Milwaukee's tenure at this year's Summer League was at times sparsely populated. First-year head coach Larry Drew was absent from the second-half of the tournament, instead traveling to Europe to watch recent first-round draft pick Giannis Antetokounmpo perform in the FIBA U-20 Championships. With the exception of Larry Sanders, no other returning-veteran team members attended, and even young highlight-maker John Henson was sat for two contests.The missing faces did create opportunities for some new-comers, however. Freshly-hired assistant Nick Van Exel made his debut against the Spurs, acting at the helm in lieu of Drew. The former pro, and Kenosha native, told reporters following the game that he was excited to be back in Wisconsin as a coach, and he even fielded in-depth questions like a true head coach. Bob Bender and Scott Williams join Van Exel as assistants under Drew in 2013.
On the court, John Shurna replaced Henson in the line-up Friday night. Creating a name for himself at Northwestern, the 6”9' power forward took full-advantage of the playing-time, earning 14 points and four rebounds in his first game as a Buck. Rookie Nate Wolters also saw increased court-time with the sidelining of Henson against San Antonio. The South Dakota State graduate recovered from a dismal start to his Las Vegas stay, which saw him miss all seven of his attempted 3's coming into Friday. He scored 20 points against the Spurs, including one three to break his drought.
Despite the promising showings of Wolters and Shurna, Henson's trio of games was still the talk of the town upon the team's return to Milwaukee. He led the roster, averaging nearly 15 points and 14 rebounds per game. Henson is likely to see an ample increase in playing-time in 2013, as a number of starters from 2012 have already departed.