Nashville, Tenn. – Defense was the name of the game as the Tennessee State men’s basketball team officially kicked off practice for the 2015-16 season on Friday on campus at the Gentry Center.
Second-year Head Coach Dana Ford led his Tigers through a number of individual and group drills heavily emphasizing the defensive end of the court.
“Obviously, there’s a lot of teaching in the first couple of days,” Ford said. “I thought the guys were pretty attentive and paid attention to what I wanted. We’ve got a long way to go like everyone at this time of year, but I was pleased with how well they paid attention on the first day.”
Intensity was high for the first day of practice, which was split into morning and afternoon sessions. In the first half of the morning practice, the coaching staff guided defensive drills. Focusing on transition defense, the drills went from 2-on-1, to 3-on-2, to 4-on-4.
The practice then shifted to full-court shell drills and offensive sets. More offensive movement and 5-on-5 live play highlighted the afternoon session.
“It was really intense today,” TSU junior guard Tahjere McCall (Philadelphia, Pa.) said. “We’ve been working hard all summer. No one knows what to expect, so we just couldn’t wait to get out on the court and have everyone play together.”
With five returners who saw action for the Tigers, Ford is also working 12 newcomers into the mix.
“Even for our returners, there’s a new defensive style, there’s a new offensive style, so there’s a lot of teaching going on,” Ford said. “There’s going to be teaching every day, but there’s just a lot right now.”
The Tigers officially tip off the 2015-16 season 42 days from Friday on Nov. 13 in Baltimore, Md. versus Loyola Maryland.
Fans will have three opportunities to see the Tigers before the season opener with Big Blue Madness scheduled for Oct. 29 followed by the Blue and White Scrimmage on Nov. 3 and a home exhibition game versus Cal State East Bay on Nov. 7.