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Thoughts from the Open Practice

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via www.hellocincinnati.com

If you are expecting any ground breaking revelations from Saturday's HHC Open Practice, you are going to be sorely disappointed with the following write-up.  Imagine a team that has been practicing for a week.  Imagine the drills, skills and fundamentals coaches run in order to get a team into shape.  And then imagine yourself sitting on hard wood bleachers in a poorly ventilated high school gymnasium.  That was Saturday in a nutshell.

Autographs and Q&A Session

  • Took place in the dining hall because there was such an overwhelming response to the invite that they needed a bigger venue... or so we were told.
  • Process of filing into Leo's, signing in and receiving pins, shirts and other goodies was remarkably efficient - kudos to Athletic Department for making that better than any other Georgetown process I have seen.
  • All attendees received Georgetown Thunder Sticks in their information packets - made me want to puke.  Navy blue inflatable menaces with "29 Sports, One Team" scribed across the demon sticks.  Good idea, I just hate those things.
  • Players and JT3 signed autographs for young Hoya fans and awkwardly eager parents claiming it was for their kids.  Others sat around tables munching on bagels, muffins and fruit.  Conversations were about the off-season news including: Jeremiah Rivers' whiny comments, DaJuan Summers' NBA status, latest episode of Gossip Girl, etc.
  • Coach Thompson did not have much to say in opening remarks - mainly he was thankful for the support, excited for the season, blah, blah, blah.  Then led to Q&A.
  • Commented that the Big East will not be as top heavy as it was last year, and that the most experienced teams are actually the ones near the bottom last year.  He expects more parity in the league.
  • He did not know where Georgetown was picked to finish in the preseason polls and said he did not care because nothing anyone says now matters anyway.
  • He is nervous about OCC schedule, expects Temple to be a very tough game and scared Verizon Center will be empty for the Tuesday home opener at 4pm.  Does not want to give a national television audience the impression that Georgetown does not have supportive fans.
  • Most impressed with the improvement of Jason Clark but says that can change since it is so early in the season.  
  • Vee is a very cerebral player while Jerrelle has been injured for most of the offseason.
  • Thinks Hollis can contribute immediately since he was here for half the season last year.
  • Visibly tired of people questioning the offense.  He understands that people like to watch up-tempo teams but he wants to win, doesn't care how it looks.  Said they played at a faster speed last year than in previous years.
  • He was amazed at the stupidity of someone asking if they work on boxing out and free throw drills in practice.  Shot down question immediately.
  • When asked about facilities - he revealed that the reason the Autographs and Q&A session was moved to the dining hall is because they could not reserve the gym at 10am.  Said McDonough is cramped but they make it work.  
Open Practice
  • Team started with a shoot-around.  
  • Ran full court weaves and passing drills.
  • Practiced dribbling the length of the court, Hollis Thompson was the most impressive here.
  • Did a back-door pass drill, worked on kicking out to open shooter at 3 point line.
  • Every player practiced taking threes from the top of the key and corners.  Looked like the team had five minutes to hit a certain amount of threes otherwise they would run laps.  But they were able to take foul shots in order to get out of running.  Something like that, interesting drill.
  • Yes, they did practice boxing out.  Nice to see, players were getting physical.  Practiced backing out opponents away from the ball and going up strong on offensive rebounds.
  • Ran 4 on 4 and 5 on 4 half court sets - team did not look especially sharp here but it has only been a week.
  • I am not even going to attempt to do player evaluations since they were running drills and not playing in games.  The team looked motivated but uncomfortable having a group of people watching their every move.  Every player hit a shot, every player missed a shot.  Every player did something good, every player did something bad.  Anyone attempting to evaluate beyond that is full of crap.
  • And then there was pizza outside.  And beer.  And then it rained.  
There you have it, a quick recap of the open practice.  As people were filing out JT3 commented that he could now run the actual practice, since he never likes to embarrass players in front of a crowd.  You could tell he was holding back from critiquing the players during the drills.  Good to see a healthy turnout at the open practice, don't ask me how many people because I am horrible at estimating crowd sizes.  If I had to guess, I'd say it was somewhere between 300 and 1,200.

Good talk.