A five-day trip to the Bahamas produced three wins for the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga men's basketball team.
The Mocs defeated the Grand Bahamas All-Stars, the CT Knights and the Bahamas All-Stars from Sunday through Tuesday on what was considered somewhat of a "business trip" to Nassau.
Yet basketball wasn't all the Mocs did. With none of their games starting before 7 p.m., they played some beach volleyball and had some intense pingpong battles. Some of the guys went out on the water in kayaks. Some went snorkeling, with as many as "five or six" catching starfish that they brought back home.
Most importantly, a team that is infusing six newcomers and eight players who hadn't played a game in coach Will Wade's system got a feel for a game-type atmosphere.
"I thought the teams we played were pretty good," Wade said Thursday. "We had some trouble with some of the guards we faced, but we got better each day. I thought the last game was the best of the trip, which is what you want to do. You want to improve as the guys get more used to each other and gain a better feel for each other on the court."
Wade singled out 6-foot-7 sophomore Chuck Ester, who has surprised many within the program since arriving from East Mississippi Junior College.
"He played really, really good," Wade said. "He played really well in the first two games -- not as good as the third, but he's far surpassed expectations. He was pretty consistent in practice and in workouts, and he did a nice job capping off a nice summer."
Returners Ronrico White and Casey Jones were held out of competition. Wade had said earlier this summer that the trip was going to be used more to evaluate the new talent.
The players went their separate ways since arriving back in Chattanooga late Wednesday evening. Some went home in their final weekend before classes start Monday.
"We'll come back and work on some mental things, watch some film and correct some stuff," Wade said. "We'll get going with some shooting the following week."
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