Will Wade Takes Part In SEC Hoops Teleconference

by Kent Lowe (@LSUkent)
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Will Wade Takes Part In SEC Hoops Teleconference

BATON ROUGE – LSU men’s basketball coach Will Wade joined the other Southeastern Conference basketball coaches in the annual summer teleconference conducted on Monday by the league. Here are some of Coach Wade’s comments to the media on the call:

Opening comments
“We’re just about halfway through our summer workouts. We’ve spent a vast majority of our time trying to shore up our defensive issues and work on individual and team defense. I like where our players are heading thus far, but we certainly have quite a bit of work ahead of us.”

On the biggest challenge during the offseason since he came to Baton Rouge…
“I think just changing the mindset, changing the way we think and changing the standards with which we do things whether it’s on the defensive end of the court, how we sprint, how we touch lines or go to class. Whatever it may be, I think just overall changing the standards of the program has been the biggest thing that we’ve needed to do. To our guys’ credit, they’ve responded very well thus far, and I think we’ve made some progress in those areas.”

On how the overall reception has been so far…
“It’s been positive. We haven’t lost any games yet. It’s been fairly positive. Our guys here want to win, and they want to win badly. They’re open to some new ideas on maybe what it takes to be more competitive.”

On Skylar Mays playing on and off the ball and how Brandon Sampson has developed…
“(They’re) two very good players. At VCU, we played two point guards basically together. One was more of a combo guard and one was more of a scoring point guard. We played both of those guys together and it was very good for us. I think Skylar is somebody who can play on and off the ball and play in that type of system. That’s what we’re intending to do here. I think anytime you have two guys who can wheel and deal off a ball screen and have a little wiggle and can make shots, it gives you a pretty good backcourt. I feel really good about how Skylar has progressed. He’s shooting the ball well, he’s an extremely hard worker, and he picks up on things very quickly. I’m very pleased with Skylar.

“I’m very pleased with Brandon as well. He’s really buying into what we’re doing, and he’s on board with some of the changes that we’ve made. We’ve really challenged him in the weight room to get stronger. We’ve really tried to work on his individual skill level and certainly getting him better defensively so he doesn’t foul as much and he can stay on the court a little bit and maybe let his defense lead to offense some. He’s been playing at a high level. We’ve done our team workouts as has Skylar, so I feel very good about those two guys coming back.”

On VCU’s foreign trip to Spain last season and what he felt the team got out of the trip at the time…
“It was good for our guys comradery wise. I thought that was impressive. One thing that happened is our guys picked up a Monopoly board when we were over there and they ended up staying up in the hotel all night playing Monopoly and spending time together because your phones don’t work, which is great. It’s a little more intimate setting with your team. I think the players like the trip and the coaches enjoy the 10 practices that you get before you go over there. I think the practices were really beneficial. I thought earlier in the year we were way ahead of where we had been in years past. I thought we were probably a week to 10 days ahead. Once you get to Christmas break, I think it all evens out a little bit.

“But at VCU, we had an issue in those early season tournaments. We had gone 1-2 for like eight straight years. We went 2-1 in the tournament in the Bahamas that we were in last year, and I think part of that was because we were a little bit ahead from the foreign trip. I think the practices are good. Usually, the competition over there isn’t very good, so you can’t find out a lot about your team when you’re playing. You can give a few of your guys a chance to get some live bullets and see how they react, and I think it certainly helps the team comradery and the team chemistry as well.”