published Tuesday, October 30th, 2012

High school basketball practice begins

Unhappy with the way practice had started, Hixson boys' basketball coach Alec Disbrow blew his whistle and ordered his team on the line.

"This ain't preseason no more!" he bellowed as the Wildcats started running sprints.

And with that, the 2012-13 basketball season started Monday in the area, both in Tennessee and Georgia.

On the first day, there are no losing streaks. Offensive game plans to attack a zone defense or a press haven't been made yet, and scheming to stop an opposing team's star player has no place at this point.

Coaches spend a lot more time previewing drills they want to go through in future practices. Day one is all about getting better, and seeing how much better players are -- or at least, how much better conditioned they are.

"It's an instructional period," Disbrow said. "We're going to stress defense, defense, defense. Close out and box-outs. We're going to talk defense, but we're mainly going to work on defensive fundamentals for three-fourths of the practice.

"We're going to spend plenty of time on it, because I can't yell at players about something if I haven't broken down to them how I want it done."

Dade County's Glen Hicks said there's still plenty of excitement surrounding the first day for both players and coaches. He still has that feeling going into his 37th year of coaching.

"Everybody we play knows what we're going to do. I tell the players that we just have to be better at it," he said. "On the first day kids are bouncing around, and there's so much effort at practice. As a coach, you start looking forward to the first day as soon as the last game ends.

"Few are fortunate enough to win the last game, so it's all about doing what you have to do to reach your potential as a team each and every year, and it starts from day one."

The practices will lead up to the scrimmages leading up to TSSAA Hall of Fame games starting in two weeks.

With so many players currently participating in football, Baylor will not be among those battling against another team on the court, as they won't participate in a game until Dec. 1. In addition to the Red Raiders football players, Middle Tennessee State commitment Reggie Upshaw is in a walking boot after an injury suffered during football season and won't be back until December.

"We don't have our full complement of players, so we got a lot of conditioning in," Baylor coach Austin Clark said. "Practice is still a lot of fun, though. It's like Christmas Day.

"There have been no [official] missed shots and no turnovers, so it's a lot of fun."

Contact Gene Henley at ghenley@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6311. Follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/genehenleytfp.

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