published Saturday, October 27th, 2012

Developing points key for Chattanooga Mocs

  • photo
    UTC basketball player Farad Cobb participates in practice at McKenzie Arena.
    Photo by Angela Lewis /Chattanooga Times Free Press.

It seemed like a very good plan to John Shulman.

The University of Tennessee at Chattanooga men's basketball coach would have a senior, Dontay Hampton, running the point and freshman Farad Cobb spending the 2012-13 season learning the position.

The plan changed in July with one awkward step that tore Hampton's right ACL, knocking him out of playing for at least the first six weeks of the season and thrusting Cobb into the limelight with zero college experience.

The point guard plan has changed even more since July. Sophomore shooting guard Ronrico White spends about 75 percent of his practice time at the point, and Shulman added freshman Alex Bran as a walk-on.

"We've got three healthy point guards right now," the coach said, referring to White as "a combo guy" and Cobb as "an extremely skilled pure point but he doesn't know everything."

It's a much different choice than having a former Southeastern Conference point guard quarterback the team, as was the case the past three years with Keegan Bell.

"When you're at the point, you have to be more of a facilitator and make sure everybody is having a good game and getting touches," said White, whose older brother played point guard at the College of Charleston. "Everybody is helping me out and wants me to use my size when I'm in there."

When it became clear that Hampton would miss significant playing time, Shulman turned to Cobb and asked if he was ready to be the all-important point guard. Cobb remembers the conversation and said he would be ready to run the team.

"It's what I expected to do from the day I signed," Cobb said. "I think I've been doing all right, and I definitely have room to improve."

Shulman has taught the Mocs most of the base offensive and defensive plays in his system. They'll get to test their knowledge during a closed scrimmage today against Belmont.

"We can hold down the fort because Rico is as solid as the day is Long," Shulman said. "Farad is going to get it, but it just takes time. He can make the ball go in the basket; he handles it well, shoots it well. But it's hard to lead us when you're just learning it yourself."

It's an unpredictable position even without knowing Hampton's status for the second half of the season.

"What if Rico gets into a comfort zone at the point, or Farad figures it all out?" Shulman said. "That's a pretty important position, but we are good enough there."

about David Uchiyama...

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 ...

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