The grind continues for Picayune basketball

Published 7:00 am Friday, August 23, 2019

The athletes set up in one long row before beginning practice with a light set of down and backs on the basketball court.

Picayune Memorial High School’s Head Basketball Coach Eric Vianney looked on as his athletes went through the motions before transitioning into agility exercises to warm up.

Once that was complete, the true conditioning part of practice began with the athletes tasked with jumping over small hurdles spread out across the gym. The motion was constant, and the athletes began laboring as the drill continued.

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After that, the unit transitioned to a box jumping drill to end the conditioning aspect of the workout and head to the weight room.

Vianney said that these practices are more focused on getting the athletes in peak physical shape.

It benefits the players because when the time comes for balls to be brought into the practice routine, they’re prepared.

“Right now we’re trying to get stronger and get the guys ready to play,” Vianney said.

The team lost a lot of leadership with senior Marvun Arnold graduating, and Vianney is still waiting on a player to step up and fill that role.

Vianney said that becoming a leader isn’t something that happens overnight for these athletes.

“It’s something that needs to be developed and grown. When you’re in a tough situation that’s when it reveals itself,” Vianney said.

The roster is rather young, even with three athletes who returned after seeing significant time on the court last season. The inexperience of the squad has shown itself in a variety of ways, and Vianney said that’s what these practices are focused on fixing.

“Right now we’re just trying to get better,” Vianney said. “Some days I feel like we take a step forward and other days not so much. We just lack consistency, so we’re still trying to figure it out.”

Vianney pushes his athletes to better themselves, not only as players, but also as people.

He wants them to use the sport of basketball as a way to pursue opportunities after high school, and to do that he tries to instill a good work ethic in his players.

“I want them to go to college and accomplish things and have that dream,” Vianney said. “But they have to want it and have to understand it doesn’t come easy, there’s a price to pay.”

That price is working hard both on and off the court, and Vianney said he’s has some newcomers who have started off strong.

“We have some young guys who have been very impressive, but there’s still a long way to go,” Vianney said.

Vianney wants the young players to step up and fill that leadership role as well.Anybody willing to work hard enough to earn that position is good enough for Vianney.

“They don’t have to wait, they can step up and be a leader today,” Vianney said.

“Every day I ask them, who is going to be next? If they just buy into what we’re selling, and want something better for themselves that’ll be good.”

The athletes can use basketball as a way to learn more about themselves as people, and Vianney hopes the lessons he teaches help the players beyond the court.

“I want them to learn from this for their lives and to take it to the next level,” Vianney said.“Hopefully we have guys who have those kinds of dreams.”