published Saturday, September 28th, 2013

Will Wade mixing Chattanooga Mocs in practice

  • photo
    University of Tennessee at Chattanooga men’s basketball coach Will Wade.
    Photo by Angela Lewis /Chattanooga Times Free Press.

Will Wade insisted that University of Tennessee at Chattanooga basketball practice jerseys would be blue on one side and gold on the other.

The Mocs' new coach stuck to the official school colors.

But one color is not set as the first team and the other as the second team. The Mocs held their first official 2013-14 practice Friday in the Chattem practice facility, and it's much too early for a depth chart. The coaching staff will mix the teams on a day-to-day, or even drill-by-drill, basis.

"I try to look at different combinations of guys, a couple of post players together or a couple of guards together," Wade said over the phone. "Sometimes you stack one team and put an individual with some not-as-good guys and see how he responds. You're always mixing and matching."

And Wade -- well, his assistants and managers -- are always grading during practice.

Players are graded each day in five categories: effort, first three steps, layups, offensive rebounding percentage, missed block-outs and free throws.

Players who get negative results in the effort category -- which includes the subjective as well as turnovers, paint touches or direct drives -- are expected to run sprints after practice. Wade said two ran Friday.

"When you get good, you want everybody in the positive," Wade said. "The effort chart measures everything. Typically your top five on the effort chart will be the best five players on the court."

The Mocs spent about two hours practicing Friday. It began, Wade said, with a four-minute scrimmage. He's big on playing in four-minute stretches, the playing time between media timeouts during a game.

"I tell our guys that we have to work like we're in overtime in Asheville [in the Southern Conference tournament]," Wade said. "We have to have a sense of urgency, and we try to bring that to the court every day."

The Mocs had two other four-minute scrimmages Friday, including one to end practice. In between, Wade said, they blended in lessons from individual workouts to form team concepts.

"We put some things together, like multiple segments of individual work," Wade said. "We put some stuff together. I thought our half-court execution was better than it's been.

"It's starting to slow down for us."

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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