Wildcats benefit from summer practice time before going to Brazil

20 Jul

The NCAA rule changes that allow coaches to spend more time with players during summer could not have come at a better time for the Kansas State men’s basketball program.

With a brand new coach in Bruce Weber and a trip to Brazil coming up, the players and coaching staff are taking advantage of revised regulations that allow for eight hours of practice each week (two hours on skill instruction, the others six for weight training and conditioning) for up to eight weeks during the summer provided that the players are enrolled in summer classes.

“All the coaches I’ve talked to are positive about it,” Weber said Tuesday during media availability. “It’s something we have fought for forever.”

The extra opportunity for the coaches and players to develop chemistry and learn how to work within the system of Weber is especially valuable for the Wildcats this summer, since all the players from last year’s team had decided to stay on this year despite the coaching change that on the surface looks like a switch between two polar opposite personalities.

“Basketball is pretty simple, but everyone does it a little bit different,” Weber said. “Coach Martin and his staff got them to play hard and compete hard. That’s what we’re trying to continue. Now, also, the heart is there, the intensity is there. We have to think a little bit—let’s keep our poise and composure, along with doing our skill work. That’s important, too.”

The combination of more practice time and a trip overseas to play against professional teams in Brazil will be a time where everyone can get used to personalities and working together, something that is particularly important considering the group consists of mainly Martin recruits.

“The chemistry is just as important as anything else,” Weber said. “Getting to know each other, enjoying each other, learning about each other, and then you’ll see how guys react. It’s one thing to do it in drills; it’s another thing to do it in live practice.”

Even before the rule changes, the players would have gotten time together during weight lifting and open gyms, but the hours in the gym with coaches have allowed players to get used to the new coaching staff and given the coaches time to observe the players and see what they still need to work on. 

Senior center Jordan Henriquez said that while everyone has to adjust to the differences between the former coaching staff and the current one, much has stayed the same.

“Things are still intense,” he said. “They’re different coaches so they have different coaching styles. It’s an adjustment—we’re all trying to adjust. We’re all buying in and getting ready to go to Brazil.”

 

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