Cats give a glimpse of basketball team

Getting to see a Wildcat basketball practice is actually a rare thing. A number of years ago Lute Olson closed practices to the public and the media and only opens them on rare occasions. Thursday night was one such occasion.

With the team preparing for their exhibition tour of Canada, the Wildcats are allowed 10 practices. As you can imagine, this is a great opportunity to get the young players some extra work and prepare them for the rigors they will face when the real practices open up in October.

Olson allowed the media to watch the last 30 minutes of practice. You could not gleam a whole lot from the half hour, but it was more structured, and therefore more reliable than a normal pick-up session. The players were getting an earful from the coaches, especially when they attempted to get creative and less disciplined.

Nic Wise stood out. I had concerns that the short point guard may have trouble getting his shot off against collegiate players, but he was able to use his quickness to get into the lane.

Chase Budinger also showed off some of the skills that made him a McDonald's All-American. He had a couple of transition bucket and knocked down a three pointer.

Olson is working the guys hard. There is a lot of running and some of the younger players admitted that they were still getting accustomed to the tough practices. Budinger noted that he was still a bit sore in his legs, but that overall the practices are great and he is learning a lot.

A common theme among the players was that the chemistry is great. Mustafa Shakur was quick to point out that all of the guys were getting along and there were no unhappy players.

Although Jawann McClellan is still not cleared to play, he may be the most happy to see things get started. McClellan feels that he has been given a second chance and appreciates basketball much more than he did a year ago. He's 15 pounds lighter than he was last year and feels that he is in shape for the first time since the Illinois game two years ago.

Kirk Walters and Ivan Radenovic worked out a lot together this season. The senior for Michigan said that he has been trying to incorporate Radenovic's face-up game into his skill set. He looks heavier and says that he really benefited from lifting over the summer.

Mohamed Tangara was able to go home to Mali over the summer and said the trip has helped him become more focused on basketball than ever. He says he is completely healthy and ready to make an impact this season.


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