A look at the 2020-21 Green Bay Phoenix Men’s Basketball Team; A surprising 0-8 start

Head coach Will Ryan is in his first year at Green Bay
Sophomore guard Amari Davis is the star of the team. Averages 15.3ppg

BEASTS IN THE BACKCOURT
With league officially underway, Green Bay is
pleased with the performance of its guards
through the first six games. Josh Jefferson
and Amari Davis both rank inside the top 10 in
scoring, with PJ Pipes also landing in the top

  1. Lucas Stieber is coming off the bench and
    providing quality minutes as well, ranking second
    in the conference with a 2.9 assist/turnover ratio.

NO TIME FOR TURNOVERS
The Green Bay men’s basketball team has really
been taking care of the rock recently. The Phoenix
surrendered only five turnovers at Marquette, a
team which ranks atop the Big East in numerous
defensive categories. The last time a team had
such few turnovers against the Golden Eagles
was on March 7, 2018, when Creighton yielded
only four.

WE WANT MOORE
Toledo transfer Donavan Moore is now
immediately eligible after the NCAA Division I
Council voted Wednesday to grant a blanket
waiver allowing all Division-I transfers to play
immediately this year. Emmanuel Ansong is a
transfer from DII Wheeling University, so the
blanket waiver does not apply.

OUR REIGNING ROOKIE
Sophomore Amari Davis was named the Horizon
League freshman of the year last season and
earned an all-league third-team nod. In result,
Davis was named to the preseason all-league
first team and will look to build upon last year’s
success.

JEFFERSON FINDING HIS STRIDE
Redshirt Senior Josh Jefferson saw in-game
action at Minnesota for the first time in 628 days.
Although it seems like the guard hasn’t missed
a step, securing double-figure scoring in all six
of Green Bay’s games this season. Jefferson is
coming off a career-high 21-point performance
against Milwaukee and is tied for the team lead
in scoring with 15.3 PPG.

Josh Jefferson is a redshirt senior. He averages 15.3 ppg
PJ Pipes is a senior and the second leading scorer at 13.3 ppg

RYAN’S FIRST RECRUITING CLASS
Head coach Will Ryan completed his first
recruiting class at the helm of the Green Bay
basketball program in early November, as three
in-state standouts inked national letters of
intent to play for the Phoenix during the signing
period. Kamari McGee (Racine, Wis.), Brayden
Dailey (Cuba City, Wis.) and Cade Meyer (Monroe,
Wis.) will all join the roster next season. McGee,
Meyer and Dailey are widely considered three of
the top-10 players from Wisconsin in the 2021
class.

DAVIS’ DOMINANT FRESHMAN CAMPAIGN
Not only did Amari Davis cement his name in the
Phoenix record books, he also left his mark from
a league-wide standpoint when he accumulated
10 HL freshman of the week honors, breaking
Dikembe Dixson’s record of eight set in 2015-16.

FINDING HIS RANGE
It may come as a shock considering Amari Davis
was the HL Freshman of the Year and broke the
program’s freshman scoring record set by Hall of
Famer Tony Bennet in 1989, but he sank his first
career three-pointer in the second half of GB’s
matchup at #4 Wisconsin this season. Davis has
since added shots from deep to his repertoire,
finishing 7-of-9 from beyond the arc this past
weekend vs Milwaukee.

FINDING HIS RANGE
It may come as a shock considering Amari Davis
was the HL Freshman of the Year and broke the
program’s freshman scoring record set by Hall of
Famer Tony Bennet in 1989, but he sank his first
career three-pointer in the second half of GB’s
matchup at #4 Wisconsin this season. Davis has
since added shots from deep to his repertoire,
finishing 7-of-9 from beyond the arc this past
weekend vs Milwaukee.

THOMPSON PLAYING TOUGH
Freshman Terrance Thompson set a new career
high with five rebounds in Saturday’s matchup
against Milwaukee and tied it the following day.
He also finished only two points of his career high
(8pts vs Eastern Illinois) on Saturday against the
Panthers.

BATTLES WITH B1G PROGRAMS
The Green Bay men’s basketball hasn’t shied
away from tough competition to open the season,
taking the floor against back-to-back opponents
from the big ten. One of those matchups included
the #4 ranked Wisconsin Badgers. The Phoenix
also took the hardwood against Marquette after
their upset over the Badgers, battling the Golden
Eagles to the end before falling 82-68.

CLAPPIN’ FOR CLAFLIN
Freshman Ryan Claflin played valuable minutes
in Green Bay’s double-overtime matchup with
Eastern Illinois, adding a career-high 10 points on
a near-perfect 4-of-5 effort from the field which
included two triples.

WELCOMING WILL RYAN
Head coach Will Ryan joins the Phoenix after a
year at Wheeling University where he improved
the Cardinal’s record from 9-21 to 14-13.

FRESH PHOENIX FACES
Green Bay welcomes a total of 11 new members
to the squad in 2020-21 and returns only two
players with in-game experience from last
season. The Phoenix has eight freshmen on the
roster.

JEFFERSON JUMPING IN
Josh Jefferson, a transfer from Illinois State
in 2019-20, is eligible for the 2020-21 season
after sitting out last year due to NCAA division
I transfer rules. Jefferson averaged 8.7 PPG with
the Redbirds and buried 41 triples in 21 games.

RETURNING MINUTES
Green Bay returns two starters from last season,
senior PJ Pipes and sophomore Amari Davis, who
also happen to be the only players returning to
the roster who donned the green and white for
the Phoenix. Pipes averaged 27.1 MPG and Davis
logged 28.6 MPG, totaling 55.7 of the possible
200 minutes. That’s 28% of the team’s minutes
from last season.

RYAN’S RECORD ON STAFF
Will Ryan joined his father’s staff at Wisconsin in
2002 and has made stops at North Dakota State
(2007-14), Ohio (2014-19) and Wheeling (2019-20)
before taking the helm at Green Bay. His record
on staff at previous stops is an impressive 352-
221.
Overall Record before GB: 352-221
Wisconsin: 123-42
North Dakota State: 134-84
Ohio: 81-77
Wheeling: 14-13

KRASHING THE KRESS
Since the inception of the Kress Events Center
in November 2007, the men’s basketball program
has taken the floor in official game action 19
times. The Phoenix owns a 12-7 record in those
contests, with 10 of those victories spanning
over the last two seasons.

PRESEASON #HLMBB POLL
Pl. School (1st-place) – Votes

  1. Wright State (37) – 517
  2. Youngstown State (3) – 423
  3. Northern Kentucky (4) – 413
  4. Robert Morris – 345
  5. UIC – 312
  6. Oakland – 288
  7. Cleveland State – 283
  8. Green Bay – 253
  9. Detroit Mercy – 185
  10. Milwaukee – 172
  11. Purdue Fort Wayne – 127
  12. IUPUI – 114

**The Phoenix have started the year a surprising 0-8, 0-4 in the Horizon League. They have lost on the road to Minnesota, Wisconsin, Marquette and twice to Wright State. Home losses have been to Eastern Illinois 93-91 in 2 overtimes, and archrival Milwaukee twice. They did have one game cancelled due to COVID-19, a game at Northern Iowa.

WHAT THEY’RE SAYING ABOUT COACH WILL RYAN

Bo Ryan, Father and Hall of Fame member, former Wisconsin HC:
“Kelly and I are proud of Will and his accomplishments in coaching and teaching. We wish Will and the
team all the best as they embark on this new and exciting chapter.”

Greg Gard, HC at Wisconsin:
“Will Ryan is a coaching natural. I’ve literally watched him grow up over the last 30 years from being
a ball boy at UW-Platteville games, to coaching him as a player at Platteville High School and with
the Pioneers, to the start of his coaching career with us at Wisconsin. You could tell early he was
so at ease on the floor as a player and in his initial coaching roles. He saw, thought, and understood
the game in a way that was way beyond his years. His knowledge of the game is exceptional, and
combined with his level-headed demeanor and ability to communicate with today’s student-athlete,
he’s a great fit for UW-Green Bay. I’m really happy for Will, Emily, and their three boys to return to their
Wisconsin roots and be closer to their friends and family.”

Gene Taylor, AD at Kansas State, former AD at NDSU:
“Congratulations to Will and I’m very happy for Will, Emily and their family. He has worked extremely
hard to get this opportunity and it is well deserved. Will is a tremendous person that will treat his
athletes very well and will be successful.”

Saul Phillips, former HC at Ohio and North Dakota State, current HC at Northern State:
“Will has a great basketball mind. He is incredible at identifying and developing talent. He’ll be a great
fit in the community.”

Rob Jeter, current HC at Western Illinois, former AC under Bo Ryan at Wisconsin and Milwaukee:
“Coach Ryan and his family have had such a positive impact on my life and so many others. Will now
has an opportunity to follow in the footsteps of his grandfather Butch and his father Bo leading and
developing young men. Coaching is in his blood and his future is bright! What a blessing to have that
opportunity in Wisconsin!!!”

Home of the Phoenix, Kress Events Center on the University of Wisconsin – Green Bay campus 2014 photo By Rauglothgor – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, https commons.wikimedia.org

COURTESY GREEN BAY ATHLETIC COMMUNICATIONS

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