NCAA : New Jump Start in Basketball Prepartions

MANHATTAN, Kan. – A new NCAA rule has given Kansas State and other schools an opportunity to get a jump start on its preparations for the coming season by allowing squads to return to practice as a team earlier than ever before.

Under new NCAA regulations, basketball teams around the country are now allowed to begin team practices, with coaches in attendance, as soon as school begins in the fall for two hours a week. Teams are permitted to do this until the first official day of practice on Friday, Oct. 14.

"With as many new kids entering our program, this new rule will give us an opportunity to get started on our preparations for the coming year," said head coach Jim Wooldridge. "We are really excited about getting back to the court and getting ready for what we think will be a great year for us."

Current NCAA regulations permit that student-athletes can have eight hours of activity per week during the off-season. In previous years, men's teams were allowed to use two of these hours to work out with a maximum of four players at a time from the start of school until the team's first full practice in mid-October. With the rule change, the Wildcats can now have the entire team present for workouts, enabling them to play full 5-of-5 scrimmages instead of 2-on-2 in the past.

This will be a big boost for the Wildcats, who must integrate seven new faces with eight returning lettermen, including starters Lance Harris, Cartier Martin and Clent Stewart. In addition, the team will also be running a more up-tempo offense to take advantage of its speed and athleticism.

"I think the fans will see an energized team that has the ability to be a versatile team." Wooldridge said of the style change. "We have got to make things happen. If we are successful at doing that, then it will be a fun style of play to watch and for the fans to attach themselves to."

Fans will get their first glimpse of this year's team on Saturday, Oct. 22 when the Wildcats will have an open scrimmage at Bramlage Coliseum in conjunction with their annual coaches' clinic. A time will be determined once a game time is set for the Wildcats' football game with Texas A&M.

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