No Rest for Cougar Hoops

The BYU men's basketball team does not have a minute to spare as they prepare for their season opener against UCLA. The breakneck pace of Cougar practices reflects the sense of urgency felt by players and coaches alike. The team knows that they must exert maximum effort over the next three weeks if they are to have a chance in historic Pauley Pavilion against the 2006 NCAA Tournament runner-up.

The BYU men's basketball team is already starting to show improvement after a week of practice. The team's focus on transition defense, post defense and perimeter defense is apparent, as is the emphasis on conditioning and running.

After going hard for two hours on Friday, the Cougars finished practice with a mass suicide drill. All the players are still living, although some might have felt they died in the final few minutes of the drill. To begin the exercise, the team split up into groups of three and shot free throws. While one person in the group shot three free throws, another person ran "suicides" to the free-throw line, mid-court, the opposite free-throw line and then full court. After each group made 15 attempts, they got to take a quick breather – until all the groups had made their 15 free throws. It took most of the groups six or seven rotations.

When all groups had completed the task, the team lined up on the baseline, and a minute was put on the clock. They had to run the length of the court and back five times before the time expired. When the whole team did not make it, they did it again. They all made it the second time and practice finished.

Junior center Vuk Ivanovic said that the team is doing "far more running this year than last." He added that "there is no pausing between drills – but running is part of the job, so we just have to catch our breath when we can."

When asked how he relaxes after a practice and rests to get ready for the next day's session, Ivanovic said: "I go to the training room and sometimes I'll get in the cold pool and then stretch. Eating helps sometimes, but nothing helps more than sleep. Sleep is by far the best way."

So after getting a good night's rest and watching the football team play UNLV, were at it again Saturday evening for their first practice in the Marriott Center this fall.

Spiff's Friday Observations
- Keena Young will be very good in the post this year. His first step looks extremely quick, and he should be able to beat anyone to the middle of the key.
- Trent Plaisted beat Jimmy Balderson during a one-on-one drill with a behind-the-back dribble in the key.
- Plaisted made several turn around jumpers from the baseline. He also nailed four straight free-throw line jumpshots and made more than half his shots on the baseline from 12-feet out.
- Sam Burgess left practice with a sprained left ankle about 45 minutes into practice. The severity of the sprain was not known when practice finished. He was able to put some weight on it and left the court under his own power.
- All the players are now wearing matching sneakers. There were about four different styles at the start of practice; it looks like they have all settled on the white leather with blue trim.
- During one fast break drill, Jordan Cameron bounced a pass at Mike Rose's feet, which Rose he could not handle. "Don't pass the ball to his legs, dude!" came the advice from Ivanovic, which garnered chuckles from onlookers.
- 6-foot senior point guard Rashaun Broadus had the dunk of the afternoon when he threw down a reverse slam on a fast break.
- Rose was the first person across during both of the mass suicides that finished practice.

Spiff's Saturday Observations
- Sleep did not seem to help the "Blue" team during their 40-minute scrimmage. They lost to the "White" squad 72-61 and it was not that close.
- They played four 10-minute periods and the White team came out on fire and won the scrimmage in the first session by jumping out to a 30-16 lead.
- The Whites were led by Fernando Malaman who had 16 points. Jonathan Tavernari had 14, Mike Rose had 12 (10 of which were in the first period), Gavin MacGregor 11, Jordan Cameron and Brock Zylstra each had eight and Ben Murdock scored three.
- The Blues were led by Trent Plaisted's 22. Keena Young scored eight. Lee Cummard, Jimmy Balderson and Austin Ainge each had seven points. Rashaun Broadus had six and Vuk had four.
- Sam Burgess did not participate in the practice, but he was walking normally and said he had a low ankle sprain and expected to be back in a few days.
- Monday and Tuesday practice are closed to the public and media.
- MWC Media Day is October 26th in Las Vegas. Head coach Dave Rose will be joined by Plaisted.

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