After the excitement of the Staff vs. Student-Athlete softball game a few weeks ago, things around here have finally settled down and it is back to business. We are looking forward to official practice starting this week, but for now the players are completing their preseason skills testing.
Preseason skills testing serves as a way to assist our guys in their on-the-court development. The summer months serve as the time for players to work on their games. Skill testing holds them accountable working on their game. Our staff loves preseason testing because it becomes very evident who has invested time into working on their game.
Last Wednesday, I went to watch the Detroit Pistons practice in their facility in Auburn Hills. I am a big fan of Pistons head coach Lawrence Frank. We were very fortunate to have him speak at our coaches' clinic last year and I appreciated the opportunity to watch his team practice last week.
In watching NBA players move up and down the court, it is amazing to me how quickly space disappears and is taken up by world class athletes. One second a driving or passing lane looks open and the next second it disappears.
In watching Lawrence Frank conduct practice, I was amazed at how we echo many of the same things that Coach Frank teaches his players. When a teammate hits the ground, help him up quickly and enthusiastically. Point guards are the quarterbacks and must always know the time and score. Communication is critical on defense, especially in ball screen defense.
The amount of information NBA players must retain is tremendous. Basketball truly is a thinking man's game. Watching Lawrence Frank run practice further lets me know that at the highest levels, the mental edge and capacity that a coaching staff can foster in a team helps separate the team from its competition.
It is not about what the coaching staff knows; we can't execute the plan. It is about what the players know and are able to execute.
We look forward to kicking off the start of official practice on Friday. Guys were able to put on their uniforms last week for picture day in Crisler Center. Seeing our players in their uniforms is exciting for the players and for the staff because it signals that the season is drawing near.