Thursday, October 15, 2009

Media Practice and jammed fingers

So at least I jammed the pinky on my right hand, which is my non-writing hand.

Kudos to University at Albany men's basketball coach Will Brown and the rest of his staff and the school for hosting a little event today that saw 15 media members go through a simulated practice, one day before the real team practices for the first time in 2009.

Brown said he took the idea from Michigan State coach Tom Izzo, who has done it for the past couple of years.

It was really a great look into something we don't really see all that often.

Brown usually has his team locked down like Fort Knox - we can talk to them, but we can't watch practice, so this was even more helpful.

This was the first time I had the opportunity to go into the team's new locker room, which is top-notch for sure.

I was pretty shocked with how in-depth the scout was for the team we were looking at - Villanova - and how many calls the players have to memorize. Let's put it this way it was enough calls to make your head spin.

The scout that we watched was pretty long and very detailed.

Brown said the team would normally watch that scout three times before a game, two days before then the day before and then before the game on game day, usually during a meal.

I was also super impressed by the work that assistant coach Chad O'Donnell does.

Brown said that to prepare for their season opener, Nov. 9 at Syracuse, O'Donnell will watch all 14 of Syracuse's non-conference games from last year, their games in the 2009 NCAA Tournament and then Iowa State games from 2007-08 because that's where transfer Wesley Johnson is from.

Here's some other notes from Coach Brown on his team for the 2009-10 season.

  • Brown said two players had been under the weather and I have to assume the one with Swine Flu is the one Brown is referring to when he says that a player lost 15 pounds and "he's going to struggle the next couple of days" or the first few days of practice. Brown went on to say "he'll practice tomorrow, how effective he'll be is another story"
  • Brown did a quick roundup of what he thinks of the league and he said Boston University is in the top tier, Albany in his mind is in the top of tier two and then wouldn't get into any other team specifically.
  • Brown feels the point guard position will be stronger and those players will know what is expected from them. He expects the turnovers to go down and that Mike Johnson and Mike Black will start as the primary point guards, but Derek Tartt and Ralph Watts can also play there. Brown also said that he will have Tim Ambrose ready to play the point for the Syracuse game because of the 2-3 zone they're expecting to see.
  • Red-Shirt freshman Logan Aronholt has been cleared to do everything since Oct. 1 and he's out on the floor. Brown says he has the talent to have been an all-rookie guy. Brown also said he saw Aronholt go down the middle of the lane and dunk in a workout recently. "I haven't seen that explosiveness from him since we recruited him."
  • With a large roster of young players, the idea of red-shirting players is one that Brown wants to figure out. He said Thursday he will red-shirt John Puk and he'd love to find one or two more before the season begins.

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