Red Wolves Hoops Looking For Chemistry

The plan from the beginning for Arkansas State Red Wolves basketball team was to establish chemistry. That bonding began in July, when most of the team of eight newcomers arrived for the second session of summer school.


“I like our team; I like what is about, I like our approach it is going to be fun for me to see this team develop,’’ said coach John Brady. “I don’t know where will be picked in the Sun Belt. I don’t know the players Lafayette has. You don’t know the players in the Sun Belt like you do in the bigger conference because no one is writing about them.

“Based on the number of new players that we have we are certainly not going to be picked at the top or in the top two of three in the league. But from a talent stand point we can be where we have been.

“This team is going to be fun. It is a competitive team. We are going to be better defensively based on what I have seen. It is a good collection of players. We just have to fit and find our roles and identify our strengths and weaknesses of each player to make our team better.”

The Red Wolves lost five seniors off last year team and two other players transferred. Junior guard Cam Golden (7.6 points per game) is the top returning players along with 6-9 junior Kelvin Downs (2.2 points and 2.2 rebounds per game).

“Last season we set a school record for 3 and for points scored,’’ said Brady. “We averaged 76 points a game and in my career if I had a team average that I could not fathom my team losing more than seven or eight games. We just gave up too many points. We were not a good defensive team and I think we will be a lot better this year. That has been a point of emphasis this year.”

“We’ve won 38 games the last two years, which is the best here since the 1980s. We’ve done some good things but what we haven’t done is what I want most and that is to win the conference tournament and go to the NCAA.

“We have some good players. Our practices have been good, much more competitive than a year ago. We have some post players, some perimeter players, and we have some depth. Our biggest challenge is getting them to play together. We have got a lot of teaching to do.”

Brady said the team used the 2-hour in the summer to start working and has some two-day-workouts planned in the early practices.

Early injuries

Prized recruit Anthony Livingston (6-8, sophomore forward) is out for up to 4 weeks after suffering a broken nose and hairline fracture on his cheekbone compliments of an errant elbow from Downs.

Freshman guard Connor Kern torn his ACL in preseason workouts and is out for the year and Kent State transfer Devin Carter broke a bone in his hand in practice. Carter is out this season because of the transfer rule.

“I am glad these injuries are happening now than instead of the first of January,’’ said Brady. “We will get Anthony Livingston back and as soon as he is cleared by the doctor we will have him working. What hurts is he is missing these early workouts.

We are lucky we do have some good depth,’’ Brady said.

New coaches

Mike Scutero and Carlos Wilson are newcomers on the staff. Also new to the staff is Kyle Drake, in his first year as director of basketball operations.

Melvin Haralson is in his fourth year on Brady’s staff.

“I like our staff,’’ he said. “They are all good coaches.”

Scheduling

The Red Wolves open on Monday, Nov. 17 at home vs. Tennessee-Martin. The next 20 days they just have 3 games, two of them at home and a Dec. 1 trip to Central Arkansas.

“I wish I could control the schedule that much to schedule it like that’’ said Brady. “The most difficult thing about coaching here is not recruiting, it is not traveling, and it is not coaching. The most difficult thing here is the scheduling and we schedule whoever we can. Rich Zvosec, you can go look at his call long and who he calls and what we try to do. We will play teams here whenever they want to plays us. I could just sit up here and say I planned it that way but it all just worked out that way.”

Comments from head coach John Brady, P.J. Hardwick, Sean Gardner, Kelvin Downs and Cameron Golden. Also video from today’s practice as well.