The Green Bay Phoenix will need several players to consistently contribute this season if they hope to improve on their dismal 10-20 record against Division I opponents from a season ago.
Cody Schwartz was already on the roster last year but had to sit out the entire season due to NCAA rules after transferring from San Jose State. He will likely need to be one of the key contributors, especially on the offensive end, for the Phoenix this season.
He has had a year to work on his game, get stronger, and get acclimated with head coach Linc Darner’s up-tempo style of play, but Darner is hoping fans are patient as the former West De Pere High School star works his way back up to full game-speed.
“We have to give him some time,” Darner said Tuesday night during the first episode of the Green Bay Phoenix Coaches Show on WDUZ. “He hasn’t played in a year, he’s going to probably have some ups and downs.”
“A game is different than practice. The intensity level, as much as you want practice to be, when you get in a game it’s a little bit different.”
By most accounts Schwartz was one of Green Bay’s best players during their pre-season trip to Puerto Rico last year when he shot 64.3% (18-28) from beyond the arc en route to averaging 12.6 points and 2.5 rebounds per game in the Phoenix four Puerto Rico exhibitions before sitting out the entire regular season.
Prior to that he was a solid contributor at San Jose State averaging 7.0 points and 2.7 rebounds per game as a freshman in 2015/2016. He made 52 three pointers which was the most of any freshman in the Mountain West Conference. The following year he averaged 3.8 points per game as a sophomore in 30 games for the Spartans before deciding to transfer home and having to sit out a year.
While with San Jose State, a staggering 80.3% of Schwartz’s shot attempts were three pointers. He attempted 300 total field goals in his two years with the Spartans and 241 of those attempts were from beyond the arc.
But while he has shown to be a capable three point shooter – he’s made 35.7% of his threes during his two year career so far – that won’t be his exclusive role in Green Bay where he will have more freedom to score in a variety of ways.
“Cody is another guy that is going to have to score for us,” Darner said. “San Jose State, for some reason, they just told him to go stand out there and shoot threes. We’re going to have him do other things.”
“We’re going to let him put it on the ground. He’s got a good one-two-dribble pull up game. He can go in the post and score. He can score different ways than just being a three point shooter.”
With two key contributors in Khalil Small and David Jesperson gone, Schwartz will have plenty of opportunity to help Green Bay this year after the Phoenix put up its lowest points per game average since Linc Darner took over prior to the 2015/2016 season.
He could even begin the season in the starting lineup, but don’t be surprised if there is still some lingering rust from a long layoff.
“Cody hasn’t played in a year,” Darner said. “Anytime you don’t play for a while it takes time to get used to it.”
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