Everyone, welcome Associate Athletic Director Cory Aadland to the Tiger Talk Blog!
Just got back from the men's practice at the Branson RecPlex. We walked in to catch the end of GPAC Conference Champion Northwestern's practice as they were practicing right before us. After some stretching and loosening up, the guys got into full court drills with some shooting and it didn't take long for Coach Murphy to make a quick adjustment to the practice plan as the guys weren't shooting as well as he would have liked (to which I agreed) so they went into some 2 man shooting and spent a good 7-8 minutes just working on their shots. It was clear after just a few minutes that the guys started to get their shots going as the number of balls going through the hoop far outnumbered the missed ones.
Once Shane was pleased with their shooting he got into some Grace specifics starting with transition defense. It's no secret that Grace is a big team and Coach Murphy stressed that while they won't necessarily play all that uptempo and push the ball, they will use the transition to get their bigs position down low and look to throw the ball up if they can get our guys buried down low. He stressed that our bigs need to be aware of that and look to check up their guys early and not let them get the position they are looking for. To drill this he had our guys work through an offensive set to get a shot and then transition back to defense while Coach Mueller and Coach Greene went 2 on 5 against guys just slightly younger than them! It was entertaining to say the least.
Next topic on the Grace scouting report was their half court sets and once again their size advantage down low. Coach Murphy really talked up how good their big to big high-low action is and how well they work together. They use a lot of different action but ultimately what they're trying to do is get a post up near the free throw line and the other down low near the block. He also stressed how important it will be for our off ball defenders to be active with help defense. Without a question my favorite quote of the practice was when Coach Murphy addressed our size disadvantage and said "I'm the tallest guy on our team...but I can't play! But even though they're taller than we are I still believe we can be successful down low." While we could surely use Coach Murphy's height underneath, good team defense can overcome that disadvantage with good position and good communication.
I've got more from practice that I have to save for later because we are off to eat with the team at the Outback Steak and Oyster Bar before we head back to Keeter Gymnasium for the Parade of Champions which will be followed by GPAC rival University of Sioux Falls playing host school College of the Ozarks which is always a great atmosphere.
Who ya rootin for!
(This also marks the first 'to be continued' version of the Tiger Talk Blog)