Hoops Practice Notebook

Come inside for today's SMU basketball report for exclusive briefs!

Brown working to figure out rotation

Through the first four games of the season, head coach Larry Brown is still learning a lot about his team. He was happy with how they bounced back from the loss at Arkansas with a win over Texas State on Wednesday night. Brown said he is using the first few weeks to figure out which players he wants to keep in his rotation late in the season. His biggest problem has been figuring out how to split minutes between Yanick Moreira, Shawn Williams, Ben Moore, Markus Kennedy and Cannen Cunningham. "To me, the first ten games are like preseason," Brown said. "We eventually got to settle in to some kind of rotation. It might be difficult to get those five guys the amount of minutes that they deserve or expect. It's a little different problem than we had last year." Brown believes the team can't be successful when players are getting inconsistent minutes each night. "I don't know what to do. I'm trying to figure it out," he said. "Cannen only got five minutes at Arkansas because it was hard with Ben doing so well. When I played Cannen before Ben against Texas State, I could see Ben's body language that it bothered him a little bit. I just got to keep figuring it out." Markus Kennedy said Moore has surprised him so far this season with his energy and scoring ability. "He is that guy right now," Kennedy said. "I call him my social security number because he is always there."

Kennedy getting comfortable as a Mustang

Sophomore forward Markus Kennedy is not pleased with his performance so far this season. "I would give myself a D," he said. "I just need to get back to the feel of the game. I haven't played in a year and a half, so it's tougher than it looks to adjust. I'm in shape and I changed my body. That's just another adjustment that I have to work with. I'm playing 40-50 pounds lighter, but I'll be good, I'm not worried about my performance too much. We are winning and that's really all that matters." Coach Brown said Kennedy hasn't shown all of his talent yet and expects much more from him as the season goes along. The big man looked much more comfortable Wednesday night scoring nine points on four of six shooting and grabbing five rebounds in 19 minutes. "It shows game to game I'm getting a feel back for it," Kennedy said. "It's just confidence and being ready whenever I need to be. That's all mental, I just got to get my head back into it. I can be one of the most dominant players out there. It will come. It's not really a stress factor for me or for Coach Brown. We know what I'm capable of and it's a long season, so I'm going to get there." Kennedy added how happy he was to be a Mustang and believes this team can be really dangerous when they finally put it all together. "We got a lot of heart, but we got a lot, a lot of work to do," he said. "It's scary how good we can be because we are good now and we have so much work left to do. Through these first couple games, I have learned that we have the ability to be a really good, top-notch team."

Team prepares for Arkansas-Pine Bluff

The Mustangs next game is Sunday afternoon against Arkansas-Pine Bluff at Curtis Culwell Center. The Golden Lions are 2-2 this season and coming off a 67-64 loss to Air Force last week. Coach Brown said he was warned his players repeatedly to never look past opponents in these types of situations. "I respect everybody we play," Brown said. "They played Oklahoma State good for about a half than Oklahoma State kind of got going. We are talking about one of the best teams in the country in OSU, so I respect Arkansas-PB. They play a zone, it's a good zone. We didn't handle the zone against TCU very well. I really worry about us more than them. I don't coach the other team. I coach our guys and make sure we do the right things." The Mustangs should be able to take advantage of their size against the much smaller Golden Lions. Big man Markus Kennedy said they have to remain focused and do what they do best. "They are small and scrappy," he said. "Even though they don't got the name, we can't come out and be content with thinking we are going to beat them. That's how upsets happen. That's how they get a name off of beating us and we can't let that happen."

Moore helping out teammates

Although he was limited in some drills due a sore ankle, Nic Moore had a terrific practice today. He was very vocal through the day and continuously helped teammates run certain plays correctly. He had a couple nice alley-oop passes to Yanick Moreria and a pretty bounce pass to Markus Kennedy in transition. Kennedy said playing with a point guard like Nic has been incredible. "You see it in all the highlights and passes," Kennedy said. "He makes everything out there easy. When I get double teamed, I know I can pass out to him and nine times out ten his shot is going in. Plus I know he will hit me when I'm open and somebody else when they are open. He makes the game a lot easier. It's always easy when you have a point guard who can score and is willing to pass the ball."

Quick Hits:

• Assistant coaches Ulric Maligi and KT Turner were not at practice today.

Nick Russell came out to practice early to work on his jump shot. He had a very good practice.

• Russell and Ben Moore battled on one-on-one drills throughout the day. Moore appears to be focusing on becoming a better defender.

• Shawn Williams had a nice cross over in transition to break a trap and get a lay up. Coach Brown was very complimentary of the play.

• Markus Kennedy had a good practice. He had a few nice finishes and played great defense in transition.

Ryan Manuel struggled guarding Sterling Brown at times. Brown was terrific on the glass today and had several rebounds on both ends.

• The team worked on a lot of strategy plays for the Arkansas-Pine Bluff game.

• There were six older gentlemen that were SMU Alumni at practice watching.

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