Hoops Practice Notebook

Come inside for quotes and notes from today's basketball practice!

Brown Happy With Road Win

Coach Larry Brown was happy with the team's energy last week in their win against UIC, especially from the modified starting unit with the Chicago-natives starting. "That's not going to be our team. Three of them are from Chicago, and I thought it was a good opportunity to reward them and have them play in front of friends and family. And they actually did well. They started off well together," Coach Brown said. "It wasn't one of our best performances. I think that might have had something to do with playing different lineups this late in the season." Going forward from the UIC game, Brown had a list of things he wanted his team to improve upon. "We got to work on a lot of things. We've got to take care of the ball better, that's been an issue. We've got to rebound better. Defensive boards have been a factor, transition defense has been a factor and overall individual defense as well," Brown said. "With the new rules you have to be able to guard your own man and that's a challenge."

UTPA Could Provide A Challenge

Brown sounded concerned about how the team would perform next week against Texas Pan-American. "I just hope we get better. The game out of exams is usually a tough one," Brown said. "The fact that we've had a lot of time off with the Hofstra game being cancelled and being limited in practice, it's going to be a challenge. Just hope we get something done in the limited time that we do have together this week." As if to prove Brown's point, today's practice seemed like a revolving door at times. To start practice, Keith Frazier, Yanick Moreira and Nic Moore were absent, though Moore came in a few minutes into drills. Then Markus Kennedy left an hour into practice before Frazier showed up. When Moreira finally arrived with fifteen minutes left, Jean-Michael Mudiay and Kevin Dunleavy left as well. The limited players led to some interesting situations, such as Sterling Brown playing the power forward position during five-on-fives, in which he drove past Shawn Williams for an athletic reverse-layup.

Frazier Still Learning

Many Mustang fans who came into the season with high expectations for Keith Frazier's playing time and scoring have thus far been disappointed, but Coach Brown thinks the freshman is developing well. "He's getting better every day. I think it's not easy for freshmen to come in and all of sudden play as well as they are capable of playing," Brown said. "But I love his attitude and I think as we move along further and further into the season, playing against more quality teams, he'll play more and more and he'll get better and better as time goes by." Frazier looked winded for much of the practice and looked to pass more than to shoot today. He and Ryan Manuel were paired against each other for much of the practice. Frazier made a great stop in transition to prevent Manuel from scoring an easy layup and also had a huge block of Manuel in half-court defense. On the offensive side, Frazier made a sweet spin-move to avoid Manuel and finish over Dunleavy.

Quick Hits

• Coach Tim Jankovich and Coach Ulric Maligi spent time working with the big men on their post moves and defense. Ben Moore did a great job positioning himself against Cannen Cunningham to receive the entry pass.

• Nic Moore's jumper was not falling today so instead he defaulted to being an extra coach, helping Frazier understand offensive assignments.

• Jankovich yelled at the defense that Nick Russell was "the only guy talking on the whole court." After that, the defensive energy and communication picked up.

• Ryan Manuel's midrange jump shot looked the best it has all season.

• The varsity and junior varsity teams from Barker College (an Australian high school) stopped by practice today and were in awe when Larry Brown walked over to shake each of their hands.

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