published Friday, November 8th, 2013

'Chaos' arrives: Chattanooga Mocs host Covenant

Will Wade had blue and gold signs resting on easels during his introduction as the new University of Tennessee at Chattanooga basketball coach on May 13.

The signs with his slogan for the Mocs' style have grown into billboards across the area, including one on busy Highway 153.

Hype has been growing for almost six months. Season tickets sold for UTC men's games have risen more than 20 percent over last year. Marketing or not ...

"Chaos" has finally arrived.

That's the name Wade has given his preferred style of play.

"It's been a quick six months," said Wade, who at 5:30 p.m. today will make his debut as head coach of an NCAA Division I basketball team after working at Clemson, Harvard and Virginia Commonwealth.

"It's the next step in the process," he said. "I'm excited and looking forward to it."

The Mocs will face Covenant in the first game of a doubleheader with the women's team -- also under a new coach, Jim Foster -- playing Alabama about 30 minutes after the conclusion of the men's game.

This game starts a new era in the decorated history of UTC basketball. The administration parted ways in March with coach John Shulman, whose teams won Southern Conference tournaments and trips to the NCAA tournament in 2005 and 2009, and that opened the door for new blood and new enthusiasm for the program.

"A lot has happened, with things like a new coach, new guys," junior forward Lance Stokes said. "So many guys returning worked their tails off the whole summer, and everybody will see that Friday.

"A lot has changed."

The change begins tonight. It's the first opportunity for the 1,016 season-ticket holders, and anybody else who wants to attend, to see what "Chaos" looks like. The picture of the style is hard to paint. It may seem more like work from Jackson Pollock than something by Vincent van Gogh.

"I want to see an attacking team that's aggressive for 40 minutes, that battles fatigue," Wade said. "I hope that we stick to our game plan."

The Scots, coached by Wade's new friend Kyle Taylor, could throw a wrinkle or two into Wade's plans for an easy victory over a team with less basketball talent. Even though Covenant is a Division III team, Taylor has a plan and a little optimism of knocking off the Mocs.

"We run an up-tempo Princeton, so potentially, if we take care of the ball we can get back-cuts," said Taylor, who watched a few early-preseason UTC practices. "With the way they play defense, and how aggressive they are, our back-cuts could create problems for them, but I'm not sure that's going to be the case."

Contact David Uchiyama at duchiyama@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6484. Follow him at 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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