Newcomers Impress in @LATechHoops Scrimmage
Aug. 13, 2014
Bahamas Live Stats
RUSTON - The Louisiana Tech men's basketball team completed practice No. 8 on Wednesday afternoon, including an intersquad scrimmage, in preparation for the `Summer of Thunder' Classic in Nassau, Bahamas.
The Bulldogs spent the first 45 minutes of practice going through their routine drills before breaking into separate squads and playing a 20-minute period followed by a 10-minute period.
"I thought it was a productive day," said head coach Michael White. "I thought we got a little bit better today. We had really good leadership from our seniors. We are a ways ahead of where we were a couple of weeks ago so it is a little bit relieving in that regard, but it is also a little unnerving knowing how far that we have to go.
"Overall, it was a positive step. We competed, we were unselfish and I think we have a lot to work with. We are very deep. We are athletic. We are long. We are bigger. We have a chance to be really good defensively and if that is where our mindset gets to, if this team sells out to being the best it can be defensively and has as healthy a locker room as last year's team, it ought to be a fun year."
LA Tech is taking full advantage of the 10 allowed practices given by the NCAA when taking a foreign tour and the timing could not be any more perfect with the addition of nine newcomers - five freshmen, two junior college transfers and two redshirts.
Aside from the extra practice time, the team will also be using this opportunity as a life experience in getting to spend time with one another in a different part of the world as well as spending more time on the basketball court together.
"It will be nice to spend time with one another to grow as a unit and learn more about each other, collectively and individually, then athletically to learn more about each other and how we band together," said White. "There can only be positives that we can take from this great opportunity that we have."
The coaches were forced to stop the scrimmage a handful of times to go over finer details with the newcomers, but in the end their athleticism and length were on full display on both sides of the ball.
"I was really impressed," said White about the freshmen. "Our freshmen are very talented and our junior college transfers are very talented as well. They have a lot of work to do and have a ways to go in so many areas, but do they have the ability to be good - yes. We had some really good performances today."
At the end of the two periods, the Bulldogs spent about 20 minutes working in the half court against zone and on out-of-bounds plays.
The team will have an off day tomorrow before rounding out the week with a practice on Friday and then a second scrimmage on Saturday. They then leave on Sunday and will spend five days in which time they will play three exhibition games at the Kendal G.L. Isaacs National Gymnasium.
On Monday the 18th, LA Tech will face the Pyramid Food Rockets before having a free day to enjoy the island resort of Atlantis. Wednesday the team will face off against the Bahamas All-Stars, then Thursday against the P.J. Stringers. Friday, the `Dogs will return home. Live stats for the games will be provided at the link attached to the top of the page.
For complete coverage of Bulldog Basketball, please follow @LATechHoops on Twitter and Instagram or visit the official home of Louisiana Tech Athletics at www.LATechSports.com.
Head coach Michael White
"I thought it was a productive day. I thought we got a little bit better today. We had really good leadership from our seniors. We are a ways ahead of where we were a couple of weeks ago so it is a little bit relieving in that regard, but it is also a little unnerving knowing how far that we have to go. Thank God for this opportunity and these extra practices and the trip we will be allowed to take on Sunday. Overall, it was a positive step. We competed, we were unselfish and I think we have a lot to work with. We are very deep. We are athletic. We are long. We are bigger. We have a chance to be really good defensively and if that is where our mindset gets to, if this team sells out to being the best it can be defensively and has as healthy a locker room as last year's team, it ought to be a fun year."
On what the experience of playing in the Bahamas will mean to the team:
"It is a once in a lifetime opportunity, not only for our guys but for our staff. No one in our entire program has ever been to the Bahamas so it will be really cool. It will be nice to experience a different part of the world, but more importantly, to spend time with one another to grow as a unit and learn more about each other, collectively and individually. Then athletically to learn more about each other and how we band together or how we don't band together in certain areas when our backs are against the wall in a different country against foreign teams not knowing what to expect going into games. There can only be positives that we can take from this great opportunity that we have."
On what is to be learned about the team on this trip:
"I hope to learn that we have a chance to be good. More than anything is the obvious, we hope to be better. I hope to be better tomorrow even though tomorrow is our day off, but better as we are recouping and rejuvenating our muscles and our minds to come back and hopefully be better on Friday. Then we inter-squad on Saturday where we hope to take that next step, then with three more games, just taking advantage of the experience. I fully expect for this team to continue to work and stay focused and by the end of the trip be better than we are today."
On the freshmen:
"I was really impressed. Our freshmen are very talented and our junior college transfers are very talented as well. In addition to the two we had sitting out last year, our nine newcomers are painfully inexperienced as we have talked about. They have a lot of work to do and have a ways to go in so many areas, but do they have the ability to be good - yes - all nine of them do. We had some really good performances today from four freshmen, and then I thought Branden [Sheppard] was pretty good in that last segment. Our freshman wings can go get baskets and they can be really good defenders in time and they are working toward that. In addition, we have some other size guys in Leo [Edwards] who is coming and Erik [McCree] who we expect a big sophomore year from who had a really good sit-out year. Joniah White altered and blocked a ton of shots today. Dayon Griffin I thought did some really good things and he is in a tough spot battling against our veteran guards every day. Then Qiydar [Davis] and Merrill [Holden] are right there. Those guys bring length and athleticism and a certain toughness and winning attitude. They come from two really good junior college programs so the pieces are in place. I wish every one of those nine guys had a year or two experience under their belt and I would feel a little bit better. We don't have that obviously, but if we do our job, if they continue to work and stay the course, in December all nine of those guys should be significantly better than they are today."
On playing more zone defense:
"We are looking at doing more of it just because we think we can be really good at it and we want to give opponents something more to prepare for. We have basically been a base man team in the past. We are able to switch our looks with our man. With our interchangeable parts, we are able to switch a lot in the half court and then we are able to throw different presses at you as well. We think this team because of the early enough start, if we can get enough experience and gain enough reps in zone, we could be a really good zone team as well. That is the hope. We are just experimenting with it right now and we will evaluate probably early fall where we are at and whether or not we can continue to stay the course that way or rid of it. It has been pretty good to us to this point and, in addition, we know we are going to be zoned a lot so we have to go against zone in practice every day for offensive purposes."
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