At 2:00pm on Friday the USA Men's Basketball Team began their last practice before taking on Arkansas State at 7:00pm on Saturday. My wife and I, along with the infamous CB960, were on hand to witness the two hour workout.
Every coach has his own style. Over the years I have watched many practices, beginning with Bob Weltlich and including Pelphrey, Arrow, and now Price. I was interested to see how Jeff Price ran practice, especially after watching so many Arrow-coached practices with Jeff on the court as an assistant.
The first thing that strikes you when you watch a Jeff Price practice is that he is a teacher. He is a teacher with a fully defined idea as to the results he desires. The next thing might be that he manages to build people up as he makes corrections. I do mean HE. When practice gets down to the full team drill or Blues against Reds, Jeff is in the middle of the action. He creates situations and match-ups and then stops, corrects, and then gets things back into flow.
Over the last few years some posters have complained that players we not fully focused on CRA as they listened to the words of wisdom he offered. I hope those folks get a chance to watch the CJP / player interaction. My wife mentioned how focused the players were as he offered correction. Even at the moments he seemed least happy, he had the ability to correct without “losing” the player. His style is to leave no doubt when things go well or not so well, but he is not a yeller. He has a communications gift.
Before you start thinking I have a man crush on CJP, let me tell you I have a crush on this style of coaching. I do not believe today’s players respond to coaches who scream or belittle players. Just stating my likes and dislikes.
Dre Connor has both hands, including palms, taped after his fall in the parking lot. Apparently he lost chunks of flesh on his palms.
CJP runs dribble drills at the beginning of practice. One of the drills is a two ball drill. Viktor Juricek can dribble quite well with two balls and he “cross bounces “ every 5 or 6 steps to change ball/hand. He looks natural doing it.
Slim is going full speed at practice. He just needs to get back into playing shape.
Expect to find playing time defined by defensive intensity.
ASU is coming off a 17 point drubbing of ULaLa in which guard Ed Townsel scored 31 going went 9 of 15 from the floor, 3 of 6 from the arc, and 10 of 11 from the line. ASU went to the line 37 times to ULaLa’s 10. ASU has 3 guards who can go off in any game and score 20+.
Obviously we can not let them get to the line 27 more times than we get there. Our success will depend on defense and the offense it creates. Look for close in-your-face coverage on the perimeter.
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