Wisconsin Herd Finalizes Inaugural Coaching Staff

By msteinberg | September 22, 2017

The Wisconsin Herd, the NBA G League affiliate of the Milwaukee Bucks, named Steve Payne, Justin Wetzel and Jamaal Benjamin as Assistant Coaches for the team’s inaugural 2017-18 season. Appleton West High School standout and former University of Wisconsin Badger, Brian Butch, will join the Herd as a Coaching Associate. Jordan Martz was named the team’s Video Coordinator.

“Steve, Justin and Jamaal bring vast basketball experience, which will serve the Herd well in our inaugural season,” said Herd Head Coach Jordan Brady. “Brian’s career as a player in the NBA’s minor league system, at the University of Wisconsin and abroad is another great asset for our staff and players.”

Payne comes to the Herd after one year as an NBA Scout with EV HOOPS. He spent the previous four seasons as an assistant coach for the University of Detroit Mercy men’s basketball team (2012-16). Payne served as an Assistant Coach at Utah Valley University (2010-13), where he helped guide the Wolverines to back-to-back Great West Conference regular season titles. Payne started his professional career overseas as both a player and coach, including time as an Assistant Coach and Veteran Player with Italy’s Castelleto Novara and Roseto Sharks (2005-07), Head Coach and Junior Team Player with BBC Nyon in Switzerland (2007-08) and Junior Team Head Coach for MGS Geneva/Les Lions de Geneve in Switzerland (2008-09). A graduate of Ball State University, Payne was a three-time All Mid-American Conference selection.

Wetzel brings head coach experience from the professional, collegiate and high school level to the Herd; including his most recent role as head coach for the men’s basketball team at Dickinson State University. Previously, Wetzel served as an Assistant Coach at Montana State University (2013-14) and an Associate Head Coach at Montana State University–Billings (2008-13). His experience in the Continental Basketball Association includes one season as the Head Coach and Assistant General Manager for the Butte Daredevils (2008) and one season as an Assistant Coach and Director of Player Personnel for the Great Falls Explorers (2006-08). Wetzel began his coaching career at the prep level, working as a Head Coach at Broadview/Lavina High School in Montana (2004-06), an Assistant Coach at Ryegate High School (2003-04) and an Assistant Coach at Joliet High School (2002-03). He earned his bachelor’s degree in Mass Communication and master’s degree in Sport Management from Montana State University–Billings.

Benjamin most recently served as a Coaching Associate for the Los Angeles Lakers. In addition to experience in the NBA, Benjamin has worked in the NBA’s minor league system and abroad; including one season as Head Coach for the Chinese National Basketball League Tour (2016), one season with the Westchester Knicks as an Assistant Coach and Video Scouting Coordinator (2014-15), one season as a Video Analyst and Opposition Scout for the Orlando Magic (2013-14) and one season as a Video Coordinator Assistant for the Los Angeles Clippers (2012-13). Benjamin began his coaching career at the collegiate level, first as an Assistant Coach for Shippensburg University’s men’s basketball team (2009-11) and later as a Men’s and Women’s Basketball Mentor at UCLA (2011-12). Benjamin graduated from Dickinson College in 2009, where he was a three-year letter winner for the Red Devils.

A native of Appleton, Wis., Butch spent the previous season playing for Rizing Zephyr Fukuoka in Japan’s B. League. A two-time Wisconsin State Player of the Year and 2003 McDonald’s All-American, Butch is Appleton West High School’s all-time leading scorer. After four seasons at the University of Wisconsin, Butch began his professional career overseas playing for China’s Jiangsu Dragons (2008), Germany’s Nördlingen Giants (2008-09) and in the Greek League with Ilysiakos B.C. (2009). He brings experience from the NBA’s minor league system including the Bakersfield Jam (2009-10, 2011-14) and the Fort Wayne Mad Ants (2014). Butch was named an All-Star and the NBA Development League’s Impact Player of the Year in 2010. Additional international experience includes roster spots with the Philippines’ Meralco Bolts (2014), Dubai’s Sharjah Basketball Club (2014-15) and Japan’s Toshiba Basketball (2015-16).

Martz most recently served as the Assistant Video Coordinator for Creighton University, working with the men’s basketball program and Head Coach Greg McDermott.