USU Men's Basketball Begins Practice for 2013-14 Season Friday
Thursday, Sep. 26, 2013
Utah State [University] men’s basketball will hold its first official practice of the 2013-14 season Friday, Sept. 27, at 12:30 p.m. in the Dee Glen Smith Spectrum as head coach Stew Morrill enters his 16th season at USU and 28th overall by welcoming 16 players to the court.
Practices are closed to the public.
The Aggies are entering their first season in the Mountain West Conference with four returning starters as part of eight returning lettermen from last year’s squad that started out 14-1, but lost all three of its returning starters to season-ending injuries by mid-season, as USU finished 21-10 overall and 11-7 in Western Athletic Conference play. Last year was USU’s eighth and final season in the WAC before joining the Mountain West this summer.
“As always, as long as I’ve been doing this, I’m always excited to start practice,” Morrill said. “This year is unique in that we’re starting practice earlier with the new rule change where we get 42 days to get in 30 practices. It feels early, seems like we’re just getting into a groove with back to school and workouts, and bang, here’s practice. I’m excited about it because it gives you more time to teach, you can go a little slower. It’s like it used to be years ago, where you had time to do things and everything wasn’t so rushed.”
During the Division I Board of Directors meeting in May, it was determined that teams can begin practice 42 days before the first game of the regular season. While teams can play exhibition games earlier, they aren’t allowed to play official games until the second Friday of November at the earliest, and the rules change means that teams can begin practice in late September. During that 42-day period, teams will be allowed up to 30 practices. Under the previous rules, teams were allotted a 30-day period for 24 practices.
“The thing that concerns me is that we have a two-semester sport anyway, our season is extremely long anyway, so you worry about burnout by the time you get to February and March,” Morrill said. “We’ve always tried to make sure our guys are still having fun playing basketball when you get to that time of the year, and shorten our workouts a little bit We’re going to take advantage of the 30 days of practice, but we’re also going to make sure we take advantage of the days off. Like I told the players, the good thing is that they’ll get some days off, and some weekends off and two or even three days in a row off.”
In previous seasons, practices did not start until the middle of October, allotting only two weeks of practices before the first exhibition games.
“It’s kind of a work in progress, we’ll see how it goes,” Morrill said. “We’re going to shorten practices a little bit compared to when we’re trying to cram it all in when we’ve started around the 15th of October. We’ve got more time to put in our system. It should help us.”
In 15 years at Utah State, Morrill has taken the Aggie Basketball program to unprecedented heights leading USU to an incredible 366-129 (.739) record, including a 186-62 (.750) mark in the Big West and Western Athletic Conferences. The Aggies are entering their third conference under Morrill in 2013-14, joining the Mountain West.
While at Utah State, he has guided the Aggies to 14 straight 21-win seasons, as USU’s 13 straight postseason appearances (NCAA-8, NIT-4, CIT-1) was snapped last season, but both of which are school records. Prior to Morrill’s current run, USU had never posted more than three-straight 20-win seasons and participated in more than three-straight postseason tournaments.
Read much more in the full article about beginning basketball practice at the Athletics website.
Additional Aggie sports news is available at the Athletics website.