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Hoopsters sound in first preseason practice

Davis pleased with initial workout

October 13, 2007 · MT Media Relations
MURFREESBORO, Tenn. - Middle Tennessee did not get a head start on the preseason for the 2007-08 campaign by conducting a Midnight Madness or something similar but it appeared the Blue Raiders were already ahead of schedule when they hit the court for their first preseason work out Saturday morning.

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  • The Blue Raiders started practice at 9 a.m. Saturday and went through a 2-1/2 hour workout that featured numerous individual and team drills, as well as extending to 5-on-5 and 4-on-4 scrimmages by its end. Middle Tennessee's players will return to the court for a walk-thru Saturday evening.

    "The effort was really, really good this morning and the players were flying around," sixth-year Middle Tennessee coach Kermit Davis said. "I think we were able to move from one thing to the next quicker because of the experience of our team. Even the young guys can learn quicker because they can see how the older guys do it."

    The newcomers evidently are quick learners based on Saturday's practice and they exhibited the quality depth Davis believes will be apparent as Demetrius Green, Broderick Gilchrest and Uriah Hethington teamed with Dino Hair and Darren Avery in one 5-on-5 scrimmage that caught the veteran coach's attention.

    "It was pretty interesting today," Davis said. "We put a team of Kevin (Kanaskie), Nigel (Johnson), Calvin (O'Neil), (Desmond) Yates, and Theryn (Hudson) together against that group and it was a real competitive game. We had some young guys compete real well today."

    Hudson, a 6-foot-10 junior center from nearby La Vergne, is one of six Blue Raiders entering their third year in the program and he said the experience made a definite difference in the initial practice of the 07-08 season.

    "We are further along because we have a lot of players who have played together a long time," Hudson said. "You can see it in parts of practice. We kind of know what the other guys are going to do and where they are going to be on the court."

    While the returning players were steady as expected the play of newcomers Green and Gilchrest drew particular praise from Davis.

    Gilchrest, a 6-foot, 175-pound freshman from Memphis, displayed tremendous quickness and on-ball defense, while Green was solid in all phases in his first official practice as a Blue Raider after transferring from Daytona Beach Community College and sitting out last season.

    "I thought Demetrius Green had a nice day for a young guy," Davis said. "He does a lot of good things and he just has to continue working hard and making consistent improvement and he is going to be fine. I thought Broderick Gilchrest, for a freshman, really guarded the ball as good as any we have had. That was good. His effort was very good. There were a lot of promising things to come out of this first practice. We just have to keep plugging away and making progress every day."

    Davis liked the defensive tenacity and workmanship involved in Saturday morning's practice but he said the Blue Raider have to take better care of the basketball. They committed 28 turnovers in the first preseason practice.

    The Blue Raiders return four starters and eight letterwinners from last season's team that reached the semifinals of the Sun Belt Conference Tournament before falling to eventual champion North Texas.

    The Blue Raiders face Lincoln Memorial in their only exhibition game of the preseason, Nov. 8, at Murphy Center. Tipoff is 7 p.m.

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