MBB Practice Report: Oct. 18

Oct. 18, 2017

RUSTON – Only three players last season started all 33 games.

Two of them were forwards – Erik McCree and Omar Sherman. And they have both moved on, along with their combined 1728 minutes, 903 points and 462 boards.

That is 26 percent of the minutes, 35 percent of the scoring and 37 percent of the rebounding gone, vanished, sayonara.

So the big (literally) question mark coming into the 2017-18 season is who soaks up those minutes. Who helps the offense score? And perhaps most importantly, who steps up in place of the top two rebounders?

Well … there are plenty of options, good, quality options, for head coach Eric Konkol.

“We knew coming into the fall we would have a lot of guys vying for those positions,” Konkol said. “We had a productive summer and have a lot of possibilities with different lineups … from a very big lineup to small lineups to even some where we play four guards. It is the flexibility that this roster can give us.”

There is 7-foot redshirt junior Joniah White. He is as strong as he has ever been, has improved on his back to the basket game and is still a lethal shot blocker.

There is 6-foot-9 junior Jy’lan Washington. He is a swiss-army knife, capable of guarding multiple positions on D while also knocking down the outside shot (was 19-of-35 from deep last year for a 54 percent clip).

Perhaps the biggest jump from last year to this year will be from 6-foot-8 sophomore Oliver Powell. The 230-pounder is defending and rebounding at a high level through this offseason.

 

 

Another returner vying for minutes in a smaller capacity is redshirt freshman JaColby Pemberton. He is 6-foot-5, but he plays with an edge, capable of guarding guys bigger than himself and very versatile on offense.

Konkol also went out and signed two space-eating transfers in 6-foot-10 sophomore Kyle McKinley and 6-foot-7 Harrison Curry as well as a high-flying, 6-foot-7 freshman Anthony Duruji. All provide a different skill-set that will add to the versatility at the forward position.

“We are excited about the entire group,” Konkol said. “We want to see who continues to improve and who fits well together. And then you take a look at matchups through the year, whether you face a team with great size around the basket, how can we counter that. Or maybe we play a team that plays four guards, how can we counter that.

“And then how can we stay true to how we play which is aggressive and tenacious. All of these guys we are excited about.”

Needless to say practice has been very competitive, not just at the forward spot, but at every position.

“That is what you really want,” Konkol added. “Any type of good team has great competition. It is something that we hope iron sharpens iron.”

For the first time since 1978, LA Tech will open the regular season with three straight home games, starting with the season opener against UT Tyler on Nov. 10.

Season tickets are on sale and can be purchased by calling 318-257-3631 or 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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