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Blue Raiders hit court for preseason practice Saturday

October 14, 2005 · MT Media Relations
MURFREESBORO, Tenn. - Middle Tennessee will hit the hardwood Saturday at 9 a.m., for the first official practice of the 2005-06 preseason but it's not as though the Blue Raiders are stepping on the court to workout together for the first time this fall.

Fourth-year Blue Raider Head Coach Kermit Davis says the anxiety isn't as great leading up to the start of preseason workouts due to new NCAA rules permitting teams to have various practice sessions prior to the October 15 beginning date, as well as the fact Middle Tennessee participated in a Canadian Tour during the Labor Day Weekend. The tour enabled the team to have eight additional practices and play four games.

Still, there's nothing like the official start of preseason as it signals the start of college basketball is just around the corner.

"It's great. Basketball magazines are out and it just of lets you know basketball is close," Davis said. "I wish we could have done a Midnight Madness but we just couldn't because of where Fall Break has landed the past couple of years. The start of preseason practice is a sense that college basketball is about to begin and you can be with your team day-to-day. This is the fun time to see how much progress you can make in the next few weeks."

Although the Blue Raiders have 10 newcomers, seven of whom are freshmen, Davis expects this Middle Tennessee squad to be ahead of his previous three when it hits the court Saturday morning because of the additional work afforded it in recent weeks.

"With the trip to Canada we already played four games and we had eight practices leading up to that," Davis said. "We have had our whole team on the floor on several occasions, which has helped us. I think we have been able to get a head start."

Middle Tennessee welcomes five returning players, including seniors Fats Cuyler and Marcus Morrsion, juniors Kyle Young and Wes Durrant and redshirt freshman Brian Lake, who Davis says has had a great fall. This corps is expected to provide the leadership necessary to direct a young squad through what figures to be some tough, demanding practices in upcoming weeks.

"I think we are ahead of where we were at this point last year because of the extra time we have had together," Morrison said. "Still, these new guys are about to see it go to an entirely different level with the start of preseason practice. We have to make every day count and make progress because we have a lot of new players we will be counting on this season."

Middle Tennessee will hold "Fan Jam" on Nov. 3, beginning at 6:30 p.m., at The Murphy Center. The Blue Raiders face Union University in exhibition action, Nov. 15.

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