Boyce’s 1848 program thriving – The Press

Boyce’s 1848 program thriving – The Press

Team 1848 were the Prep Hoops Hard Work Regional Champions this past summer. Included on the team are local players Hogan Demovsky (De Pere), Emmett Lawton (Notre Dame Academy), AJ Lieuwen (Bay Port), Connor Pytleski (Green Bay Southwest), Ethan Wall-Atim (Notre Dame Academy) and Tristen Lynch ( NEW Lutheran). Photo submitted

By Rich Palzewic

Contributing Author

GREEN BAY – Inspired by the year Wisconsin officially became a state in 1848, former Green Bay East boys basketball standout Harry Boyce wanted to give players from northeastern Wisconsin an opportunity to further their basketball careers.

Boyce’s dream of Team 1848 – an AAU (Amateur Athletic Union) team headquartered in Hobart – became a reality a few years ago while Boyce was winding down his professional basketball career overseas.

The mission of Team 1848 “is designed to provide young men and women with an opportunity to participate in basketball while gaining valuable life skills that will help improve their quality of life.”

“I always wanted to give back to the community as I got older,” said Boyce, a 2004 East graduate. “I played professionally overseas, but in the offseason around May I came home and coached a (different) AAU team. I felt that maybe the team wasn’t getting quite what they needed – I was just a coach at the time.”

Towards the end of one of those summers, Boyce, who played professionally in Europe, Canada, Mexico, Egypt, Dominican Republic and China for nine years, said he first started thinking about starting his own AAU program.

“I was about to go back to Germany to play and one of the parents said, ‘Why don’t you start your own program?’ Boyce remembers. “The parents took care of everything while I was away to get us started.”

Boyce thought it would be a year or two kind of thing, but now Team 1848 consists of groups made up of boys and girls entering grades 3-12.

“I never intended for it to grow into a full program,” he said. “I thought I would coach a top 17U team every year and go from there. I ended up turning it into a full program. We’re the third largest city in the state, so we needed something.”

Boyce said some of the team names they came up with were “terrible,” but Team 1848 was different.

“It has a nice ring to it,” he said. “Sometimes we call ourselves 1848 or 48ers. We have different nicknames.”

Boyce’s first sixth-grade boys teams are this year’s and next year’s graduating classes.

“These next two graduating classes are the teams that have been around the longest,” he said. “There are some great players in these teams from this area, but I think we’ve helped them develop over the years – I can’t say they were as big when we had them in the sixth form .”

Former Notre Dame Academy boys coach AJ Alexander and former Notre Dame and UW-Green Bay star Allie LeClair were the original coaches of that age group.

“After that, a good friend of mine, Mario Charles, took over the team,” Boyce said. “We worked on development and skills — we made sure the team stayed together. We coached them hard – as we do for all our teams. My role is the director of Team 1848 – I go out and recruit the children.”

Team 1848 players from the graduating class of 2023 include Bay Port’s AJ Lieuwen and Vince Vandervest, Green Bay Southwest’s Connor Pytleski, Appleton West’s Mikail Harmison, Notre Dame’s Emmett Lawton and Ethan Atim-Wall, Valders’ Jackson Olson, De Pere’s Hogan Demovsky. North’s Garrett Staszak and Green Bay NEW Lutheran’s Tristan Lynch.

“For example, Hogan Demovsky barely got minutes last year (as a junior for De Pere), but now he’s a big part of this year’s team,” Boyce said. “He’s under the radar as a player, but fits our system. We take these guys all over the country, and we win. We will get better – there is not

have to go to Milwaukee to play AAU. You can only stay here in Groenbaai.”

A word from the players

A second-team all-conference selection in the Fox River Classic Conference (FRCC) last season, Pytleski is currently averaging 20 points per game for the 7-8 Trojans.

“I had a great experience playing with Team 1848,” Pytleski said. “Harry and Mario are great developers of talent and have pushed us hard over the years. Mario is a good coach. It was a lot of fun playing with so many great players and traveling all over the place.”

Pytleski enjoys playing against his AAU teammates, who now play at rival high schools in the area.

“Obviously we want to win every game and do well, but it’s fun to play against AJ, Vince (Bay Port), Emmett, Ethan (Notre Dame) and Hogan (De Pere),” he said. “We are friends before and after the game, but I don’t even think about it during the game.”

Lawton, also a second-team FRCC selection last season and a recent commit to Washington University in St. Louis. Louis for basketball, is currently averaging 22 points per game for the 8-5 Tritons.

“It’s been great,” Lawton said of playing Team 1848. “The team has really gelled, and it’s been a successful four-year run for me. Most AAU basketball is one pass to the wing and a shot go up. We had a motion offense and got the extra man.”

Lawton said Boyce is a good recruiter.

“In middle school I ran into him somewhere and he liked me as a player,” Lawton said. “He has the overseas experience and was a professional — he knows what he’s talking about. He’s also a fun guy off the court — not many have that combination.”

The workshop

In the summer of 2021, Boyce opened The Workshop, a basketball practice facility at 740 Centerline Dr. in the growing town of Hobart.

Before opening The Workshop, Boyce had a facility in downtown Green Bay on Kass Street.

“Not only has this helped Team 1848 succeed and thrive, but it also fills a void in the area – we needed more gym space,” said Boyce.

The facility also has a weight room, courtside seating for players/coaches/fans to observe, a recovery room, an area to watch film and a place for players to hang out.

With the recent completion of the Highway 29 Interchange to Hobart, Boyce said there is potential for the facility to expand even further – helping Team 1848 progress even further.

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