By necessity, wing man Ronrico White played most of the time at point guard for the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga men's basketball team last season, spelled by eventually dismissed Farad Cobb and walk-on Alex Bran. But White will be out at least until December with a hip injury.
Under first-year coach Will Wade, the Mocs have begun preseason practice with Bran, now a sophomore, and two other guards who have zero Division I experience playing point guard. One is 6-foot-4 sophomore Eric Robertson, who averaged 3.3 points per game last year while playing a wing position; the other is 6-2 freshman Greg Pryor of Memphis.
"Each of them bring something unique," Wade said. "Pryor is the most natural point of the group. Eric brings great length to the position. Alex has great command of the team, and as a high school [football] quarterback, he knows how to run a huddle and run a team."
Wade said his trio of point guards have one common trait: They can all shoot.
"They're probably three of the best five shooters on the team," he said. "It's nice to have good shooting at that position."
Robertson switched positions during the summer, before Pryor arrived, and has relished the role. Its a little different, he said, but something that he enjoys.
After working with assistant coach Turner Battle on various ball-handling techniques including crossovers and step-backs and dozens of drills with chairs and cones, Robertson said he could start a game at point guard today. He'll have to wait until Nov. 8, when the Mocs face Covenant in McKenzie Arena.
"I have to be more of a leader, I have to talk more, but more people look up to me than last year," Robertson said. "It's a lot different. I'm always having to go get the ball, and I have to run the team instead of just being out there.
"Alex and Greg are doing really good."
Playing Robertson at the point has advantages in Wade's pressing defensive system. He's taller and longer than most point guards in the Southern Conference, which helps in guiding opponents to traps, defending passes and creating five-second counts. On the offensive end, his size makes a difference as well with an ability to shoot over most defenders he'll face.
His size up top runs counter to UTC's smaller size on the inside, but that's OK with Wade -- for now.
"We are who we are," the coach said. "We're going to be bigger and longer on the perimeter [than most opponents] and smaller and quicker inside."
Contact David Uchiyama at firstname.lastname@example.org or 423-757-6484. Follow him at twitter.com/UchiyamaCTFP.