UWM Panthers basketball; summer practice in full swing

If you are college-aged, this is the time of year for cookouts and beach days. But if you are college aged and on the basketball team at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, this is the time of year for working toward the winter.

The UWM Panthers spend a lot of time in meeting rooms and on the practice court. That's to be expected during the college basketball season, but it's true in the middle of the summer too.

"I truly believe what happens now and in the preseason will dictate your success or failure in the winter," head coach Bart Lundy said. "I think you're going to see a different Panther team than you saw last November."

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The early part of the 2023-24 season was a struggle. High expectations made the uneven results more discouraging and the coach traced many of the reasons back to the warmer months.

Lundy and his coaching staff have sought better chemistry and believe their efforts in that area are paying off.

"It's night and day with what we had even 12 months ago," he said. "So really for the first time in my three years, I feel like I'm no longer a manager of this program, I'm coaching."

A former Whitnall High School standout, Danilo Jovanovich is at Milwaukee via Miami of Florida and Louisville.

"I feel old just knowing that I've been in college for three years now, but I feel new just trying to learn a new system, trying to gel with everybody on and off the court," he said.

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Erik Pratt is a holdover, who helped the team persevere through that rough start a season ago to almost make the NCAA Tournament. He's all-in on this collection of talent.

"Potential is there, potential is there," Pratt said. "It's all about what we do."

These Panthers believe the greater good is out there and the work they are putting in now will enable them to find it.