The 3rd Man In

Panoske set to lead the way

Everyone knows the Milwaukee Panthers men’s basketball team struggled last season but it is a new year and a new team, and it is time to get excited for the 2013-14 season. With 11 new faces, there are some unknowns, but one thing is for sure, J.J. Panoske will be a key player to the Panthers success.

“With eleven new faces, we got a lot of new guys. I have been here for three years, so I can bring a lot of things to the table that some guys really can’t because they haven’t been here to long,” said Panoske regarding his role of being a leader this season.

Panoske, a redshirt sophomore, was one of the few bright spots from last year’s team. In 29 games played, including 16 starts, he was able to record double figures in points four times, along with a double-figure rebounding game, and he also set the school record with 41 blocked shots. While these numbers are already impressive, expect Panoske to continue to get even better.

After the departure of James Haarsma from last season’s team, Panoske will slide into the starting power forward position. With his work this offseason on his inside game, look for him to become an even bigger presences on both sides of the ball.

In the preseason Horizon League poll, voted by the leagues coaches and media and sports information directors, the Panthers were selected to finish in last place. With 11 new players and the way the team performed last season, you can see why some might doubt Milwaukee, but expect the Panthers to have a chip on their shoulder this season.

“We take offense to it, but only to a certain extent,” said Panoske. “We use it as motivation. That is one thing we talked as soon as it all came out, now we just got to come out and prove ourselves every night. That is how we look at it, that is how coach has addressed it.”

Panoske is poised for a breakout 2013-14 campaign, with his remarkable shot blocking abilities and developing offensive game. He has the potential to become one of the better-shot blockers in the country, and if he is able to become a serious threat offensively, one of the better big men the Milwaukee Panthers have had in recent years.

No matter what the preseason poll predicted, every team has to prove it on the court. With 11 new players, there are some unknowns, but with Panoske leading this team, they are poised for an improved season.

“From how practice has been looking, and how much more of a team we are this year, I think sky is the limit with this group,” said Panoske. “Even though we have eleven new faces, we got a lot of guys who can be productive off the bat.”

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