NASHVILLE --- With the first day of classes for the fall semester set for Aug. 21, summer workouts are winding down for the Tennessee State men’s basketball team.
Led by fourth-year Head Coach Dana Ford, the Tigers are coming off back-to-back winning seasons, including a 17-13 record in 2016-17. Ford gave his thoughts on how the summer workouts have been and the progress being made.
TSUTigers.com: How has the summer been going for the team?
Head Coach Dana Ford: “We’ve been here for about four or five weeks now together as a team. Not everybody is here, but most of the team is here. The guys that are here have really done most of their work in the strength and conditioning part of our program. We’ve been on the court just a little bit, but we’ve allowed the guys to enjoy their summer and hopefully be ready to go to work when school starts.”
TSU: How important is this time for some of the newcomers to get acclimated?
DF: “I think it’s really important, especially from a class standpoint to get some structure to their day and maybe meet some faces around campus that will be able to help them out while they’re here. Obviously building some type of team chemistry, getting to know their teammates and how we operate on a day-to-day basis has been good for some of our new guys.”
TSU: How have the newcomers been transitioning to the team?
DF: “We haven’t been out there a lot, but all the guys are listening and trying to do the best that they can, and trying to pick up on some things. We really have not gotten into the ‘meat and potatoes’ of what we do here, but so far, everybody has upheld our standard in terms of how we like to act on the court, off the court, classroom, things of that nature. It’s been good in that regard.”
TSU: How nice is it to have players entering their fourth year in the program like Darreon Reddick and Christian Mekowulu?
DF: “It’s been great. They give a voice in the locker room so that I don’t always have to be that voice. Those two have really worked hard on their game this year in terms of coming in the gym and being gym rats and trying to get better. We’ll need those two guys to be really good for us if we have aspirations of being good.”
TSU: What are you hoping to see the rest of the summer?
DF: “I want us to stay healthy. I think the summer is about the guys having as much fun as possible. It’s their break. They’ve earned it. Hopefully getting everyone geared up for when school starts. We’ll try to hit the ground running come the third week of August, and we’ll be looking to start practice late September, early October.”
TSU: What’s the update on summer recruiting?
DF: “I think the recruiting period went well in terms of collecting names, getting guys that are interested in joining the program. This is a big class for us because of the number of seniors we have. Five is a pretty big class, and we’ll try to do our best to mix in some high school players with some transfers and hopefully fill the needs that will be left after this year’s senior class is done.”