Photo by Chandler Shrode / Staff Photographer
Middle Tennessee men’s basketball held their first practice of the 2016-2017 season Tuesday inside Murphy Center. Head Coach Kermit Davis is entering his 15th year with the Blue Raiders and is looking to take another team deep into March.
The first practice included individual drills, competitive defense and rebounding drills, live 5-on-5 scrimmages and plenty of suicides.
“Yeah it was [a good first practice],” Davis said. “We broke down a little fatigue at the end. I thought until about the last seven or eight minutes our team responded in a good way. I think a lot of teams in college basketball right now have some bumps and bruises. It’s really the first time that were starting to hit each other full-time.”
Davis said that this October will be a time for positions to be filled.
“I think that point guards go from Quavius Copeland, Tyrik [Dixon]. Giddy [Potts] and Ed [Simpson] can both play some point. So we’ll see how it goes based on matchups.”
“I think Karl Gamble may have been our biggest surprise of September, right now maybe our most improved player.”
Over the summer, Gamble has put on 10-15 more pounds, coming into his sophomore campaign at 230 pounds. Davis said he expects Gamble to make the needed jump in his game and average 10 points per game this season.
Even after all the ‘madness’ that occurred in March, Davis said his team is more focused on this season and ultimately making it back to that point.
“My biggest battle cry is that you just can’t fast forward and eliminate the grind in the process. I think some of our older guys would like to just fast forward to March; you can’t start there,” Davis said. “You got to go through that process again. You have to go through the grind and thats just something that we got to start doing.”
Senior leader Reggie Upshaw spoke about the last campaign as a whole.
“We remember the whole year last year. it wasn’t the prettiest year. We had a lot of rough spots last year but as far as trying to focus on whats in the now, were just trying to approach each day to get better. Were trying to improve to get to March again.”
The Blue Raiders will open up with a Nov. 3 exhibition against South Alabama and officially open the 2016 regular season against Milligan College on Nov. 11. Both events will be held inside the historic Murphy Center.