Following his team's latest public scrimmage, Western Kentucky head coach Rick Stansbury expressed disappointment, but understanding, in some of what he saw from his team. He also indicated that the time to assemble a rotation of players that he'll lean on throughout the 2016-17 season.
Saturday's two-hour scrimmage at E.A. Diddle Arena, which included a roster change on both sides midway through, saw a number of players put up impressive numbers, but the team also suffered what Stansbury described as "game slippage."
It's when the players notice the fans in the stands, the bright lights and "forget all those things that you've focused on," he explained. "Those are the little things. I'm not worried about making mistakes."
While the first-year WKU head coach has little concern about fixing that type of mental lapse, he's more concerned about his team's improvement in four areas.
"Effort, toughness, concentration, communication," he said. "Those are the things and that wasn't where I want it to be."
Led by Ben Lawson's 26 points, eight different Hilltoppers finished in double-figures in the scrimmage. Willie Carmichael and Anton Waters both recorded a double-double. Carmichael went for 24 points and 15 rebounds, with Anton Waters recording 22 points and 11 boards. Pancake Thomas added 23 points and Que Johnson scored 21 points.
Johnson and Tobias Howard both led the team with five three-pointers, with the remainder of the team connecting on just 2 of 19 beyond the arc.
"What we have to do here soon is get it narrowed it down a little bit more," said Stansbury. adding that he's looking to build a consistent rotation during the final weeks of preseason work.
"Start trying to get a little rhythm and continuity with seven or eight guys," he said.
Up next for WKU is an exhibition against Campbellsville on Nov. 1 and while progress is still in need, the effort to improve remains a strength of the rebuilt team.
"One thing that the guys have been doing, is they've been giving me good effort," he said. "They've been working hard. That doesn't mean we'll always make the right decisions, or make the right reads, but they've been working hard. As long as they keep working hard, we'll keep getting better."