SEC Practice Reports: Post-Madness Edition

Posted by Brian Joyce on October 17th, 2011

Midnight Madness* (9 PM Madness just doesn’t have the same ring to it) brings excitement and fanfare, but more importantly, it symbolizes the beginning of the college basketball season. Two-a-days have officially begun, and the only thing sweeter than the return of basketball is knowing that you don’t have to run wind sprints tomorrow at 6 AM. And if by some odd circumstance you do find yourself running drills early in the morning, at least you don’t have to do it again in the afternoon like all twelve of our SEC basketball teams.  Here is an initial report from basketball practices around the SEC:

  • Florida coach Billy Donovan has been impressed with the decision making from 6’6” Casey Prather. Donovan said, “He’s made more of an impact the first two days of practices and really hasn’t even looked to score. He’s actually been more productive in practice offensively by taking a whole less amount of shots.” He also believes that 6’7” Will Yeguete’s rebounding skills will be key for the Gator’s frontline this year. Donovan said, “Will continues to be a guy that’s going to have to help us on the backboard rebounding-wise. I think I said the first day I thought one of my concerns was losing Chandler (Parsons), Vern (Macklin) and Alex (Tyus), we lost a lot of rebounding. And we’ve got to be scrappy around the glass.”
  • Kentucky coach John Calipari stressed using the floater as an effective tool in the UK offense. Even in the case of a miss, it draws the defender up and leaves a big man open for the rebound. Cal said, “It’s the best shot in the Dribble Drive. That’s a great shot for us.” Everyone knows the Cats have athleticism, but it sounds like Kentucky will be blessed with some good shooters as well. editor Eric Lindsey wrote, “Saturday was the best I’ve seen Michael Kidd-Gilchrist shoot the ball. During a timed drill, he frequently strung together streaks of five or more 3-pointers.” And even more encouraging for Cat fans, Lindsey wrote, “in that same drill, Darius Miller hardly missed. I didn’t see what the clock was set to -– it was only a few minutes -– but it sounded like Miller led everyone with 61 makes.” And if you like watching players get “posterized,” then there’s UK’s athletic freshmen Anthony Davis and Kidd-Gilchrist taking turns dunking on each other. First Davis dunks on Kidd-Gilchrist:

And then Kidd-Gilchrist returns the favor:

  • New Tennessee Volunteers head coach Cuonzo Martin isn’t taking it easy on the players as he begins his rebuilding project. Martin has made the players wear ten pound weight vests during drills. He said, “it’s not an easy thing to do, to wear that and compete and do the things we’re doing. It’s a plus for our guys to get that mental edge, so to speak.” And Martin has been impressed the play so far from his Vols, adding, “the effort and enthusiasm were there. Guys were diving on the floor for loose balls, took some charges. Everyone played hard, for the most part.”
  • LSU Tigers coach Trent Johnson is excited about his incoming freshmen – Anthony Hickey, John Isaac, and Johnny O’Bryant. Johnson gushes, “all three guys give us a level of athleticism, a level of quickness and a level of size that we haven’t had on the team since my first year.” Just as a reminder, LSU won the SEC regular season title with a conference record of 13-3 in Johnson’s first year, but the team has struggled since.
  • Finally, Auburn coach Tony Barbee emphasized effort in his first practices with the Tigers. One newcomer, Willy Kouassi, has really impressed the second-year coach. Barbee said, “I think we counted in the first five trips up and down the floor, he had six rebounds. I don’t know if any of our interior players averaged six rebounds for a game, and in our first five trips, he had six rebounds.” Barbee has been impressed with the entire team’s hard work this offseason saying the only reason the Tigers ever lose is because they ran out of time. That is certainly one way of looking at things.

And with that, I am out of time.

Brian Joyce (333 Posts)

Brian Joyce is an advanced metrics enthusiast, college hoops junkie, and writer for the SEC basketball microsite for Rush the Court.

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