Already expected to be an inexperienced team in Brian Wardle’s first season as head coach, the Bradley Braves will also have to account for the loss of their leading scorer in 2015-16.
Wednesday afternoon it was reported by the Peoria Journal-Star that Wardle has dismissed guard Warren Jones from the program. Jones, who was to be a senior this upcoming season, averaged 11.9 points per game last season and was the team’s leading returning scorer. Jones put forth that scoring average in 21 games, making just five starts, and he missed eight games due to a stress fracture in his foot.
Jones was also suspended for four games last season after being arrested on charges of using fake identification and underage drinking at a Peoria strip club in late-January.
Wardle issues the following comment to the Journal-Star regarding the dismissal of Jones from the program:
“I tell our student-athletes that where much is given, much is expected,” Wardle said. “Being a student-athlete at Bradley University is a privilege. In the classroom, community and on the floor, we have high expectations and standards in this program. When someone does not live up to them on a daily basis, changes need to be made. We are here to assist Warren if he would like to pursue other opportunities to continue his basketball career.”
Jones’ dismissal means that Bradley will have to account for the loss of its top five scorers from last season’s nine-win team, with senior point guard Ka’Darryl Bell being the leading returning scorer at 6.1 ppg. The Braves add eight freshmen to the program, and in total nine of their 13 scholarship players will be either freshmen or sophomores.
Green Bay has its new head coach, according to multiple reports on Friday afternoon.
Linc Darner, the head coach of Division II Florida Southern, will replace Brian Wardle as head coach of the Horizon League program. Wardle left for to fill the same position at Bradley on March 27. In five seasons, Wardle was 95-64 (54–20) with two NIT appearances with Green Bay.
Jeff Goodman of ESPN and Jon Rothstein of CBS Sports both reported the news.
Darner, who played for Gene Keady at Purdue, led Florida Southern to the Division II national championship two weeks ago, completing a 34-1 seasons. Daniel Turner, a senior forward for the Mocs, had transferred from Green Bay.
Last season, Kim Anderson led Central Missouri to the D2 title before being hired by Missouri, his alma mater. He has 12 years of head coaching experience all at the Division II level at both Florida Southern and St. Joseph’s College (Indiana).
Darner will be taking over a Horizon League program that loses top scorers Keifer Sykes and Greg Mays, but does retain Jordan Fouse.
Bradley has hired Brian Wardle as their new head coach, the school announced late on Friday night.
“It’s an honor to be the next head coach at Bradley,” Wardle said in a statement released by the school. “Being from Illinois and understanding the program’s success, tradition and support was a real draw for me. I am excited to bring my family to Peoria, getting to know the community and building a foundation and identity for Bradley basketball to last a long time.”
Wardle has been the head coach at Green Bay for the past five seasons, leading them to two straight NITs and a Horizon League regular season title in 2014. Prior to getting the head coaching gig, Wardle was an assistant with the program for five seasons as well as an assistant at Marquette for three years.
Wardle will replace Geno Ford, who struggled in his four seasons as the head coach of the Braves. Bradley was 9-24 last season and just 3-15 in Missouri Valley play.