3 (tie). Green Bay Phoenix
Experienced Green Bay Looks to Pick Up Right Where it Left Off
Linc Darner’s last two seasons as a head coach have been pretty good…to say the least. A Division 2 National Championship was followed up by a Horizon League Tournament title and an NCAA Tourney berth in his first season at Green Bay. But even though Carrington Love and Jordan Fouse have graduated, the Phoenix are still in good shape. They have the most experienced roster in the H-League, with six seniors and three juniors. Charles
Cooper is the leading returning scorer and rebounder for the Phoenix (13.6 ppg, 5.5 rpg). They have as deep a frontcourt as anyone in the H-League, led by Kenneth Lowe, Kerem Kanter, and Jamar Hurdle. Not only were the Phoenix one of the highest scoring teams in the country last season, they were also very stout defensively. With Love being the primary ball handler last season, expect Anthony Brown and Khalil Small to handle much of the point guard duties. If there is one H-League team that is not going to be phased when the going gets tough, it is this Phoenix team. They are very experienced and talented, which will combine to make them a team to be reckoned with. Even if they get off to a slow start, do not be surprised if they catch fire again in March.
Projected H-League Record: 12-6
3 (tie). Oakland Golden Grizzles
Oakland Still Has Championship Dreams
A lot has changed for Oakland from last season. They are without All-American Kay Felder, who left after his junior season and is now in the NBA. Their non-conference schedule has them largely at home and playing only two major conference schools. They also have two new assistant coaches. Felder’s departure opens the door for a couple of new guards to shine; well-traveled transfer Stevie Clark and highly touted incoming freshman Brailen Neely. But Oakland’s best player is also one of the league’s most underrated ones, junior forward Jalen Hayes, who was an All-League Second Team selection last season. He is a constant presence around the key for the Golden Grizzlies, averaging 13.1 points and 8.6 rebounds per game last season. Along with Clark, a big X-factor for the Golden Grizzlies is junior swingman Martez Walker, who was inconsistent in his shortened season with Oakland last year. But he also showed some great signs of his offensive talents. Expect an increased role from sophomore big man Xavier Hill-Mais, who really played well toward the end of last season. If he gets the minutes, he has the talent to be the H-League’s most improved player. Oakland does not have a very deep bench. But the good news is that most of their players in the rotation are very experienced and are used to logging lots of minutes. Projected H-League Record: 12-6