By Bobby Steinburg
The first few practices of the 2014-15 season are in the books for the Flashes and as a staff we have been pleased with the team’s competitive effort and willingness to learn.
While we now have access to our team during the summer, those workouts are limited to 2 hours per week and are primarily individual skill development. October is the time where much of the focus is with defensive philosophies and putting in our offense. That being said, mistakes are expected and it can look chaotic at times.
For the most part, our guys seem to be picking up the concepts quickly. One thing I really enjoy about this particular team is that through the learning process, even when they make mistakes, they mess up going 110%. As coaches, that’s all we can ask of them.
This year’s team has a nice blend of veterans and newcomers. Returning seniors, Kris Brewer, Derek Jackson, and Dev Manley are taking ownership and have been more vocal with their teammates than in the past.
Khaliq Spicer has made some huge strides and has put on 12-to-15 pounds since last season. He is stronger, more confident, and playing more physically.
Kellon Thomas was out with an injury for the last eight weeks, but you wouldn’t know it judging by the first few days of practice. He looks like he hasn’t missed a beat! I love the fact that after spending the first 2 years here with his mouth shut, Kellon has become a vocal leader.
Two newcomers who were not here this summer, Marvin Jones and Craig Brown, made their presence known right away. Marvin is a lean 6-foot-10 and an explosive athlete who has shown the ability to knock down shots on the perimeter over the first few practices. Craig Brown, a 6-5 wing transfer from Rutgers, comes to us with a lot of experience. It looks as though he is going to really help us by providing that strong rugged wing who can get to the basket and finish through contact – a quality we were missing last season but have had in years past with guys like Chris Evans and Chris Singletary.
All 15 guys have been competing hard and trying to improve, but those guys above are a few of the names that come to mind after the first weekend.
It’s early but these guys seem to like each other … on and off the floor. They respect one another and are pushing each other to get better.
This year's team has a different look and a different feel about it. In addition to the obvious upgrades in depth, size, and athleticism, there is a sense of pride and positivity with this group that has been the cornerstone to the great Kent State teams of the past. We have a lot of work to do before we open up at Youngstown State, but we seem to be headed in the right direction.