Picayune basketball getting ready for new season

Published 7:00 am Wednesday, October 23, 2019

The pace was frenetic for Head Coach Eric Vianney’s basketball players as they went through drill after drill.

The Maroon Tide’s basketball team has gone through a slight transition when it comes to the focus of each practice.

Previously the team focused on improving strength and conditioning.

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Now Vianney has changed the focus to the fundamentals of the game like dribbling, shooting, etc.

The quick pacing of the practices allows Vianney to still condition his players while having them work on the basic principles of basketball.

“It’s quite a transition because we kind of struggle right now. Our practices are kind of high paced, and we don’t look too good right now,” Vianney said.

A major point of emphasis in recent practices has been improving the players’ ball handling skills.

Instead of having a designated player tasked with bringing the ball up the court, Vianney wants each athlete to be capable of dribbling out of an opponent’s high press.

“We have to have guys who are able to handle the ball, read, make plays and all that comes from having good ball handling skills,” Vianney said.

Vianney said the team’s first game is still a couple of days away, and that gives his players time to improve.

The team is also looking for a leader after Marvun Arnold graduated last year.

It’s an every day process to become a leader, and Vianney said that when the going gets tough someone will need to step up and fill the leadership role. “We have to preach that every day and when everybody is struggling we’ll see who that guy is. Right now we’re trying to find ourselves and define our identity for this year,” Vianney said.

Considering the proximity of the start of the season, Vianney has worked to keep his players focused.

They can’t look ahead to the first game of the season, and instead need to hone in on improving each day.

“As coaches you have to make them understand it’s one day at a time, and one practice at a time. Focus and try to get better this practice,” Vianney said.

Vianney’s team is relatively inexperienced, a trait he said can lead to a squad being inconsistent. However, when it’s time to take the court none of Picayune’s opponents will care about the lack of experience, and Vianney said his players need to understand that heading into the season.

“It is what it is. We have to make sure we work hard, focus and are enthusiastic about what we do,” Vianney said. The team’s youth can also affect its chemistry as new players are introduced to the team and starting line up.

However, Vianney said multiple players from previous years are still with the team, and their familiarity with the systems and each other will hopefully benefit the team’s performance.

“The core of the team is still there and these guys like each other. Hopefully that can carry onto the floor and the games,” Vianney said.

The team’s first game will be at a jamboree in Kiln on Oct. 26. Vianney wants his players to continue grinding, and keep improving on the floor before their first game.

“I think they mostly understand why we do certain things, if you want to be successful you have to do certain things. They accept that, but we have to develop that consistency,” Vianney said.