/ Articles / Lakeland’s Rich Fortier gears up to coach All-Star team

Lakeland’s Rich Fortier gears up to coach All-Star team

April 18, 2020 by Brett LaBore

When one thinks of basketball, usually the month of June doesn’t come to mind first. Lakeland boys’ basketball coach Rich Fortier will be a coach in one of those games in June.

Fortier will participate in the Wisconsin Basketball Coaches Association (WBCA) All-Star Game on Saturday, June 20.

“It’s exciting,” he said. “They’re all really good basketball players so it’s pretty exciting.”

Fortier will be the head coach of the Division 2 white team. They will take on the Division 2 red team at 2:15 p.m. 

Joining Fortier’s staff as assistant coaches are Lakeland boys’ basketball assistant coach Brian Maki and Medford boys’ basketball head coach Ryan Brown. Lakeland fans might be familiar with Maki, but not so much with Brown.

“Brown is a very good coach at Medford,” Fortier said. “He’s as good as it gets for young coaches around here or coaches in general.”

A couple weeks ago, Fortier went down to the Dells to select 11 players for his team. Like all team coaches will be doing, he chose kids who were All-State or All-State honorable mention. 

“We got to go to the Dells and pick our teams. All the division coaches were there and if they couldn’t make it, they did it remotely,” he said. “We tried to get seniors accounted for between (Division 2 red team head coach) Jon Murphy and me.”

Fortier got recommendations from coaches and tried to look at as much video on players as he could, before selecting a team.

“We’ve got guys I’ve only heard of, not seen play,” he said. “Coaches who came in the meeting (recommended players) and coaches sent us emails to consider guys.”

Once he got his team selected, the next step became a little bit of a process. He had to ensure all players were able to play the game and everyone was on board.

“The first thing is to discern whether (the players are going to) play or not and that was kind of a process,” Fortier said. 

The Division 2 white team consists of Stoughton’s Adam Hobson, New London High School’s Garret Locy, Logan High School’s Jacksun Hamilton, Jefferson High School’s James Monogue, La Crosse Central’s Jordan Davis and Terrance Thompson, Milwaukee Lutheran High School’s Jourdan Weddle, Kaukauna’s Logan Jedwabny, Mosinee’s Luke Spink and Merrill’s Michael Casper.

“It’s really good players using their instincts and skills that they’ve honed through a lot of work and repetition,” Fortier said. 

There are only three practices to get ready for the game. With that little time to prepare, the offense and defense will be kept simple.

“A couple of very short practices, not a lot to put in. We’re going to run dribble drive, run the best we can,” Fortier said. “So to me, from the guys that have done it, it’ll look like a lot of the NBA All-Star Game.” 

The biggest outcome of the games aren’t the results, but the money raised for Midwest Athletes Against Childhood Cancer (MAAC). 

“It’s a pretty good thing. We do those kinds of things and all the money isn’t spent on the games — all goes to fight childhood cancer,” Fortier said. 

To donate for Fortier, visit www.wisbca.org. From there click on Events from the top menu, then All-Star Game, continue to find the coaches’ pages by following the roster links and click on the “Donate/Create My Ad button” to complete your donation online.

For more information about the game or to donate, contact Fortier at 715-892-7343 or [email protected] 

As of now, the Division 2 basketball game is set for Saturday, June 20 at JustAGame Fieldhouse in Wisconsin Dells. Tip-off is scheduled for 2:15 p.m.

Brett LaBore may be reached at [email protected] or [email protected]

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