John Shulman didn't have a practice scheduled for Tuesday.
Then he set one for the afternoon following his University of Tennessee at Chattanooga basketball team's 88-36 win over Warren Wilson on Monday night. But he canceled it Tuesday morning to give the players a day off.
"I'd practice 17 hours a day if I could," Shulman said. "But [PGA Tour golfer] Ken Duke taught me a lesson: You can't learn and can't get better if you're fatigued mentally or physically."
The Mocs (1-3) have taken two days off since their scrimmage at Virginia Tech on Nov. 5, and one day came after returning from Butler at 5:30 in the morning.
"I think it's healthy to get away," senior point guard Keegan Bell said. "Coaches don't like to admit it, but they can get over-psycho and think about things too much. A day to relax the mind and body is good, so you get better the next day because you're not stressed and worn out."
Shulman recently chatted with UTC women's golf coach Colette Murray. As coaches are known to do, they talked about coaching.
The Mocs are shooting 29.9 percent from the 3-point line and 37.7 percent from the field through four games -- two against comparable competition, one at Indiana and one against a school below the NAIA level.
"She said, 'Y'all never work on shooting,' and I was kind of mad at her because we have all this other stuff to work on," Shulman said.
"She said, 'When my girls can't make a putt, we work on putting. And when I go down and watch y'all in practice, you don't make one of those baskets.' She said, 'The ball never goes in the hoop.'
"So we're going to work on shooting."
Turning up pressure
The Mocs set a school record with 21 steals against the Owls on Monday.
They did so by pressuring Warren Wilson with a 1-2-2 trap and a few different half-court traps.
"We're not going to live in that. That's not who we are," Shulman said. "We do that to get the tempo going and get easy baskets. But we have to be a man-to-man defensive team."
It worked for a night and may be something the Mocs toss in during some conference games.
"It gives us a chance to do different things and not stay in one defense," Bell said. "If we can make the game ugly for them, then it benefits us."
Absence hurts defense
Freshman wing Lance Stokes sprained his right ankle late Sunday and did not play against Warren Wilson.
He is expected to miss at least the next two games. Shulman said Stokes' biggest contributions have come on the defensive end of the floor and UTC will miss him against Savannah State on Friday and Gardner-Webb on Sunday.
"I hate it for Lance," Shulman said. "It hurts us defensively and we're smaller out there. But that's why we have great depth. I thought Martynas [Bareika] brought good energy."
Early shines late
Shulman praised senior forward Chris Early, who started the first three games but was the last post player off the bench Monday.
"It's no secret we need Chris Early," Shulman said. "I thought in the last six, seven minutes of the game, I thought he stepped up."
David Uchiyama is a sports writer at the Chattanooga Times Free Press who began his tenure here in May 2001. His primary beats are UTC athletics — specifically men’s basketball and athletic department administration — and golf, which includes coverage from the PGA Tour to youth events. He also covers other high school sports, outdoor adventures, and contributes to other sections of the newspaper when necessary. David grew up in Salinas, Calif., and began working ...