Men’s and Women’s Basketball Practice Begins
On Monday, Oct. 12 the men’s basketball team got to lace up their shoes for their first practice of the year. The much anticipated day one this year is not as traditional as in years past.
Last year, every player would meet in the locker room before practice to get their practice gear. As the coaches would pass the gear around you’d hear “Who is number 22? Who needs large shorts? Who still needs a t-shirt?” Getting everybody all squared away to begin the year.
This year the gear was laid out in front of the lockers. The players walked in to see their stuff waiting for them.
Another alteration this year is the group size. Coach Hinz has a 25-man roster he needed to split up. He did just that. Coach Hinz split his roster into three groups of about seven to nine people per group.
Senior Kenny Huynh’21 said “it’s nice having smaller groups, you get extra reps…you get more attention from the coaches.” That is why we are here. We want to be coached and we want to be better players. In smaller groups, the attention to detail of every player is maximized because there are only a handful of players.
Mylan Walters’22 had a similar sentiment, he said “we get to focus on the little things.” Things like post moves, how to read the defender on a ball screen and to nail home defensive principles. Things that will help win games.
By having three groups, Coach Hinz had to find time in the day to get every group in. That meant practicing at 6:45 am. Walters’22 was a part of that group. He said “I’m an early bird, so I didn’t mind having morning practice because then I have the whole afternoon to get class work done.” Despite having some morning practices Walters’22 said the energy in those practices have been really good, “guys are excited to be at practice…were excited to be back.”
Huynh’21 also commented on the energy of the practices. Saying his group “really brought the energy on tough practice days.” Days when the legs feel a little heavy or when the mask is in the way a little more than normal, his group tends to push through and have high energy levels.
In order to keep practice fresh, Coach Hinz has added shooting competitions between groups and within groups. That is nice to have something to play for. When you can’t compete physically, you can still find ways to compete.
The women’s team also started practice on Oct. 12. Head coach Gloria Bradley split up her team as well. In the first week of practice Coach Bradley split her squad up into a guard group and a forward group.
Kelly Loudon’21 said “the first week was a lot of skill work.” By splitting into those different skill groups it allows those positions to work on specific skills. The guards would work on things like ball-handling, shooting, finining, pick-and-roll reads. The forwards would work on post moves, options out of a ball-screen and things of that nature.
In the second week, Coach Bradley mixed up the groups to get the players to know each other on the court. When this switch happened Loudon’21 said they worked on more of their defensive principles. As well as their four out offensive sets. Loudon’21 said “it’s a nice way to ease into everything.”
The women’s team brings in six freshmen to their squad. All of them have “been doing really well, catching on to things quickly and are willing to learn.” said Loudon’21.
A goal for the women’s team is to finish in the top half of the Midwest Conference. They have struggled in recent years, record wise, but the women have been playing good basketball. This could be a great turn around year for them.
All both teams can do now is keep practicing and keep sharpening their skills. Hoping they will get the call at the turn of the new year to showcase their finely tuned skills to compete and reach the goals they set for themselves.
Author note: Writer is member of men’s basketball team.