Elon Men’s Basketball Begins Preseason Practice

Posted by Press Release on October 5, 2016 at 6:07 am under College | Comments are off for this article

ELON, N.C. – The Elon University men’s basketball team began preseason with its first practice of the 2016-17 season on Tuesday afternoon inside Alumni Gym.

The Phoenix opened the preseason slate with a very defensive-minded focus to practice, which included team-defense and team-rebounding drills. With the regular season just 38 days away, here are some of head coach Matt Matheny’s thoughts after the first practice:

On the first practice session…
“We’re pleased with the first practice. The new NCAA rules make it so you can practice in the spring, the summer and the fall, so we’ve had some short team workouts. But, it’s different when it’s the first official practice. It’s a lot longer than what we have been doing and there is a lot of excitement in the air. It’s just the beginning. There were a ton of mistakes as there always are early in the year, but a lot of good things too. So, I thought we got a lot accomplished on the first day.”

On having so much experience returning from last season…
“We do have a lot of young players that got valuable experience last year, and despite the fact there is still a lot of youth on our roster, we have some experience. You can tell it in practice because a lot of the drills that we do we don’t have to slow down and teach the drills, and we can focus on what the drills are meant for… and that’s improving our team. A lot of experience shows in practice with the fact the guys know what they’re doing, where they are supposed to be, and there is a lot of talking… which was up and down today in practice and it’s something we need to improve on. But there is some confidence, there’s some experience, and it’s best seen with how our players talk to each other.”

On important things the team needs to improve for 2016-17…
“We’ve got to be a better defensive team. We felt like during the year last season that there were times when we were in close games and we couldn’t count on getting a stop to help us finish the game off. So that is a major point of emphasis this October, which is developing our team defensively, and that’s what we are focusing on. We also want to shoot foul shots better. As a team we were not very good from the foul line last year. We’ve put a lot of effort and work into that in the offseason. We’ve also got to be a team of rebounders. We had a negative rebounding number last season. So we want to outrebound our opponents. If you look at three things that we’re focused on improving it is team-defense, team-rebounding and foul shooting as a team.”

On the importance of the senior leadership this season…
“We put a lot of emphasis on senior leadership and veteran leadership for that matter. You look at our senior class and you think about what all Patrick [Ryan], Ryder [Bowline], Christian [Hairston] and Luke [Eddy] have been through since they’ve been here, and they’ve got a ton of things in their quill so to speak that they can pull out with the experiences that they’ve had. We will rely heavily on them directing our younger players and practice, being powerful voices in the locker room, in the classroom, and on the bus when we travel. We talk a lot about passing the torch. The torch has been passed from the guys that have left to this senior class and I think they’ll show us that they’ll hold that torch up high.”

On the team’s identity this upcoming season…
“I think the focus and identity of this team is togetherness. It’s a great strength of ours. The way our guys get along and the way our guys a ‘like-minded’. So togetherness would be the one word I would use to describe it. Also, great work ethic. Working hard together would be the three words I would put together in one phrase to be this year’s team identity.”

Season tickets for the 2016-17 season are on sale now and are the only way to guarantee your seat in Alumni Gym this season. To purchase season tickets, order online or call the Elon Ticket Office at 336-278-6750.


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