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All In – Summer Workouts Come To An End For CSU Men

August 2, 2019

Eight weeks. Four hours per week. Not a lot of time in the grand scheme of things but a very important time for the Colorado State Men. A time for a 2nd year staff and a young team with 5 returning players and 8 newcomers to grow together.

It was a time for a pair of returning players – Nico Carvacho and Kendle Moore – to get healthy after off-season surgeries. A time for returning seniors Kris Martin and Hyron Edwards and sophomore Adam Thistlewood to establish their roles as leaders of said young team. A time to integrate the most talented freshman class in recent CSU history in James Moors, David Roddy, Isaiah Stevens, Dischon Thomas, and John Tonje. And a time for upper class newcomers PJ Byrd, Teyvion Kirk, and Kyle Lukasiewicz to also begin the process of getting integrated into the culture of CSU basketball.

There were a series of live 5 on 5 drills, both half court and full court, which included different aspects of transition offense and defense with varying scoring systems based upon defensive stops, turnovers, and points scored. Green Team (Carvacho, Martin, Roddy, Stevens, and Byrd) vs Gold (the rest of them with only Moore not able to go live).

In some cases the Gold team getting the better of the Green and vice versa. Winner gets a short rest, loser gets to run sprints. Lots of good stuff. And a lot of communication from staff to players correcting lots of mistakes, some of the gross variety and some minor but just as important in the development of a winning culture.

One player pounding the ball into the ground on an individual tangent instead of staying within the structure of the offense was corrected. It had cost 12 seconds of a 30-second shot clock. Another player not rotating back fast enough on transition defense got his dose of pushups. Followed by the team getting a dose from the head coach who noticed they were running harder in transition O than D and that kind of effort would find them sitting next to the coach a lot during the season.

The final segment included a pair of 5v5 halfcourt games. Gold Team won the first, Green Team won the second. The competitiveness between the two teams was what stood out. Green Team wasn’t happy about losing the first game and came out aggressively attacking the hoop, with Carvacho, Roddy, Byrd, and Martin all scoring and-1’s. A pair of Thistlewood three-balls brought the Gold team closer and when Hyron Edwards nailed a three-ball from the corner and was fouled, he begged the coach to continue as it was not enough for the win.

Coach explained that there aren’t any Silver medals for being close but gave Hyron a chance to save his team from the wind sprints if he made a pair of free throws. Hyron nailed them both and practice was over.

The team huddled, Coach Medved addressed them, Carvacho doused them all with a bit of water. Basketball Summer School had concluded with a final shout of “Team Together” before going on their separate ways for a few weeks prior to the start of the Fall Semester.

Other Stuff

Hyron, Adam, and Nico all stopped by to say hello to me after practice. I asked Adam what he thought of this group and he really loves the competitiveness of the entire group on the floor. When Nico wandered by, I asked his the same and he responded exactly the same words as Adam. He loves the competitiveness of the group and Adam nodded as Nico talked about guys going after it and really wanting to be here. Nico also talked about how players on previous teams would act like they were better than everyone else and couldn’t acknowledge that a teammate had moved them successful with an assist. This year its less individual and more about team success.

PJ Byrd and Coach Medved wandered over and we joked about pounding the ball on the dribble. I looked at Nico and we talked about previous teams where he would work hard to get open in the low block, raise his hand asking for the ball, and repeatedly not see the ball.

Byrd talked about the sets they’re running being basic and having the defense know them. Nico and Adam both said not to worry as they have about 30 different plays they can run out of their simple sets. Plays that get shots for players like Adam on the perimeter and touches for Nico in the block.

I also talked with Coach Medved about the competitiveness of this group. He pointed to how hard the young bigs Thomas and Moors are playing and the benefit they get by practicing against a talented and seasoned big in Carvacho. He talked about how he has a good senior in Kris Martin but loves the competitive and physical nature that John Tonje brings that will push Kris every day. Yes the freshmen have a long way to go but they’re bringing the energy and physicality.

I asked Nico and Adam what they’ll be doing in their weeks off. Adam is heading home to Golden and then to Colorado Springs to visit his girlfriend (who happens to be the MWC Track and Field 400M Champ) before returning to Fort Collins a week early. Nico back home to Texas to work out, eat, and sleep. It’s well-earned and valuable time off before returning to school and then another month before fall practice begins on September 24th.

Other Cool Stuff

There was a kid and his parents in attendance. Obviously a player watching practice. It turns out it was a young big named Lawson Lovering, a 7-foot big from Cheyenne who is being heavily recruited throughout the country. After practice, a lot of the CSU players came over to introduce themselves unprompted.

As a booster, I followed the rules and didn’t go over and introduce myself or chat with Lawson or his parents. But oh how I wanted to talk to him about Jason Smith, a local kid who decided that the MWC and CSU were plenty good for him and it would allow him to play in front of parents and family. Jason Smith who won all kinds of MWC awards. Jason Smith who is the longest tenured NBA player from the MWC after twelve years in the league.

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