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Schwartz makes transition from San Jose back to Green Bay



DE PERE – Cody Schwartz had a knack for putting the basketball through the hoop as a ninth grader at West De Pere High School.

That was followed by three years of being the leading scorer for the Phantoms and finishing his high school career with over 1,700 points.

“We had a great group of guys at West De Pere,” said Schwartz. “I look at more winning conference and going to Madison twice as a team as being the greatest accomplishments.”

Many colleges, including St. Joseph’s and North Dakota State University, called and offered him a scholarship.

When signing day arrived, Schwartz chose San Jose State University, a member of the Mountain West Conference in California.

“Being a Division 1 athlete meant that school and basketball were the two things I had to concentrate on the most,” Schwartz said. “A few buddies of mine and I did get away every now and then to the beach in the offseason.”

San Jose is a bustling city with over 1 million people and home to many tech-savvy employers.

The Spartans were coming off one of their worst basketball seasons (2-28) in the history of the program, and Schwartz was brought on to try and stabilize it.

In his freshman season, he started a majority of the 31 games, averaging 7.0 points, 2.7 rebounds and 1 assist per outing, while logging close to 800 minutes.

The shining moment was a seven-win increase from the previous season.

“I worked really hard leading up to the fall season,” said Schwartz. “The game was very physical and everybody is good. At the top level, you have to focus on each possession and every minute you are on the floor.”

During his sophomore season, Schwartz’s minutes declined and his point production was just less than 4.0 points per game.

He made a decision after the season, right then and there, to transfer back home.

“I was getting homesick and wanted to be able to play basketball somewhere back near De Pere,” Schwartz said. “I loved my time out in California with the weather. Three of my teammates and I stay in contact every day, but the distance was just too much.”

Fortunately for him, the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay had scholarships available, and head coach Linc Darner offered one to Schwartz.

Cody Schwartz (Photo credit to Green Bay Athletics)

Per NCAA rules, Schwartz had to watch from the sidelines for a season after he transferred, as the Phoenix struggled through an atypical losing campaign in 2017.

“It was difficult not playing organized basketball last year for the first time since I can remember,” added Schwartz. “I worked hard in the practices and wanted to continue to get stronger to be able to play in the Horizon League day in and day out.”

Now as a junior, he has been a main component in Green Bay jumping out to a 5-3 record (currently 6-6), which includes a 100-92 win over Belmont, which has reached the NCAA tournament seven times.

“It was a big win for our confidence, especially coming off a down year,” said Schwartz. “I hope it really lifts us now to our ultimate goal of going to the big dance.”

Schwartz is averaging 7.9 points and almost 4 rebounds per game but more importantly is back home playing in front of family and friends.

“I love the system Coach Darner has with the Phoenix,” Schwartz said. “He lets us shoot the ball and I think it gives each guy some comfort knowing that.”

Schwartz is majoring in communications at Green Bay after toying with the idea of going into sports medicine out west.

“I have a couple of ideas after I graduate,” he said. “One is broadcasting for a major network, and the other is possibly going into business, whether it be my own or working for someone.”

One thing can be said – Schwartz brought basketball to a whole new level four years ago as a West De Pere player and now is revitalizing the Phoenix back in his hometown community.

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