Updated Oct 17, 2003 14:59:38
Bulldogs, Techsters Open Basketball Practice
RUSTON - Louisiana Tech fans will have a full day of homecoming athletic activities Saturday starting early in the morning when both the Lady Techster and Bulldog basketball teams begin practice at the Thomas Assembly Center.
Techster head coach Kurt Budke and Bulldog head coach Keith Richard will both open practice to the general public Saturday starting at 9:30 a.m. when the Lady Techsters conduct an intra-squad scrimmage until approximately 10:30 a.m. Richard and Co. will follow with a one-hour practice starting at 11 a.m. and then conduct their own intra-squad scrimmage at noon.
"We're excited about getting started again," Budke said. "The players are excited, the coaches are excited and I know our fans are excited. The expectations are the same every year. Our fans expect for us to be there in March and we don't expect anything less. These kids have been working hard this summer; they understand what it means to be a part of this program. It's time to get started."
Saturday morning's practice will be the beginning of the 30th year of Lady Techster basketball as Budke and the 2003-04 version will be vying for the program's 30th straight winning season and its 23rd straight NCAA Tournament berth. With four starters returning, including WAC Preseason Player of the Year Trina Frierson, Tech is expected to be competing for its 14th Final Four appearance.
On the men's side, Richard welcomes one of the top recruiting classes in recent Tech history, led by a host of talented junior college transfers as well as 2003 Louisiana Gatorade Player of the Year Paul Millsap, who prepped locally at Grambling High School.
However, Richard's biggest challenge will be finding a way to replace five letter winners from last year's team that represented 78 percent of the Bulldogs points, 78 percent of the rebounds, 63 percent of the assists and 72 percent of the blocks.
"We're excited to get out on the floor and get going because we don't really know what to expect," Richard said. "We have a lot of potential but not much experience out there. We really don't have an impact player returning but the challenge of building this team is what is going to be fun."
Both the Bulldogs and the Lady Techsters open the regular season Nov. 21 with the women traveling to Stephen F. Austin and the men traveling to Alabama.