Saturday, October 26, 2013

Previewing Hoops 'n' Halloween

By Devareaux Manley
Junior, Guard

Tonight is our Hoops ‘n’ Halloween event for the fans to kickoff the year for us and the women’s team. Fans can expect to come out and have a good time with us and have the chance to see us doing something than just running up and down the court. I’m excited to interact with the fans, give them a little show and let them know who we are personally outside of basketball.

We have a surprise planned that I can’t really discuss too much, but it’s something that we’re going to have fun with and I think our fans will really enjoy.

One of the highlights of the night will be a slam dunk contest with a few guys on our team. If I had to pick who is going to win, I would definitely go with Derek Jackson. He’s only about 6-1 and you don’t expect him to have the amount of hops that he has from looking at him. He will surprise you with the way he jumps. I’m just amazed every time that I see him dunk the ball.

Hopefully all of the fans who go to the football game over at Dix Stadium will make their way over to the M.A.C. after watching them beat Buffalo. 

Kellon Thomas' 360 dunk at last year's MACC Madness.

Friday, October 25, 2013

New faces and new roles, but same goals for Golden Flashes

By Darren Goodson
Senior, Forward

We’ve been having really good practices to get ready for the season. Coach Senderoff is trying to get us used to playing hard all the time, just like it’s always been at Kent State. Other schools know that the teams here always play hard.

We’re trying to get back to playing Kent State D and that’s what the emphasis has been in practice. It’s not just worrying about yourself and your man not scoring. Playing team defense—being able to help and recover—is going to be important.

I don’t think offense is going to be a problem this year. It wasn’t a problem last year either, and I feel like we have so many guys that can score on this team. Kris Brewer is one of our captains and will be in charge of running the offense. He’s a really talented point guard, and I feel like people are sleeping on him going into the year.

A lot of the guys we have back are really stepping up their game and will be ready to impact this team positively. I have to start off with Dev Manley. He is a pure shooter. I’ve never played with anybody that can shoot the ball like him. It’s just crazy the way that man can shoot the ball. Another guy is Mark Henniger. Some people on the outside looking in might not believe in Henny, but I believe in him. Henny’s had a great offseason and has gotten stronger. He’s always had the game and its really starting to show. Every day in practice, he kills it going up against the other the bigs.

All of our newcomers have fit in well and are going to make us a better team. Derek Jackson is one of the best defenders that I have ever played with. That man loves to play defense! I think Coach Senderoff puts us on the same team in practice on purpose for defensive drills so that I get into trying to play defense. D. Jack cherishes defense. His defense is his offense. He’ll turn the ball over and then he’ll go get a steal the next possession.

K.K. Simmons is another one of our new guys that is really going to help us out. He practiced with us last year and is ready to contribute on game night. K.K.’s not playing his natural position but he’s getting better everyday at the point. And he’s another one that knocks down 3’s. Kris Brewer and I were talking about it the other day because he barely misses.

We want to show teams that Kent State is back. I honestly think that we are going to win the MAC. I know every player in the conference is saying the same thing, but I just feel like this team is so good and can’t wait to get out on the court and let our play do the talking for us. 

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Observations from Cavs practice

DeAndre Haynes
Assistant Coach

On one of our days off last week, Coach Sendy, Mike McKee and I went up to watch the Cavs practice. Sendy goes every year, but this was my first time going.

Personally, I watched Kyrie Irving and a couple of the new guards they have, just to see how hard they work during practice. I came back and talked to all of the guards about how hard Kyrie was working in practice. It was his leadership on the floor, the way he worked during the drills. He didn’t go through the motions. He sprinted on every cut.

Seeing it personally up close was beneficial because I saw the effort and how hard they were working. I played against Jarrett Jack in high school, and it’s cool just seeing him as a veteran in the NBA and seeing his improvement. I always thought that they’re in the NBA and probably don’t practice hard because they made it, they were going hard in every drill. Our players really have to work had to get to that level, or even to the overseas level.

What I learned overseas, and I learned in my time here too, was how to work hard. You can’t take a play off. You can’t take a drill off. They weren’t just going through the motions. Having played overseas, I know that if you’re not going to work hard, they’re going to bring somebody else in to take your spot. Here, we bring you in for 4 years. Overseas, you have a 1-year deal and if they don’t think you’re working hard, you get fined or you get cut. There’s no taking plays off and understanding that is necessary to understand what it takes to be a champion.

My biggest takeaway was the amount of energy they brought to their practice. They really worked hard and were constantly communicating. One thing that we brought back to our players is that we’re trying to teach them to be vocal. I feel like their coaches didn’t have to say anything to them at all. They were just really loud and in tune to what was going on. When they were doing a defensive drill, you couldn’t even hear anything in the gym because of how vocal they were on the floor.

Mike McKee and I both had our pen and pad so we can take what they do and use it to make our program better. Every drill that they did with the point guards and bigs, I wrote down myself. I like to work with all of our players. I came back that day and worked out Blake with some of the drills that Andrew Bynum was doing. I watched the drills Kyrie Irving was doing and want to work on those things with our point guards.

I was that surprised me was to see that they don’t miss shots. It was amazing. I think Kyrie Irving only missed like 1 shot the entire time we were watching him play. You have to be in the gym and put in the work.

Watching them at that level means a lot to me. I needed to see it for myself because I can do a better job of working with our guys and making sure they know what they have to do to make it. I think that if our guys could have gone up too, they would have taken a lot from it like we did.