson, a 6-9 forward, earned seven starts as a freshman at Ball State and J.J. Henley, a strong 6-7 power forward, will add some bulk to the Phoenix front line.
Who to Watch:
Mike Schachtner is the team’s leading returning scorer, averaging 14.9 points per game last year. The 6-9 junior is an efficient shooter from behind the arc and will battle under the basket as well. His versatility makes him difficult to guard, which means the opposition will foul him quite a bit. And that is not a good idea as Schachtner shot 91.2 percent from the charity stripe last year. Terry Evans will do the dirty work. At just 6-5, Evans led the team in rebounding and will do so again in 2007-2008. Sophomore Randy Berry earned ten starts last season and combines the height of Schachtner with the toughness of Evans. It may be difficult to keep him on the bench for too long.
Just about everybody on the team will take their shots from behind the arc, but besides Schachtner, guards Troy Cotton and Ryan Tillema are the main shooters on the team. Cotton, the starting shooting guard, connected on 46.2 percent of his shots from long range and is the likely candidate to take over the majority of the points left behind by Evanochko. Tillema, who is listed as a 6-8 guard but is really a forward that can shoot, is expected to increase his role on the team as an upperclassman. This is a young team and next year should be better, but as long as UWGB can find a point guard out of their long list of newcomers, they will compete for second place in the Horizon League.
Projected Post-season Tournament: none
Projected Starting Five:
Rahmon Fletcher, Freshman, Guard, DNP last season
Troy Cotton, Sophomore, Guard, 7.6 points per game
Ryan Tillema, Junior, Guard, 8.6 points per game
Terry Evans, Junior, Forward, 7.7 points per game
Mike Schachtner, Junior, Forward, 14.9 points per game