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    TLL.com Womens Moderator Lobo2x53's Avatar
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    Notes From An Early Practice

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    Today was not the first practice, but it was the first one I was able to attend after a 10 day trip East. I was easy to see how it looked with so many new faces. It was good to be back inside the Davalos Center. It was not very crowded—as usual the only other media person there was Ken S. He has been to several sessions and is far ahead of me in knowing the new faces! I am indebted to him for keeping me straight and for some of the info here.

    First observations—actually everything here qualifies as “first observations, and I reserve the right to disavow anything I say here after I have a chance to see them more.

    What caught my eye at once were the practice uniforms: black and white. They looked good, but un-Lobolike. I talked a little with Emily who likes them, so my very amateur fashion evaluation was supported!

    Second—Where is everyone? Once I realized that one of the ladies in uniform was Simone Denim, the newest assistant, that only left 10 players. It turns out that the two Texas players’ (Quincy Noble and Bre’Asiajah Mathews) HS didn’t get out early enough to enroll in UNM courses this summer. They will arrive in July. The two Australians will arrive in August. So I only had to learn four new faces today.

    Quick notes on the four:

    Jayla Everett:

    Mike Bradbury’s quote (from the Fall article on GoLobos): "Jayla is an athletic combo guard with tremendous playmaking ability. She is explosive off the dribble with a knack to finish with great body control. Her court vision and unselfish play will translate well into our system."

    Even though there was no scrimmaging, just a variety of half-court drills, the explosiveness and the body control were evident. She made some nice passes, but it is hard to tell the court vision part in the scripted drills. The other observable: she looks like a very mature shooter. By that I mean, her outside shots never looked rushed. She would move fast to the spot, elevate quickly, but the shot itself was calm and always looked in control—floating off her hand. Because of the drill structure I could not tell her range.

    Shaiquel McGruder:

    Mike: "Shai is an athletic post who is a force around the rim. She's a big-time rebounder who you have to have a body on at all times. Offensive put backs and layups in transition are how she will contribute right away."

    Shaiquel was in some of the drills, but not in all of them. There was no obvious reason, and talking with the coaches briefly, they did not seem at all worried about it. What I did see was pretty fluid movement on a body that is not thin at all, but does look like a HS Sr, i.e. it can benefit from time with Carla.

    Nike McClure:

    Nike does not have a HS Sr’s body. In fact, if you have never seen her in person, it is easy to describe her: take Jaisa and make her a half inch taller. Same wide shoulders, same mature body style, strong arms, etc. And in the drills she played with a look and style very similar to Jaisa. Does not handle the ball as well as Jaisa, not enough data to tell about her hands, slightly more willing to take an 8’ to 10’ shot. Rebounding and D were not really possible to assess, though she did seem to move her feet well in the small sample size.

    Najala Howell:

    Najala was active in the drills, but as with most transfers who will be sitting out the season, she was most often on the defending side of the drill. Athletic, moved well. Didn’t always move to the right place, but corrected her errors quickly. Not enough to tell about her shooting from what I saw.

    Other observations, in no particular order. Fundamentally today had a lot in common with last season’s practices, but a few things were different.

    What was the same.

    --Attention to detail. Where to plant your foot to make a certain pass. Which foot to pivot on. What shot to take in what situation/option in a particular play.

    --The fact that many of the plays had options: “if the defender does X, then you do Y”, followed by, “if they counter with Z, we do W”. Even though 40% of the players were new, the confusion seemed minimal, though out of place situations did occur.

    --Multiple balls in play to provide maximum touches. There were at least two drills where the PG and two wing players ran a drill intended to get a mid range shot on the wing or a lay-up. If the ball went to the wing, another ball was fed into the post (usually Jaisa or Nike) for an offensive rebound and put back. Timed so that the two shot balls were deconflicted. Most the time.

    --“Faster! Next group, get in position and start the drill faster! Pick up the pace!”

    --“DON’T FOUL!!!”
    --“Always know where Jaisa is. Feed Jaisa!” Interesting to hear Mike say, more than once, “There will be a lot of games where we have the two best posts on the floor.” A small sample of Nike, the Jaisa clone, probably explains that comment.

    What was different

    --Not as much yelling—there seemed to be a definite recognition that there were a lot of new players on the floor. More instruction, less correction. More explanation at a more basic level. Explaining what shot we want to get, and why. Positive reinforcement of making the right decision, at the right time, and taking the right shot—regardless of the ball going in or not.

    Some Specific Player Notes

    --Shaiquel & Nike joined Jaisa in the post drills. We should have some better physical depth in the post.

    --AT and Emily were with the guards. Emily looked more confident and aggressive with the ball in her hands. Clearly the coaching staff trusts her judgement and knowledge, several times asking her to answer/explain things to the others. AT was playing farther away from the basket to start the offensive sets, and was frequently flying past defenders with the ball. It surprised me how often she went right by Aisia, because Cherise had a very hard time flying past Aisia last year. Her ball handling still needs work but is not “bad”.

    --Jayden is another one who looked quicker and more confident. The quickness was a very noticeable step up.

    --Madi also looked like the confidence of minutes late in the season, and the 3-on-3 tournament, has helped. Better on D, made some nice decisions on who to feed, and hustled for/grabbed a lot of loose balls.

    OK, enough for one practice.

  2. #2
    Its Mr Lobo Lair to you Lobodawg92's Avatar
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    thank you 2X, your killing it!
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