By Maddy Majewski, Emily Goggins & Kirstynne Hock
Fans and players are hopeful for the upcoming season.
As Green Bay kicked off basketball, they opened their first home game by facing Indiana St. UWGB’s Director of Athletics, Joshua Moon, oversees the 14 Sports NCAA Division 1 athletics programs with approximately 240 student-athletes participating. Moon is “excited to get the season going against a quality opponent.” He is also optimistic for the season, as “Coach Ryan has built a strong foundation – we have great student-athletes here and excited to see them continue to grow and develop as we build a championship program.” With fans being allowed back, Moon thinks it’s “Awesome! Our fans are the best and our teams thrive off of their enthusiasm and support. We need to challenge all of our students to come out, get loud and cheer on their Phoenix at every game!”
Greg Bintz is the Communications assistant intern responsible for a lot of the behind-the-scenes in the athletic department. Bintz stated his tasks are “anything from working on game notes, game programs, running live stats, making graphics in photoshop, posting game updates to team and school social media feeds, and updating the athletics website.” Bintz added, “After the exhibition, games are done. I enjoy the grind of it. Blink once, and it’s Thanksgiving. Blink twice, and it’s New Year. Blink one more time, and it’s done. It’s like running a marathon.” He is “very optimistic” about the upcoming season, and said “my belief is that last year for most teams, no matter the sport or level, was a wash because it is so different now that we’re relatively back to normal. Specifically, on the men’s basketball side, the team got bigger height-wise. Despite eight new players and no seniors, the leadership of the team is one of quality. I have zero doubt Coach Ryan will help guide the team to a successful season. I think the team may surprise some people.” With fans being welcomed back, Bintz is “ecstatic.” Bintz said, “Having that energy makes the whole game atmosphere more live. People can sit courtside again … and there are other awesome promotional items that make fans coming back even more exciting. I say this jokingly, but comparing this year from last season, it’s nice not to hear the buzz-feed from the speakers all the time.”
Julia Kostopoulos is the athletic photographer at UWGB, where she runs the men’s basketball Instagram, Facebook, and sometimes Twitter. She posts different videos of plays on their story during games. Kostopoulos’ favorite part of the season is “seeing how hard the guys work and all of the time they put into being the players they are, and when games start. I think that’s when the work starts to pay off.” Having fans back in the stands “gets the guys pumped up during the games. Fans make the Kress and Resch extra special. It really didn’t feel like game days last year without fans,” Kostopoulos stated. Kostopoulos is “optimistic” about the upcoming season. She stated, “it’s evident during practices these guys want to be successful as a team. It’s a great group of guys with great personalities and work ethics. I’m looking forward to people getting to watch them on the court.”
Phoenix basketball fans Hannah Asplund and Jacob Maule shared their thoughts on the upcoming season and fans back in the stands. Asplund said, “she is very optimistic about the upcoming season.” Maule is also optimistic about this upcoming season and shared he “is excited to see where they will go.” Both Asplund and Maule are excited that fans are back in the stands to bring excitement to the team.
Randy Tucker, a Redshirt sophomore shooting guard/ small forward for the Green Bay Phoenix, believes this upcoming season will be fun. Tucker said, “I believe we can make some noise in the conference and surprise a lot of people this year.” Tucker also mentioned, “I’m looking forward to growing on the court with our team, having fun, and finding ways to win games.” Tucker shared what he is most looking forward to regarding this season, and he said, “I’m looking forward to growing on the court with our team, having fun, and finding ways to win games.” In terms of fans being allowed back in the stands, Tucker said, “I love it. Fans give us an atmosphere that you can not simulate. Whether at home or on the road, I have always enjoyed having people at the games.”
Mitch Listau, a redshirt sophomore shooting guard for the Green Bay Phoenix, shared how he feels about the upcoming season and what he is looking forward to. Listau said, “I am very excited for the season to start. I’m super optimistic about the group we have and what we could potentially accomplish this season”. As for what Listau is looking forward to this season is “the improvements that we will inevitably make as the year goes on. I think we will become a very tight-knit group that loves playing for the guy standing next to them.” In terms of fans being allowed back in the stands, Listau said, “having fans back is going to be awesome. It was so weird last season not having that energy to feed off of the fans. It was something you almost took for granted. But now that they are back, and family and friends are able to come to see you again, it’s very exciting.” The upcoming season for the Green Bay Phoenix is going to be one to watch.
Both Tucker and Listau were asked what their favorite part about being on the Green Bay Basketball team is, and they shared that the competitiveness. They all want to win and make each other better. The team also has a sense of togetherness. Tucker shared, “We stick together, and if one guy falls, we make sure to pick each other up.” Listau also said, “At the end of the day, we are one team and are always pulling for each other.” This Phoenix men’s basketball team is ready to take on this upcoming season together.
The Phoenix fans were loud, and the Green Bay players had a lead until the last minutes of the 2nd half. Indiana State narrowly won against Green Bay 81 to 77. While this was their first loss, it was evident that the fans came to cheer and brought that buzz back into basketball.