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Today's practice had just as much intensity, physicality, and high energy style of play that BroncoBlitz.com saw at yesterdays practice. There seems to be a heavy emphasis on communication and positive reinforcement this week as players continue to clap and high five whenever there's a nice play on offense or defense. All of which makes sense if you consider the amount of freshman (7) on the roster. The attitude and energy is completely different and the culture seems to have already been established among the WMU seniors and this young group of kids.



Player Notes of Interest....

Hayden Hoerdemann
For the second straight day, Hoerdemann shot the ball very well. Hoerdemann told BroncoBlitz.com that he had gained 15 pounds during the off-season. It seems to have helped him offensively moving around screens, and defensively bumping bodies around. Hoerdemann's also been working with Coach Kool on his release, and getting his shot off more quickly. It's obviously very early on, but he appears set to compete for a starting spot at the 2.

Charles Harris
As noted yesterday, Harris continues to spend most of his day on a bike, stretching, and lightly shooting some hoops off to the side during a majority of the practice. Harris will not play in Europe as the Broncos will continue to play it safe with him. The good news is that Harris seems on track to be ready for the regular season if nothing else.

David Brown
Also noted yesterday, Brown is still on crutches and moving around very slowly. He sat nearby and watched most of the practice. Brown will realistically not return to action during the 2012-2013 season, if at all. This is pure speculation here on my part, but it seems that there are some even deeper concerns there that his career as a basketball player could be in jeopardy. In which case, don't be surprised if the Broncos over-sign for the 2013 class. 

Austin Richie
Richie started off the practice a little inconsistent at point guard. But as soon as he was reminded by Coach Carter that "you're a shooter" and to "shoot the ball," Richie immediately took note. The very next play out of the huddle, Richie responded by knocking down a long bomb. Not long after, Richie stroked another spot-up 3 off of a screen. It's clear that Richie is pretty comfortable at both the point guard and shooting guard positions. It just remains to be seen where he'll ultimately end up. I could see Richie as almost a hybrid point guard that carries the ball up the court and as soon as he passes the ball to initiate the play, he becomes the second shooting guard on the floor.

Jared Klein

Klein really did a nice job taking control of the offense today, showing good patience and nice vision at times. Klein also had some nice rebounds in traffic to add to it. The coaches seem to be pushing him pretty hard in practice and he responds very well, like most of the other freshman. To top things off, Klein hit a buzzer-beater three from the corner (from Richie) during the teams "White vs. Black" scrimmage to carry the white team to victory.


Shayne Whittington
It's evident that Whittington has been working on his ball handling and boxing out, but both still need significant improvement in order for the Broncos to be successful in the long run. One thing that Whittington does bring to the table is energy, excitement, and intensity. For the second straight day, he ignited the rest of the team emotionally, this time stealing the ball from freshman Darius Paul at the top of the key and taking it the length of the court for a break-away slam dunk. Coach Hawkins also took a brief moment during the scrimmage to practice tip-offs with Whittington, and they were executed to perfection. 

Connor Tava
For the second straight day, Tava was very impressive. Tava converted several challenging layups in traffic and is clearly not afraid to go right at some of the biggest guys on the court off the dribble. He's also a terrific passer as he had two or three highlight reel passes from the top of the key which led to easy baskets underneath. Tava is much like Dan Loney in that he's a bit of an undersized 4, but if necessary he's very capable. 

Brandon Pokley & Dan Loney
The two seniors are relatively quiet on the stat sheet but seem to do all of the little things right. Pokley did hit several open three-pointers and shot the ball well today. Both Pokley and Loney are rebounding the ball well and making hustle plays all around the court. Nothing spectacular, but they get the job done and fit the Steve Hawkins mold. After getting a bit of a scolding from the head coach, Loney responded the very next play by aggressively going after an offensive rebound over both Shayne Whittington & Nate Hutcheson, eventually ending up on the floor with the ball in his hands.

Nate Hutcheson
Hutch really seems to be embracing the leadership role for the Broncos with his voice and with his play. There were several key moments during practice where he took charge vocally and the rest of the team willingly responded. He's driving to the basket well, coming off screens very well, and being extremely disruptive on defense. He continues to be a match-up problem with nearly every other player on the court.


More on WMU basketball to come this weekend. Stay tuned to "The Zoo" on BroncoBlitz.com...

8/10 10:07 PM | IP: Logged
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