@LATechHoops Begin Fall Practice with the End in Mind

Oct. 6, 2015

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RUSTON -- Before the first official fall practice began for the Louisiana Tech men's basketball team, a message was written on the bulletin board inside the locker room which read, `Begin with the end in mind.'

That message was written by Eric Konkol who was named the 18th head coach in program history back in mid-May.

"Dr. Stephen Covey wrote a book called, "The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People" and one of those habits is to begin with the end in mind," Konkol said. "It is really to have a plan and know that this is a journey, but we want to start our work with knowing where we want to be.

"This team has goals. This program has goals. To achieve those in March, we have to take those little steps and do things properly along the way."

The Bulldogs, dressed in their reversible white/blue practice jerseys, walked onto Karl Malone Court and after some light shooting and stretching, started clapping and formed a circle with the coaching and support staff at midcourt.

"The symbol of a circle is that there is no start and there is no end," Konkol explained. "Everyone has a piece of it and to keep the circle intact, everybody has a job. We are one unit. The clapping is to put us all on the same page, to do something together."

When they broke the huddle, everybody shouted the word `together.'

LA Tech proceeded to take part in a two-hour practice session, having it open to the public to allow fans to get a glimpse of the 2015-16 Bulldogs who are looking to continue and build upon the recent success of the reigning three-time conference regular season championships.

The team consists of seven returners, led by two-time all-conference selection Alex Hamilton. Joining him in leading the team and ramping things up in practice are fellow senior Qiydar Davis and junior Erik McCree.

Also looking to play more of a role this season with increased opportunity are Merrill Holden, Jacobi Boykins, Dayon Griffin and Joniah White.

The group of newcomers has come in to help provide a very intense and competitive atmosphere through Saturday's practice as well as practice No. 2 and No. 3 on Sunday and Monday, respectively.

"I think we have a very competitive group," Konkol said. "They enjoy competition. It is really hard to be any good at all if you are not competitive. In early season practices, that is what you want to see. You want to see great effort and terrific positivity, knowing that the execution is going to take some time. Our effort and intensity level has been very good."

After going through summer workouts with a lot of two-on-two and three-on-three drills, the Bulldogs have gotten to do more five-on-five in the three-hour sessions.

Another thing Konkol has noticed through the first three days is the increased physicality of the players.

"I know we are getting stronger," Konkol said. "Casey Cathrall, our strength coach, has done a terrific job in the short amount of time he has had. We are continuing with a strength phase through the month of October. We are still trying to push and get a little bit stronger before we start playing games.

"It is taxing. The guys have really embraced it and are really working at it. You can see, we have several guys who have gained weight in the last two months. With that, they are gaining confidence and that is what we want."

About 70 percent of the time in practice thus far has been spent on defense, all in the half court. Later on this week, the `Dogs will begin putting in their full court presses and so on as 27 practice days remain before the season opener on Nov. 13 at home versus Millsaps College.

Season tickets are still available for the 2015-16 season and can be purchased by calling the LA Tech Ticket Office at (318) 257-3631 or by emailing techtickets@latech.edu.

For all the latest in Bulldog Basketball, follow them on Twitter (@LATechHoops), Instagram (@LATechHoops) and Facebook (LATechMBB) or visit the official website at LATechSports.com.




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