Former Green Bay East star Boyce giving back to community
By Rich Palzewic
HOBART – Harry Boyce, a 2004 Green Bay East High School graduate, said he always wanted to give back to the community when he got older.
Now, he’s getting a chance to do that in the growing Village of Hobart.
Boyce recently celebrated the grand opening of The Workshop, a basketball-training facility located at 740 Centerline Dr.
“Growing up in the Green Bay area, I had dreams about coming back here and giving back to the community,” Boyce said. “Now my dreams have become reality”
The facility has unique characteristics that Boyce said he thought long and hard about.
“I wanted to fill a void in the area and do something different,” he said. “We need more gym space in Green Bay. The court is NBA (National Basketball Association) length and has the high school (3-point) line and the international line, which is now the NCAA line.”
The facility also has a weight room, a perch above the courts for players/coaches/fans to observe, a recovery room, an area to watch film and a place for players to hang out.
“We want athletes to feel at home here,” Boyce said. “The other day, I had a girl participate in two sessions, go get something to eat and then came back for practice. She hung out in the players’ lounge, relaxed and watched television.”
The facility is also set up for volleyball courts.
Green Bay Southwest senior Naomi House frequents The Workshop nearly every day.
“I transferred from Oneida (Nation High School) to Southwest and have played with (former Southwest star) Jaddan Simmons,” House said. “We had trained with Harry in the summer, so that’s how I got to know him.”
House said The Workshop is like a second home to her.
“It’s a great space to get away for a break,” she said. “I’m glad I found Harry and this facility. During the few months I’ve known him, he’s had a big impact on my life. He’s more than the owner and coach – he’s like my uncle.”
Boyce said as soon as the facility was built, he thought of other things to add in the future.
“Absolutely,” Boyce laughed. “The moment I got in here, I thought, ‘I forgot about this, I forgot about that and I need more space.’ My wife said, ‘Don’t you dare think you’ve got everything you need.’”
He said one of the walls is pinned, so it could easily be taken down for future expansion.
“We’re sitting on a bit more than 3 acres of land,” Boyce said. “There’s plenty of room for growth and a new parking lot. In the future, I’m thinking another court, turf and more weight room.”
Boyce said the growth of Hobart had lots to do with his decision to build where he did.
“With the (Highway 29) interchange coming in, this is a great area for the facility,” he said. Hobart has been great with the whole project and has been a great partner. Hobart is developing and growing like crazy. Kids from Shawano and Pulaski have been coming in – it’s an easy drive for them.”
Boyce said he looked at other spots in Green Bay, but once he scouted Hobart, he knew it was the place to be.
“I’m a city kid, so I would have loved to have a bigger spot where our old facility is (on Kass Street), but this spot makes lots of sense,” he said. “It’s a perfect location for us.”
In addition to athletes from Pulaski and Shawano, Boyce said Bay Port, Green Bay Southwest, De Pere, Milwaukee, Fond du Lac, Appleton, Oshkosh and Michigan have also been represented.
Boyce has an interesting story with his basketball career.
“My freshman year in high school, I went to Notre Dame Academy,” he said. “A bunch of my buddies transferred to East my sophomore year, and I was the last one to hold out. For basketball, it was the best thing for me to transfer to East – competitively and playing with my teammates again.”
Boyce said going to East also “opened his eyes” to the cultural diversity at the school.
“In my opinion, it’s the best school in the area for that,” he said. “I learned real-life lessons. To see and be around that was good for me. There were more African American and Asian kids. That taught me about life beyond basketball. I wouldn’t be who I am today if I hadn’t gone to East.”
Boyce lettered three years at East and was the conference’s player of the year and defensive player of the year his senior season.
He attended college at the University of North Dakota, making a name for himself on the defensive side of the ball.
“It was North Dakota’s first year making the Division I jump,” Boyce said. “I learned what It was like to compete and play with grown men. I found out I wasn’t the best guy around, but I learned how to play the game and how to be a defender at North Dakota.”
Boyce was named the conference’s defensive player of the year as a junior.
He transferred to Division II Minnesota State University in Mankato for his senior season.
“I loved everything about playing Division I basketball, but if I could do it all over again, I would have gone to Mankato to begin with,” Boyce said. “They had recruited me out of high school. I had success at the Division I level, but Division II has lots of good players and facilities, too.”
Boyce then began his pro career traveling the globe.
“I played professionally for nine years,” he said. “I was in Europe, Mexico, Egypt, Dominican Republic and China – I’ve been around. I learned lots in terms of work ethic.”