The men’s basketball team was back on the court Thursday afternoon at the College Park Center where they worked on rebounding, passing, setting screens and increasing vocal volume on the court.
For most of the practice, players and coaches were shouting at each other as the team carried out various drills.
“Offensively, we’re throwing a lot of new stuff at them, so it’s hard to grasp everything. But for the most part, I think we’re getting better and more efficient,” head coach Scott Cross said. “There’s little things that were going to have to clean up, and we’ll have to do it all year long. We’ll have to clean things up all year long offensively and defensively.”
The players carried out rebounding drills by having associate head coach Greg Young shoot the ball toward the rim inspiring the players on the court to run toward the basket and try to get the rebound.
In addition to rebounding, the team also worked on improving its passing game by setting up players at various spots on the court and rotating players in and out of different positions setting up emphatic dunks from either senior forward Brandon Edwards, senior center Stuart Lagerson or freshman forward Brandon Williams who were rolling to the rim, coming off the dribble.
As players carried out the drill, Cross was instructing them where to stand on the court in order to pin a player on offense against a defender forcing a screen.
Thursday’s practice was loaded with dunks and quick cuts to the rim drawing applause from the coaches and players.
“We’re getting better every single day, but it’s a process, and we have to get better if we want to win a championship,” Cross said. “It’s very easy to see every day. We’ve made some progress.”
Cross also said the team, which has been without several of its players in the offseason because of injuries, is starting to improve its defense, which is a necessity for the Mavericks.
“Defensively we’re starting to pick up,” Cross said. “They’re being competitive, and they’re doing the little things that we need to do to be successful.”
Senior forward Greg Gainey and senior guard Shaquille White-Miller were both at practice Thursday but did not participate in any contact drills.
However, both players did shoot free throws at the end of practice and were talking to their teammates throughout the day.
UTA will continue full-team practices next week leading up to its season opener Nov. 8 at Boise State University.