Green Bay

Green Bay announces addition Rutgers transfer Vincent Garrett

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Forward Vincent Garrett was one of four players to announce his intention to transfer from Rutgers in the midst of the program’s tumultuous spring that included the firing of a head coach and the athletic director tendering his resignation.

On Tuesday it was announced that Garrett will transfer to Green Bay, with the school considering the possibility of applying for a hardship waiver that would make the 6-5 Garrett eligible immediately.

If the appeal is unsuccessful Garrett would have to sit out the 2013-14 season, using his one remaining season of eligibility in 2014-15. Garrett’s decision to transfer to Green Bay reunites the Chicago native with former high school teammates Keifer Sykes and Alfonzo McKinnie (Marshall HS).

“As soon as Keifer heard I was transferring he told Coach Wardle about me and when I visited Green Bay I really appreciated how honest and straight-forward coach was with me about everything,” Garrett said in a statement released by the school.

“I really like the team’s fast style of play and I can see myself fitting in great with the guys. I’m a very athletic guy who can run the floor and can score the ball well, but most of all I’m just looking to help my team win.”

Garrett played in just 12 games in his one season at Rutgers, posting averages of 1.5 points and 0.8 rebounds in four minutes of action per contest. Garrett’s best outing came in the Scarlet Knights’ second game of the season, when he scored six points and grabbed four rebounds (11 minutes) in an 88-62 victory over Sacred Heart.

Prior to joining the Rutgers program Garrett played two years at Lee Junior College in Texas. If eligible to play this season, Garrett will give the Phoenix another front court body to go along with the likes of McKinnie, second team All-Horizon League selection Alec Brown and Greg Mays.

Green Bay also has incoming freshmen Turner Botz and Kenneth Lowe joining the program this summer.

Raphielle can be followed on Twitter at @raphiellej.

Guard Cole Stefan becomes fifth player to leave Green Bay program

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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.

Green Bay will retain head coach Brian Wardle

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During the spring multiple allegations surfaced regarding Green Bay head coach Brian Wardle’s treatment of some of his players, and some of the charges went well beyond the use of profane language.

In one instance former center Ryan Bross alleged that he was forced to run sprints until ultimately soiling his shorts, despite stating the fact that he was dealing with stomach issues.

But for the two players and their families who spoke out against the coach, there were others who supported Wardle.

On Friday, the school announced after completing an investigation into the charges that Wardle will retain his position according to the Green Bay Press-Gazette. There will be sanctions levied against Wardle, but this could have ended in far worse fashion for him.

Those sanctions, as outlined by Chancellor Thomas Harden, are:

• Coach Wardle will be permitted to continue as head men’s basketball coach, but his contract will not be extended during 2013 (beyond his current contract ending date of 2017). Future extensions will be reviewed on an annual basis;

• A disciplinary letter addressing Coach Wardle’s use of vulgar and obscene language and his suggestion that a player have sex will be placed in his personnel file;

• Coach Wardle will be assigned an adviser for the 2013-14 season, with the goal of improving some of the ways in which he motivates student athletes;

• Coach Wardle will be required to be more involved in University-wide activities in the future, to better understand the broader University environment.

In three seasons at Green Bay, Wardle has a record of 47-49. Last season the Phoenix finished with an overall record of 18-16, going 10-6 and finishing tied for third in the Horizon League.

Raphielle can be followed on Twitter at @raphiellej.

Report: Green Bay investigating behavior of head coach Brian Wardle

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One week after Rutgers head coach Mike Rice lost his job due to his verbal and physical abuse of players in practices, another Division I head coach is under investigation in regards to his treatment of a former player.

According to the Green Bay Press Gazette, Green Bay head coach Brian Wardle is being investigated for the alleged “verbal and emotional mistreatment” of a former player.

The accusations were made in a letter to the school from the parents of freshman center Ryan Bross, who has announced his intention to transfer to Concordia (Wis.) University at the end of the semester.

Four players have left the program since February, including guards Kam Cerroni and Sultan Muhammad. The investigation will focus solely on the allegations regarding Wardle’s treatment of Bross, but with the recent departures there will be questions as to whether or not this is a sign of a bigger issue within the program.

When asked whether the letter he received was an isolated incident or a sign of a larger problem, Harden said: “I think that’s what we’re going to determine with the investigation. I don’t want to make an assumption one way or the other. We don’t have widespread complaints or allegations. We have this allegation, the complaint that I got Tuesday night, which we do think we need to check out, and we’re going to do it really well.”

Led by guard Keifer Sykes (15.9 ppg, 4.3 apg) and center Alec Brown (14.1 ppg, 6.0 rpg) the Phoenix finished the 2012-13 season with an 18-16 record (10-6 Horizon League), losing to eventual champion Valparaiso in the semifinals of the Horizon League tournament.

Harden stated that the situation at Rutgers had no impact on the decision to investigate Wardle’s behavior. However it’s likely that what was seen in those practice videos will lead to more attention being paid to the behavior of coaches in the future.

Raphielle also writes for the NBE Basketball Report and can be followed on Twitter at @raphiellej.