With college basketball season set to begin in late November, UWGB gearing up

Phoenix head coach Will Ryan is getting ready for his first season under unusual circumstances.
Posted at 9:58 PM, Sep 16, 2020
and last updated 2020-09-16 23:29:46-04

GREEN BAY, Wis. (NBC 26) -- Taking over a new program is difficult. For new UWGB head coach Will Ryan, taking over in the middle of a global pandemic is even harder.

"We're doing the best we can," Ryan, the son of former Badgers coach Bo Ryan, said Wednesday in an exclusive interview with NBC 26. "I'm having a blast with these guys. It is a little difficult trying to get to know them face to face or mask to mask."

The masks, along with regular COVID-19 testing, are just a few of the aspects UWGB has put in place to help make sure its men's basketball team is following proper protocols. But they're not exactly player friendly.

"I can't wait until the day we can take these off and it is difficult to do through the masks but we're working through it," Ryan said.

"Every day we're fighting," senior guard P.J. Pipes said. "We run with it on, we lift with it on, each day we're getting better with it."

The Phoenix are also working out in small pods. While it helps to reduce the likelihood of a spread it does provide Ryan with another challenge.

"You find yourself repeating yourself quite a bit," he said. "You get more one on one work with the smaller group and you get more reps."

The NCAA announced Wednesday it plans to begin its Division I men's college basketball season on November 25, about three weeks later than usual.

Ryan said the Horizon League has been holding daily conference calls to discuss ideas for the season. Some of those ideas include a potential 'bubble' or 'podding' groups of teams to limit travel and potential exposure to COVID-19. Ryan said those are just ideas and nothing is set in stone at this point.