After making the decision to transfer to Green Bay after playing one season at La Salle for health reasons (multiple concussions), 6-4 guard Cole Stefan struggled to make his mark in Brian Wardle’s program.
In 19 games last season Stefan, a native of Minnetonka, Minn., averaged 3.4 points per game and shot 33.3% from beyond the arc. On Thursday it was announced that Stefan has decided to transfer, making him the fifth player to leave the Green Bay program since February.
The news comes less than a week after the school announced that, following an investigation into allegations of wrongdoing, it would retain Wardle as head coach.
“I think in all honesty that I can’t reach my full potential at Green Bay,” Stefan told Rob Demovsky of the Green Bay Press-Gazette.
“I had to leave La Salle because of medical issues, and I thought it would be more positive to stay closer to home, but maybe it wasn’t the best fit from the beginning. I feel like I can’t do what I want to do or reach my potential in that environment.”
With his decision to transfer, Stefan joins guards Kam Cerroni and Sultan Muhammad, and forwards Nick Arenz and Ryan Bross as players who have left the program.
While the exodus of players from the Green Bay program clearly isn’t the ideal situation, it should also be noted that on Thursday two players issued a statement in support of their head coach.
Center Alec Brown (14.1 ppg, 6.0 rpg) and guard Kiefer Sykes (15.9 ppg, 4.3 apg), Green Bay’s top two scorers last season (and that will be the case in 2013-14 as well), said the following in defense of Wardle according to the Press-Gazette:
“We are really happy that the investigation is over, and we are excited about playing together next season for coach Wardle and our other coaches. This has not been an easy couple of months for our team and coaches to go through and we are ready to move forward. The character and communication in our locker room is really good right now, and we are focused on getting better this offseason and contending for a championship next year.”
In addition to Brown and Sykes, Green Bay returns one of the Horizon League’s top newcomers in 6-7 forward Jordan Fouse (6.8 ppg, 7.9 rpg) and welcomes a three-member recruiting class (forwards Turner Botz and Kenneth Lowe, and guard Tevin Findlay).
If the remaining pieces are all pushing in the same direction, Green Bay can improve upon their 18 wins of a season ago.
Raphielle can be followed on Twitter at @raphiellej.