The team opens another practice session with stretching exercises in the LSU Practice Facility.
Steve Franz

Tigers Continue Hoops Workouts; Wade Updates Media

Kent Lowe (@LSUkent)
Kent Lowe (@LSUkent)
Communications Sr. Associate

BATON ROUGE – After practice sessions on Friday, Sunday and Monday to start pre-season workouts, LSU men’s basketball coach Will Wade met with the media on Tuesday to update the status of the team to date.

The Tigers open the 2017-18 season on Friday, Nov. 10, at the Pete Maravich Assembly Center against Alcorn State. Ticket information and ticket sales are available at LSUtix.net.

Here are some of the comments from Coach Wade regarding the team from Tuesday’s session:

Opening statement…
“Injury update. Jeremy Combs has started running. We put him on a treadmill the last two days so he is progressing just as he needs to. He is right on schedule, if not a little bit ahead. Galen Alexander is going through boot camp on the side right now so we will have him complete that this week. He completed the first day yesterday during practice and if he can finish that then hopefully we can have him cleared for live play and practice starting on Sunday. He will get through the week here, get his conditioning up, make sure he does what he needs to do and handles his business. Other than that, practice has been good. The one thing that stands out to me has been three freshman that we think will be able to help us. You never know how the freshman will be when they face live (practice) and when you start going up and down. (Tremont) Waters, (Brandon) Rachal, and Mayan Kiir are all going to contribute and help us this year. That is a positive because we are going to need them. I think all three of them will contribute this year which is a real positive for us.”

On what Randy Onwuasor brings to the team…
“He draws a bunch of fouls. He can get to the paint. He is a big, strong, physical player. He’s been even better the last two days of practice so there is no doubt he is going to be able to help us quite a bit this year.” (NOTE: Randy missed the opening practice on Friday because of a family emergency, but was with the team when practiced resumed on Sunday and Monday.)

On reaffirming his beliefs about the freshman class…
“You never know until you coach them. Kiir plays with an extremely high motor. He doesn’t do everything perfect, but he plays very hard and that makes up for a multitude of sins and any mistakes he makes. Rachal understands defensive concepts, defensive positioning. He is a pit bull defensively and we need that. He has a tremendous understanding of rotations and where he needs to be. He is very precise with his movements on defense which is very hard to teach. Waters is tremendous with the ball in his hands. He makes plays. We turned the ball over two or three times because he hits guys in the hands and they are not ready for the ball because he sees it before they see it. They have to get used to playing with him and a lot of the guys are adjusting to that. He made a pass to (Aaron) Epps yesterday that was phenomenal. Epps caught it and had a point blank lay-up and laid the thing in. Our guys are adjusting to that, but he is going to help us a primary ball handler.”

On the primary strengths of the team…
“Our shooting. We shoot the ball really well. I think we shoot the ball one through five sometimes in our lineup and shoot the ball one through four in almost every other lineup. Anytime you shoot you give yourself an opportunity. The other strength is that our guys want to be good. They want to improve. They want to get better. They have been very open to what we have been doing and how we are going about things. I think that has been a real positive. There has not been any resistance to what we are doing. I think that will allow us to grow.”

On the players and their defense last season…
“I just know we need to get our defense better. If you want to be a championship team and a good program, then you need to have foundations to what you are doing. Our foundation is that we are going to defend, rebound and then turn our defense into offense. You have to have a basis for who you are and what you are. That is how I think fundamentally any good program is built. That is how we are going to build this program. We certainly put a lot of time into it. Our guys are getting better.”

On the differences in practice this season…
“Everything has got to be competitive. That which gets measured gets done. So if there is a winner and loser, if points are being kept everything is competitive. It is a competitive world. If you interview for a job, you either get it or you’re unemployed. You have to learn how to compete in anything that you do. I think that is an element to practice. Somebody wins and doesn’t have to run and the other team is on the line running. Our guys are learning to compete and there are consequences when you lose. It’s not patting people on the back and we move on. It’s a 5 alarm fire when you get beat and you have to figure out how you win.”

On the team’s goals for the season…
“Our team goal is to get better every day. We are going to do a little retreat as a team in a couple of weeks. Go away for a night or two and hunker down on that sort of stuff. We don’t even have team captains yet. Everybody has to pull their own weight and do their job and the ones that do their jobs completely and consistently will work their way into those roles. We will hammer home with that later this month.”

On what he’s learned about each of his players off the court…
“They are great kids. I know everyone says that but these kids are really good people. They are really caring people. All of us have issues, but they want to do what is right. They are caring and their hearts are in the right place I can assure you of that. I think my staff has done a great job establishing relationships with them.”

On figuring out each player’s specific attributes..
“Every kid has a code to the locks. You want to figure that code for every kid and everyone is different. So just getting the amount of time to figure out what makes them tick, why they play, why they are here. It’s important for them to know why I coach, why I do what I do and then gain a mutual understanding of what you want out of this, this is what you are looking for, and how can we move forward together to make your dreams come true … You have to pool all the talents to make the best group that you can. I will say this about this team, we have some hidden talents. We have good character and some hidden talents that will give us a fighting chance.”

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