NASHVILLE --- The Tennessee State men's basketball team's first game of the season is just over three weeks away. As the Tigers prepare for the opener at Kansas on Nov. 10, Head Coach Dana Ford has his team trending in the right direction, beginning on the defensive end.
Ford gave his thoughts on his team's progression.
“Well it’s still a little early, but we’ve got a lot of what we do defensively in. That’s what we start always with. We’re starting to get a rotation I think in, in terms of guys we feel comfortable playing in a game, but we’re still working on our consistency and how we do certain things and what type of habits we’re building. It typically takes 21 days to build a habit, so we’re definitely not there yet, but there are some guys that we’re pleased with in terms of how far they’ve come from the first practice.”
- On how the team is progressing
“I think Daniel Cummings has been the most surprising player of our preseason practices. He redshirted last year. A very hard worker, very coachable, has great demeanor about himself. He’s tough. He’s disciplined. He’s someone that we’re very excited about right now in terms of the role that we anticipate him playing for us this year. Also, I think Armani Chaney has done a better job this year of running the team and trying to do what we ask him to do – what we need him to do from that position. Starting with taking care of the ball, getting the ball where it needs to be and also getting players to want to play with him. I think as of right now, he’s done a pretty good job of that, so hopefully both of those guys can continue to do that.”
- On who has stepped up during preseason practices
“I think the energy is starting to wear off a little bit for everybody, but I think there should be some excitement there because everyone has yet to lose or win. I think the main thing we should be focused on right now is developing our identity. Once our first game gets here, then most of our practices will start to turn into game preparation, but right now, we’ve got to stay engaged in forming our identity and basically being disciplined enough, tough enough to build up the consistency we need in order to be the team that we feel like will give us the best chance to win. Sometimes, it’s not always positive getting that message across, but at the same time, if you build the identity that we’ve built here over the last couple years, then we’ll have a more positive outlook as the season goes on.”
- On the positivity of this time of year
“Just a lot of discipline, a lot of toughness, a lot of focus. We need to build habits. Right now, we’ve yet to develop the habit of checking out every time the ball is shot. We’ve yet to develop the habit of cutting the court in half when the ball is on the weak side defensively. We’ve yet to develop the habit of contesting at top of the shot each time that it’s taken or we’ve yet to develop the habit of sprinting back in three and a half seconds. We’re looking as a coaching staff on who are the people willing enough, tough enough to develop the habits that we need in order to win.”
- On the focus in the coming weeks