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Wisconsin-Green Bay Offseason News Update

October 31, 2003 Conference Notes No Comments

Wisconsin-Green Bay Offseason News Update

by Nick Dettmann

Phoenix land junior college guard

Highly touted junior college guard Javier Mendiburu signed a National Letter of Intent to play basketball for the Phoenix this upcoming season.

Mendiburu, a native of Badalona, Spain, comes to the Phoenix from junior college perennial powerhouse Indian Hills Community College in Ottumwa, Iowa. Mendiburu will have two years of eligibility remaining upon arriving in Green Bay.

“Javier is a versatile guard who can score in a variety of ways,” head coach Tod Kowalczyk said. “He has a neutral feel for the game and is one of the best passers I’ve seen.”

Mendiburu nearly doubled his output from his freshman campaign to his sophomore season, averaging 6.4 points and 8.5 assists per game last season.

Indian Hills went 54-14 during his two years, bowing out of tournament play last season to eventual junior college national champion Southeastern Community College.

Mendiburu will join a very diverse group of recruits for Kowalczyk’s troops. He will join Ryan Evanochko (Beaver Falls, Pa.), Tyler Koening (Fargo, ND), Josh Lawrence (West Brooklyn, Ill.), Kevin Henderson (Minneapolis, Minn.) and Adrian Schaffer (Rochester, Mich.) in Kowalczyk’s first full recruiting class.

Lakeland lands former Phoenix assistant

Gary Grzesk was named the head men’s basketball coach at NCAA Division III Lakeland College in Sheboygan, Wisc.

Grzesk was an assistant under head coach Tod Kowalczyk for one season and was a stand-out guard for the Phoenix from 1992-96.

“It is a compliment to any basketball program to have its assistant coaches selected for head coaching positions,” Kowalczyk said. “Gary was a great player here and has certainly been a terrific assistant coach. This is a great opportunity and we wish him the best of luck.”

After six seasons as an assistant with league rival Youngstown State, Grzesk joined the UW-Green Bay staff in 2002. While a player for the Phoenix, Green Bay posted a blistering 87-33 record including three straight trips to the NCAA tournament.

Former Marquette star added to coaching staff

Head coach Tod Kowalczyk did not have to look far to fill the assistant coach vacancy left by Gary Grzeck. Kowalczyk went with his roots to Marquette and hired Jon Harris, a former graduate assistant and player at Marquette University to assume the role as assistant coach.

“I am extremely excited to have the opportunity to work with Jon Harris again,” Kowalczyk said. “First and foremost he is a tremendous person and will serve as a great role model for our players. Jon has seen first-hand the same rebuilding process that I saw at Marquette. He knows my intensity, he knows the offense and he knows the way I want things done.”

“Working with Coach Kowalczyk at Marquette was a wonderful experience and joining up with him again is a great opportunity for me,” Harris said. “With the returning players and the great lass of freshmen coming in, I know he’s got things moving in the right direction.”

Harris was a key contributor for the Golden Eagles during his four years with the Blue and Gold. Harris saw action in every game of his final three seasons, primarily as a top interior reserve. He ranked second on the team in rebounds as a sophomore and started in 22 ball games during his career.

During his career with Marquette, Harris grabbed 494 rebounds and shot 53 percent from the floor during his career. He graduated from Marquette in 2002 with a degree in psychology.

Resch Center among nation’s leaders in attendance increase

Building a new arena does have its advantages, it draws people to games. The University of Wisconsin-Green Bay men’s basketball team enjoyed a 45 percent increase in attendance during its first year in the Resch Center.

It is the largest single season increase at UW-Green Bay in 16 years.

During the first year of the Tod Kowalczyk era, the Phoenix averaged 4,294 fans a game, up from 2,959 in 2001-02 at the Brown County Coliseum. The 1,335 average increase in attendance ranked 19th nationally among 325 Division I schools according to the NCAA.

On Nov. 30, 2002, the Wisconsin Badgers came to town and helped UW-Green Bay set a new single-game school attendance record with a sellout crowd of 9,705 fans.

The first game of the 2003-04 season at the Resch Center, which is located in Green Bay’s stadium district with the Don Hutson Center and Lambeau Field, is on Saturday, Nov. 29 when the Mid-Continent Conference’s Western Illinois comes to town.

King picked to play in Pan-Am games

Senior forward Mike King was selected to play on his native Canadian National Team at the Pan American Games. The games were held on August 2-9 in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic.

King became the second player in school history to participate in the Pan Am games, joining former UW-Green Bay great Tony Bennett who played point guard for the United States in 1991.

King made the squad after spending two seasons with the junior national team as well as a stint with the senior team in early July in an NBA-sponsored summer league in California.

In five league games, he averaged 4.2 points and 2.6 rebounds a game, earning playing time that ranked among the top five on the Team Canada roster.

Last season for the Phoenix, King let his dominating presence be shown again as he was one of 10 finalists for the Jimmy V Foundation “Comeback of the Year” award.

He is one of three returning starters for UW-Green Bay. He needs just 150 points to be added as the 17th member of the 1,000-point club at Green Bay.

King plays for Team Canada at Olympic Qualifying Tournament

After an impressive showing at the Pan-American games, King was selected to represent Canada at the Olympics Qualification Tournament in San Juan, Puerto Rico.

King was one of four players on the national team who are currently playing at the NCAA Division I college level. Also on the team was two-time NBA All-Star Steve Nash of the Dallas Mavericks.

Team Canada did not qualify for the 2004 Olympics in Athens, Greece as they lost to Puerto Rico 79-66 in the bronze medal game. With the win, Puerto Rico grabbed the third and final Athens berth. The United States and Argentina also qualified as they played in the gold medal game.

Kowalczyk adds another junior college stand-out

University of Wisconsin-Green Bay head coach Tod Kowalczyk has used his first full recruiting class to go outside the friendly confines of Wisconsin. With his eighth recruit, he decided to stay in-state this time as he snagged Brandon Morris of Kenosha.

Morris decided that he is going to transfer from Iowa Western Community College to play for the Phoenix this season. Morris rounds out a big incoming class which features players from different parts of the country and even the world.

Morris, a 6-foot-1 180 pound guard, hails from Kenosha St. Joseph’s High School in Kenosha, Wisc. He will be immediately ready to play for the Phoenix as he will have two years of eligibility remaining.

“Brandon is an exceptionally talented guard who will have an immediate impact,” Kowalczyk said. “He’s as talented player as we’ve signed, and a guy I look for to provide a great deal of leadership to this program. His best attributes are infectious: enthusiasm, toughness and dedication to the game. I am excited and proud to be his coach.”

Last year at Iowa Western, Morris averaged 10 points a game and was among NJCAA national leaders in assists with nearly six a game.

UW-Green Bay beat out Iowa State of the Big 12 and St. Bonaventure of the Atlantic 10 for the services of Morris, whose impact looks to be immediate within the entire league.

Kowalczyk names new Director of Basketball Operations

Head coach Tod Kowalczyk named Ryan Dowley the new Director of Basketball Operations on Thursday, Oct. 2, replacing Luke Kiss who left Green Bay to take the coaching position at Michigan Tech University.

“Ryan has valuable experience in administrative roles,” Kowalczyk said. “He’s ready to hit the ground running at UW-Green Bay.”

Dowley comes to Title Town from Shores Christian Academy in Ocala, Fla., where he was an assistant coach for one season. The prep school squad played a competitive national schedule and featured numerous players who advanced onto the Division I level.

Prior to Shores, Dowley was an administrative assistant with Liberty University and its men’s basketball team from 2000-02. He was also a student manager with Liberty for four years, including head manager duties.

Dowley, a native of White Pigeon, Mich., received his degree in sport management from Liberty in 2002.


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