Column shows Wardle’s dedication to an NCAA tourney return

Press-Gazette sports editor Mike Vandermause paints a positive picture of Phoenix men’s basketball and Coach Brian Wardle in Monday’s (Feb. 20) newspaper, describing Wardle’s steadfast dedication to the team’s success — and the goal of returning to the NCAA tournament. It has been 16 years since the Phoenix men last made The Dance, a dry spell matched in the 10-school Horizon League by only Loyola and Youngstown State. Wardle refuses to make excuses or blame limited resources for the drought. Read the full column.

Basketball youngsters tease ‘old man’ Wardle
In the aforementioned Mike Vandermause column, he describes a practice last week in which injuries left the Phoenix shorthanded, so Coach Brian Wardle stepped in to participate in half-court 5-on-5 drills. This sort of dedication commands respect from players, Vandermause said, and also offers some comic relief. “They think it’s funny I’m out there huffing and puffing and dying,” Wardle said. We also enjoyed this reflection from freshman guard Keifer Sykes: “He pushes us, he leads by example. We love his energy and we love his tenacity,” Sykes said of Wardle, 32. “Even though he’s getting old, he’s moving slow, but he still has stuff to his game. He still has a nice shot.”

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