published Thursday, June 27th, 2013

UTC coach Will Wade gets first live look at his new team in their first summer workout session

Will Wade talks about the 2013 basketball Mocs from his office inside McKenzie Arena.
Will Wade talks about the 2013 basketball Mocs from his office inside McKenzie Arena.
Photo by Tim Barber.
UTC VS. GEORGIA

UTC and the University of Georgia have agreed to play basketball games in each of the next three season.

The two-for-one series will begin on Dec., 2 when the Mocs visit Stegman Coliseum and receive a $90,000 check pending final signatures by the end of the week.

The Bulldogs will play in McKenzie Arena during the 2014-15 season and the Mocs will return to Athens, Ga., the following season.

“We wanted to upgrade the non-conference schedule and bring as good of programs as we can to McKenzie,” UTC coach Will Wade said. “We targeted some SEC schools, we did a lot of legwork and we were able to get Georgia. We’re appreciative for coach [Mark] Fox to do that.

“I think there will be a lot of interest in the games.”

— David Uchiyama

University of Tennessee at Chattanooga men’s basketball coach Will Wade witnessed his players sweat for the first time on Wednesday.

The first-year coach had seen plenty of video of his players — those he recruited and those he inherited — since taking the job.

But he hadn’t seen them live.

“We were finally able to get on the court and work with our guys, and we started laying the groundwork and fundamentals for what we’re going to do,” Wade said. “I was pleased with how the day went.”

UTC players are allowed to practice in a structured setting for a total of two hours per week with coaching supervision. Per NCAA rules, they can work out on their own as much as they want and Wade is insisting they spend time together or separate working on their shooting.

Wade broke the team into two groups of six — without junior Ronrico White and freshman Greg Pryor who are not in this session of summer school — between guards and bigger players for the first workout under their new coach.

“We spent the first part talking about every detail of how we meet at the circle, who counts to the stretching and how we’re going to function as a group as we go through practice,” Wade said. “We bring it into the circle for a thought of the day and then marching orders. We have a certain way to get our claps going, touch on a couple subjects, then I give an overview of the day and set the tone. Then we get to work.”

Sophomore Casey Jones said almost every single moment seemed to be about competing. Almost every drill had a loser who had to run, and a winner who earned a point toward their summer-long system.

“That made you want to go harder and sit out for those extra reps,” Jones said. “Everything is consequence and benefits.”

Another theme emerged amongst the players and coaching staff in the Chattem Practice Facility.

“We talked about our main goal is to turn Chattanooga back into a winning program,” Jones said. “That was the main focus of everything we talked about, and it’s something everybody said.”

The breakdown of drills were the same for guards and wings as well as post players with every minute having something to do with improving defense. Wade said they worked drills to improve on-ball positioning, closing-out to shooters, guarding the dribble-drive and denying passes to the wings.

“I was really happy with everybody, but I thought Lance [Stokes] did a really good job,” Wade said. “T.J. [Williams] was the surprise in the freshmen. Gee [McGhee] was very good. Lance was the one who surprised the most of day one.”

They’ll do it again today.

Contact David Uchiyama at duchiyama@timesfreepress.com or at 423-757-6484. Follow him on Twitter a twitter.com/UchiyamaCTFP.

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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