AD Josh Moon’s old colleague is a wild card to everyone else
Sundance “Sunny” Wicks was named Green Bay’s new men’s basketball coach on Tuesday after spending the last three seasons as an assistant coach at Wyoming. Wicks worked alongside Green Bay Athletic Director Josh Moon at Northern State before a two-year stint as Missouri Western head coach.
Wicks’ time at Missouri Western will likely be seen as a mixed bag by Phoenix fans. His 12-18 first season and 30-32 Division II record overall likely won’t be seen in a positive light. But a big jump between those first and second seasons should give some hope that he can actually improve a team when bringing in more of his own guys, as opposed to the evidence seen from his predecessor. Ultimately, Wicks’ time as a head coach seems inconclusive: there are reasons for Green Bay fans to worry and others that provide some intrigue.
As an assistant coach, 2022 was easily the most intriguing for Wicks. Wyoming went 25-9 and earned an at-large berth to the NCAA Tournament. Prior to his time at Missouri Western, he had stops at the aforementioned Northern State, Colorado, Northern Illinois, and San Francisco. Again, there’s not a ton to be gleaned from that. He’s never been a longtime member of a team Green Bay should want to model itself after at the D-I level, but it could be argued that time as an assistant coach doesn’t necessarily translate positively or negatively.
The results of this hire beg the question about whether Green Bay’s fundraising efforts came close to their intended goals. A non-power conference assistant like Wicks is exactly the type you might expect the team to hire on a budget like the one that they hired Will Ryan on. It’s possible that the fundraising went well and Wicks was Moon’s guy all along, and that the extra cash will allow Green Bay to fend off suitors should the hire work out well.
One potential development to watch with Wicks in Green Bay is the large number of transfers out of Wyoming since the portal opened on Monday. While three of the players exploring their options are among the team’s top five scorers and are likely looking to play at a similar or higher level, don’t be shocked if reports surface that Green Bay is talking to the many former Cowboys on the move. If he can land a couple it could quickly jump start his tenure, as there’s a lot of talent leaving Laramie this year.
Ultimately, it’s hard to figure out what to make of Green Bay hiring Wicks. While other candidates mentioned in the late stages of the hiring process like John Brannen and John Tharp have definitely put together teams that could easily beat this year’s Green Bay squad, it’s difficult to make the same argument for Wicks. Moon obviously made a decision with a coach that he’s comfortable with, and one he knows better than anybody reading this. Green Bay fans will have to trust his judgement for the next several years. Everyone else in the Horizon League will get to sit back and see what happens.