MARINETTE — Bryan Wickstrom has seen quite a bit during his 15 years in the UW-Green Bay, Marinette Campus, men’s basketball program, but this might be one of the biggest challenges he’ll face.

Wickstrom has just six players on the roster and is void an assistant coach, but despite the obstacles, heavy optimism echoes the fifth-year head coach when he looks at a team filled with talent that has makings of overcoming limited depth.

“I honestly can’t wait to get on the court because this is going to be a fun team,” Wickstrom said. “Everyone will get plenty of playing time and despite our limited numbers, we have talent and a ton of experience.”

Four of the six players are returning from last year’s team, including two starters in sophomore 6-3 forwards Cam Willemsen and Preston Lauscher.

Lauscher returns as the second-leading from last season at 15 points per game and plays with so much control both inside and out that Wickstrom can use him in many different ways.

“Preston put in a lot of time in the off-season and he looks like even more of a complete player than he was last season,” said Wickstrom. “He leads by example and does so much for us on both sides of the ball.”

Willemsen brings an athleticism with the ability to knock down shots that force teams to stay honest because he can beat them so many ways.

“Cam is one of the better athletes we’ve had,” Wickstrom said. “He’s also a leader for us that we’ll be counting on heavily.”

Providing an inside presence is one of the many strengths the 6-foot-7 Janofski brings to the table. Working his way back from an ACL tear his senior year of high school, Janofski improved throughout last year and forces opponents to respect the paint.

Also gaining valuable experience last season was Zorn (5-11), who made the most of his opportunities. He’s a lethal shooter who can help with ball-handling duties.

Two new players in 6-foot-2 freshman Ty Thomas and 6-foot-2 sophomore Bryson Groos round out the roster. Thomas is from Alaska and will take over as the Buccaneers point guard, a position Wickstrom is confident he’ll flourish in. Groos, who is from Bark River Harris, took last season off, but has looked good shaking the rust off early in practice.

“Ty is very athletic and a really good ball-handler and looks to be a talented point guard for us,” Wickstrom said. “Bryson is a big, physical player that is very smart with the ball. He’s definitely going to contribute.”

With only having six players, the use of timeouts and the defensive approach the Bucs use will be slightly different than in year’s past.

“We’ll have to use some of our timeouts for our guys to just take a breath,” said Wickstom. “To protect from foul trouble and fatigue, we’ll definitely be running more zone defenses. It’s just something we’ll need to do in order to play 40 minutes.”

Wickstrom doesn’t expect the pace of the game to change much from year’s past as most opponents will look to run up and down the floor. He’s expecting the Buccaneers to average between 65 and 75 possessions per game.

“We’d love to get to 80 possessions per game, but we have to be smart,” Wickstrom said. “We’ll definitely pull back at times if we look to be winded, but this group is ready for the challenge.”

It’s too early to have lofty expectations, according to Wickstrom, but he likes the six players he has and expects every game to be a battle.

Most teams play a core of seven or eight players, so we’re not that far off because I really like these six,” Wickstrom said. “We’re just going to work on developing as a unit and not look at anything out of our control.”