Friday, October 31, 2008

'Best tenth place ever"

The JSU basketball team has been practicing for a couple weeks now and during that time new coach James Green has discovered something about his players.

“I like our guys, I like this group of guys,” he said. “I think they’re good guys.”

When’s the last time you heard a coach say publicly he didn’t like his team, outside of some transparent mind game meant to motivate it?

Green said he didn’t like his first Southern Miss team particularly much, but he doesn’t have that feeling with his first JSU group.

“That’s what I found at this point that I didn’t at the other places,” Green said. “There were guys who didn’t belong. I can’t say that we have a guy who doesn’t belong in this program, either from the university standpoint or my coaching standpoint, that I can say that guy’s not gonna make it with me. I can’t say that.

“Where I can see in those other places when you walk in the locker room the guy lies to you about whether he was in class; I can tell you real quick that guy’s not gonna make it with me. Or he’s got this issue, that issue. I haven‘t had that. They have as quickly tried to buy in at this point as any group I’ve ever been around.”

Of course, he has the advantage of being the one to show potential trouble the door and there have been times at practice this year when he’s had to remind a player or two “what we’re going to be about,” but he reports no major attitude issues.

“I think they’ve learned about the habits we want to have and that’s helped us with the overall approach,” Green said. “Even having those guys in summer school has given them an understanding of what we’re about, and that’s half the battle. Nobody has fought against what we’re about.”

The OVC coaches and publicists picked the Gamecocks last in their preseason poll, but there’s a sentiment they will be better than that.

Green is wise enough not to promise a particular number of wins and said it will probably take through the first tour of the league to determine what it’ll take for the Gamecocks to succeed in the league, but he does promise one thing:

“If we are tenth, we’re going to be the best tenth place (team) that’s ever come out of this league,“ he said. “I will say that, because we’re going to be scratching and clawing.“

The Gamecock Nation will get to see just how far Green and his team has progressed Wednesday night at Pete Mathews Coliseum in their first exhibition against West Georgia.

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