MILWAUKEE - University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee sports fans got their first look Friday night, Oct. 15 at this year's Panthers men's basketball team.
The team held an open practice, feeding off the fans' energy after a year of empty seats.
"They look good. A lot of good ball movement, so I’m happy about that," said Luke Rogness, a UWM season ticket holder.
Rogness graduated from UWM last May and is excited to come back as an alumnus.
"You know, missing a senior season was really tough because you only get four years of college right? So not having that and being able to come back – happy to still be in the city, so I can go and cheer on my guys," Rogness said.
UW-Milwaukee Panthers men's basketball practice ( )
"It’s our first time in a long time being in front of anyone, so this is a great opportunity for our guys," said head coach Pat Baldwin.
It's not just the fans' return that is stirring a buzz around the team. Baldwin's son, five-star recruit Patrick Baldwin Jr., is now on the roster – choosing to play for dad over offers from top schools.
On Friday, the coach was all fans saw of the Baldwin duo; Baldwin Jr. was one of five players who stayed on the bench. A communications spokesperson said it was to prevent injury.
Coach Baldwin said he hopes to have the team running smoothly by the time Horizon League play begins.
"There’s a lot of work that we have to do still. I think the greatest thing that comes out of this is we continuously try to build chemistry," Coach Baldwin said.
The Panthers' home opener is Nov. 13.