A couple of basketball items this morning.
-According to Adam Lucas, UNC has started preseason conditioning with some adjustments to make the team tougher. One change was more 200 meter sprints and the other was changing the standard on the 12 minute run. Previously the players had to do 6.5 laps in 12 minutes. Roy Williams changed it to seven laps which is a 6:53 mile pace. Williams is also using some of the conditioning concepts he used when he was an assistant coach in 1982. The reason? UNC's inability to finish games last season as evidenced by this.
Above the white board at the front of the room is a newly hung poster. The headline: "Finish." Below are listed the eight games the Tar Heels lost a second-half lead last year, along with the deficit the opponent overcame, and the painful outcome: a large red capital "L" for each game.
Nothing motivates better than reminding players of past failures something Marcus Paige keyed on.
"It’s a maturity and taking the next step," he says. "It’s understanding that when you step on the court, you’re winning that game and there’s no other option. David Noel and some of the other 2009 guys have talked to us about it. When they walked on the floor, they knew it was their game and we were winning that game. We don’t need to have this mentality of, ‘Gee, I hope we play well.’ We need to walk on the court knowing we’re going to win the game."
If the team can adopt the mentality of walking on the court with the expectation of winning that, more than anything, will be the team's biggest improvement.
-Harrison Barnes and James Michael McAdoo plan to be in Chapel Hill on September 26 with the NBA Championship trophy they won as part of the Golden State Warriors in June. At present recruits Harry Giles and Seventh Woods are planning to visit that weekend. NCAA rules would bar them from having contact with Barnes or McAdoo but I am guessing something like this happens.
"Hey, guys come in here and oh...will you look at that. One of our many former players now playing in the NBA has accidentally left the Larry O'Brien Trophy just sitting here. This has become such a common occurrence I forgot it was even here."
-Marcus Paige has been named preseason All-American by The Sporting News. While the selection makes sense, Justin Jackson might actually be the best player on the roster. It will be interesting to see how all that shakes out.
-Over in Raleigh, Mark Gottfried's helicopter visit to now committed PG Dennis Smith may end up being a minor NCAA violation because the media showed up. Coaches are not permitted to have contact with recruits in the presence of the media. As Doc points out, Gottfried did this sort of thing specifically for the attention so it shouldn't surprise anyone, in this day and age, that the media sniffed it out.
For the record, in the past Larry Fedora has moved around the state on Friday nights to see high school football recruits play. In those instances he doesn't have contact with the recruit though the arrival is often covered by local media, etc.