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In Gilbert, Arizona, there’s a 27,000-square-foot warehouse. It is situated near the intersection of Gilbert and Guadalupe, and its security lights are always blinking. The entire night.

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A beanbag was nestled into a corner of Power MMA and Fitness, and Sundance Wicks was placed there as a bed. Wicks discovered the ugly side of midlife crisis, even though it is far too young for someone in their early 30s. Wicks found solace in the flashing lights at night when it was difficult to ignore the persistent thoughts. Wicks was floating around in no place at all. His thoughts as if they were slipping into the quicksand of Arizona. Whether I was upset or joyful didn’t matter. It was all about survival.

“I tried my best to hide all that stuff from my family,” Wicks remembers. I kept my homeless status and car-living under wraps from my family. I didn’t want my parents to be aware of it. It is awkward.

How could everything go wrong so fast.

A few years earlier, at the age of 26, Wicks was a confident, brilliant assistant who was eager to take on the world. He moved to Northern Illinois with Ricardo Patton in order to revitalize a program that had only produced two winning seasons in the preceding ten years. Wicks plunged headfirst into the battle, knowing it would not be easy. He submerged himself in the Northern

The Victors, an NIU student award presentation, and even picking up a microphone to announce during home track and field games are examples of Illinois culture. After winning just 26 games in their first three seasons, Year 4 was expected to be a turning point for Northern Illinois. Predicted to come in second was NIU. In the end, the Huskies were tied for second—to last.

After Patton was fired, Wicks also lost his job.

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“I perished along with the vessel,” soberly states Wicks.

Wicks was frantically seeking work since no coaches were hammering down his door with offers of an assistant coach position. Wicks was not yet qualified to be a Division I head coach, but he still desired the position. He had to take a chance to get there. He needed something, anything at all, to begin a journey that has resulted in an incredible 11-month 180-degree turn around for Green Bay basketball.

UFC stars Aaron Simpson, Ryan Bader, and CB Dollaway founded Power MMA and Fitness to train fighters, wrestlers, and everyone in between. A basketball hoop was also planned, with the hope that some of Arizona’s top hoopers would benefit from a venue to practice. All they required was a coach. Wicks was sold after hearing the pitch. He relocated to Arizona after packing his belongings.

When he arrived, he discovered that what he was about to face was far more difficult than he had anticipated. For Wicks, practicing basketball was second nature. The rush he gets when he sees a player grow into a better version of themselves is what drives him.

However, the circumstances were difficult. Not everyone was a fit for Power MMA and Fitness.

There was a structural beam exactly on the 3-point line. It was not intended for basketball, but for racketball. In the back stood the Muay Thai pit and an octagon. I forgot to mention that your trainer was homeless; he or she slept at the gym and hoped no one would find out.

Wicks stated, “It was really gritty.”

It worked in some way.

That door was visited by hundreds of Arizona’s top hoopers, including Mitch Lightfoot, Casey Benson, Josh Childress, Markus Howard, and Marvin Bagley.

It was thrilling, according to Wicks. “Dudes are hitting each other in the faces, so go work out on the racketball court.” You get knowledge of belief.

Wicks regained confidence in himself. Wicks had to accumulate money for an apartment over the course of the following eight months, but it didn’t matter. The trade-off for discovering his calling was well worth it. It was mentorship. There was always coaching involved.

According to Wicks, “there’s something that you learn about yourself when you get into the deep, dark pits of despair that success or good fortune can’t teach you.” That’s a blessing for me. Your blessings and those around you are shaped by the weight you carry. We are constructed upon the foundation of chaos.

To put what happened to Green Bay’s basketball program, a good word would be chaos. In 2022, a once-proud program had reached its lowest point. Will, the son of Bo Ryan, lost his job in the middle of Year 3. Last year, Green Bay had a 3-29 record. In the previous three years, it has only won 16 games overall. In the history of Green Bay basketball, it was the worst three-year period.

Green Bay placed 359th out of 363 Division I programs on KenPom. It was maybe the worst coaching carousel opener from the previous year.

Wicks moved out of Arizona in 2015 to spend a season as an assistant at San Francisco. after which he attended his alma mater, Northern State, from 2016 to 2018, and Wyoming, from 2020 to 23. He also spent two years as the head coach of Missouri Western University.

He was desperate to get hired as a Division I coach.

Someone who would view the program as a goal rather than a trap was what Green Bay needed. Someone like Wicks was required.

“People discuss plans that last 30, 60, and 90 days. The 30-60-90 is not there. Until you figure it out, there’s only every hour of the day,” Wicks stated. “They name it Year Zero for this reason. Nothing is significant; everything matters. The bodies are buried where? Is there any way we can escape this hole?

In the Horizon, Green Bay was ranked last going into the 2022–2023 season. At the top of the league rankings, it is currently tied with Oakland in the loss column. Green Bay is 12-4 in conference play and 17-10 overall. It’s an astonishingly beautiful turn around.

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