The school year began Monday and the calm summer months are now in the rearview mirror. My first day consisted of a 6 a.m. wake up call and a 40-second drive through rush hour Maryville Traffic (Sure beats the Grandview Triangle).
A 7 a.m. compliance meeting was the first gathering our team had as a whole. Then it was off to the first day of class. Our assistants made sure everyone was ready to go and headed to the right place. It’s very important that all our athletes get to class and get off on the right foot.
Our first team meeting was pushed back due to Coach McCollum’s eye surgery that was a little more intense than we had thought. His recovery was longer than expected and our staff has tried to keep the ship above water until he returns.
We’re excited about the group we have returning as well as the new athletes we have nabbed. This year’s team will have faces from Ohio, Nebraska, Missouri, Utah, Iowa, Kansas, Texas, Poland and Lithuania to name a few.
It’s exciting to see everyone from different backgrounds come together as a group. We feel we have quality people and competitors that we will get to work with this season.
Our preseason will begin with intense strength and conditioning workouts and we hope our athletes are getting in the gym on their own time to better themselves as basketball players. The great players don’t just show up when things are scheduled, they put in extra time to gain a competitive advantage.
We also have team bonding activities planned for our guys to get better acquainted with each other off the floor. This will help develop trust and chemistry that is vital to success at our level.
We have a little over a month before official practices begin. This means we have about 45 days to make bigger jumps than any other team in the MIAA. Our first game is scheduled for Nov. 13.
I expect a great preseason as our team open’s up against the Missouri Tigers, a team that finished one game shy of the Division I Final Four last year. If that doesn’t make you want to work hard then I’m not sure what does.
This week I would like to wish Alison Strong a happy belated birthday. Alison has been a big supporter of our program for many years and we appreciate all her support!