Basketball Eagles Open With Fast-Paced Saturday Workout
HATTIESBURG, Miss. -- The 2003-04 basketball season "officially" opened today with a two and one-half hour early morning workout that left Head Coach James Green "anxious for more of the same."
The Golden Eagles were scheduled for an early afternoon workout Saturday and a lengthy early Sunday morning session to finish off the first weekend of practice. Thereafter, Southern Miss will settle back into the daily early-morning practice routine that has become the norm in recent years.
As Golden Eagle fans are aware, the Eagles have one staff vacancy and another first-year assistant, and that dictated a somewhat different role for Green this fall. "We lost Coach (Kyle) Roane who had been with us the whole time, and while Jeff (Norwood) has stepped up his role some, I really feel more like a high school coach again, and with that comes a lot of satisfaction, from the teaching and seeing players getting better," he said. "It just feels better, being more involved than I have, coaching basketball and not being as involved and concerned with some of the other things."
Green also says the first day this fall was different from any previous year. "The effort was good, the attitude was great and the chemistry, in guys supporting each other, was probably better than any year I can remember and that excites me the most," he said. "Our thought process was further along than it normally is for a first day, probably further along than mine, and that came as a pleasant surprise. It just means that I'll have to adjust my thought process some and not spend as much time as I normally would on some of the things they already know and do, without thinking about it. I really enjoyed that aspect of our first practice, because I could see the players doing things that they learned throughout last season, and doing them without being asked to.
"There always are areas that need attention, and we'll work hard on those areas, as well as working on habits that will help make us successful throughout the season. I think we can do that, and do it quickly, because our guys are good learners."
Experience is very much in evidence for the Eagles as workouts started, with four returning starters and seven of nine letterwinners back. That experience includes the only three-year letterwinner on the squad, Clement Carter, who says he senses a new and different attitude among the players this season, an attitude that can take the team a long way.
"We really have a great group of guys, and if we can maintain and build on the intensity and chemistry that we have now, we can have a really good season," he said. "If we, as a team, can make the necessary sacrifice, we can win a league championship and send our seniors out as winners and leave a legacy for our returning players to continue. We have some skilled and knowledgable players, much more so than when I first came here, and if we can develop the chemistry that the 2001 championship team used so effectively, we can win a lot of games."
Southern Miss opens the season with Nov. 5 and 11 exhibition games and starts the regular season Nov. 21 at home against Alcorn State.
Tickets for the fast-approaching season may be purchased at the Athletic Ticket Office, located in the Ferlise Center, or by calling 1-800-844-TICK or 601-266-5418. A variety of season, mini-pack and individual game packages is available, with price structures for any budget.