NASHVILLE --- The Tennessee State men’s basketball team opened practice for the highly-anticipated 2017-18 season on Friday night at the Gentry Center. The hard work from offseason workouts and conditioning was on display in the high-energy session.
TSU, which has posted back-to-back winning seasons, is entering year four under Head Coach Dana Ford.
"We're really excited," Ford said. "We've got some new guys this year. This is their first opportunity to really show us what they're capable of. We've got some guys who have been here before who have bigger roles, so hopefully those guys can live up to the expectations that we have within our own program. There's a lot of unknowns, so that makes us excited, as well as a little bit nervous, but it's a good nervous."
Ford relied heavily on the team’s nine returning players to help the newcomers learn the drills and offensive sets utilized during practice. The day included a variety of areas ranging from defensive closeouts to offensive motion to defending the low post – all done at high intensity.
Tennessee State officially opens the season six weeks from today with a road test at Kansas on Nov. 10 in an ESPNU broadcast.
TSU Head Coach Dana Ford
"Hopefully we handle everything together as a team. Hopefully when adversity hits, it makes us stronger. We're looking for some leadership. That would be great to see. We're looking for guys that can make plays offensively and defensively, and guys who don't have a problem being over aggressive in terms of defense and rebounding. We're looking for players who don't mind sharing the basketball. There's a lot of things that if we see early will be very promising for us. There are also things that we don't anticipate them to figure out on their own and we're going to have to show them."
- On what he's hoping to see early
Senior Guard Darreon Reddick
"It's great. My senior year. I've been here four years and I've seen a lot of changes to the school - from five wins to 20 wins. I'm excited to come back and try to end my senior year in a special way. Hopefully win the whole thing - that would be a great way to end my four-year career."
- On the start of practice