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All In – Another Afternoon at CSU Hoops Practice

July 26, 2019

By now you should know I’m All In on this CSU Men’s Basketball program. It’s easy when you see how hard this coaching staff works and its easy when you see the types of players that are coming into the program.

At some point I will stop using All In in my headlines. That day will come when I sense the enthusiasm for the program throughout the CSU community is approaching my own level. I want all of you to be All In right now, dammit!

So the content of the practice today including both offensive and defensive aspects.

Offensive drills were oriented around transition opportunities and then moving from transition to getting into the half court offense smoothly. It’s always interesting to see the difference between experienced players and newcomers as to how naturally they flow. Even though this is only the second year for vets like Nico Carvacho and Kris Martin, their movement is far more natural and less robotic because of their experience.

Defensive drills included ball screen defense with switching and double-teaming aspects, help side positioning and recovery.

Final part of practice were a series of 4 on 4 games (its nice to have 12 healthy players) that were oriented around defense. As Coach Medved told me a few weeks ago, last years team was his worst ever defensively and that wont happen again. Guys really got after it hard. One player whose enthusiasm really stood out was PJ Byrd, whose VCU defensive roots and competitiveness were on display.

Practice concluded with freshman guard Isaiah Stevens asked to make a pair of free throws or else the team would run wind sprints. (Byrd and Martin had both missed earlier in practice). Coach Medved yelled across the gym to Isaiah’s high school coach from Allen,TX who was attending the practice “Hey coach, with the game on the line would Isaiah make a pair of free throws.” His coach responded “If it was at Allen, he would.”

Swish. Swish. Practice ovah!

By the way, after Kris Martin missed he ran the sprint up and down the floor faster than the rest of the team. That is a leadership quality that I admire.

Other Thoughts

Nico Carvacho is taking young bigs Dischon Thomas and James Moors under his wing, regularly spending time helping them with positioning on both ends of the floor. Sure Carvacho will be expected to get most of the minutes in the post this season, but this team will be dependent on newcomers giving the team solid backup play. It’s nice to see that level of leadership.

Kendle Moore is still not cleared for full practice after off-season meniscus surgery. He has an appointment on Monday with the doctor and is hoping for good news that would allow him to participate in the last week of summer workouts.

Moore, Hyron Edwards, PJ Byrd, and Isaiah Stevens can all get after it defensively and it will be fun over time to see how they emerge and mesh together. We saw what Moore and Edwards could do last season when healthy. Add Byrd and Stevens to the mix and its could be really fun to watch.

The difference in the freshmen between what I saw a few weeks ago and now is huge. Stevens, Thomas, Moors, David Roddy, and John Tonje are really coming along. Physically, they will all be able to contribute this season. But the journey is only beginning and there is still a huge gap between summer workouts and November games.

CSU AD Glitterati in Attendance

Deputy AD Steve Cottingham was at practice and so was AD Joe Parker. It was nice to catch up with them, especially to hear insights from Joe re: CSU Athletics overall. Cottingham brought his son along and rumor has it that the kid is a real player.

The maturity of these athletes is refreshing

In the midst of practice Kendle Moore found the time to come over and say hello. After practice, the Big Chile came by and Kris Martin also said hello. Newcomer Kyle Lukasiewicz stopped by and introduced himself.

And as I was leaving, I ran into a couple of players from the Women’s Basketball team who were coming to shoot. Jamie Bonnarens and Katia Stamatelopolous. We talked about the upcoming season and Katia informed me in her Australian accent that they are going to “win a chip”. She almost inspired me to break out my best Crocodile Dundee impression but discretion leapt to the forefront. I didn’t want to scare her by saying “That’s not a knife…”

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