Oct. 12, 2012
By Stephen Trembley
FRESNO, Calif. --- Tenacious defense will always be a staple of a Rodney Terry-coached squad and the nine newcomers, who joined the Fresno State men's basketball team's six returners, got a two-hour high-intensity crash course in the head coach's expectations on Friday morning at the Save Mart Center.
"The guys were excited about coming out and getting started," Terry said after the Bulldogs' first fall practice. "The energy was good. Now we have to get down to the details, and we have to focus on getting better every day."
The morning featured a tempo-based approach that installed parts of the offense and defense, including half-court, full-court and pressure principles. But it was the physicality and aggressiveness that Terry stressed as critical to the fabric of molding the team into a cohesive unit ready to compete in the Mountain West.
"We need to set the tone for how we want to play on both ends of the floor," Terry said. "We want to be an up-tempo team getting up and down the floor looking for early offense and then on the defensive end that we got to know that we are going to get up and pressure and that we are going to guard. We want to really shore up our defense early. We got to make guys understand the importance of guarding and playing defense."
To do that, Fresno State will continue practice with two more extended sessions of work over the weekend - including one on Saturday and one on Sunday.
"We are going to have a lot of depth, so we are going to have some guys that are going to be able to come in and out," Terry said. "The biggest thing is getting our guys learning to compete at a high level and play as hard as they can play from play to play. We have so many new guys, though, that we have to spend time on concepts offensively and defensively, of what we want to do. We are going to try to keep it simple and build this thing as the year goes along."
Later in the afternoon, the team took a trip up Highway 41 to Children's Hospital Central California and visited with patients and their families in the latest of a series of community service events that Terry has developed for his program.
"We were thankful for the opportunity to spend time with the kids and their families at Children's Hospital," Terry said. "We know that we are blessed to be doing what we are doing. We enjoy any chance to give back to our community, and if that's putting a smile on a kid's face or helping someone that isn't doing that well - we are thrilled to help them, but we've also helped ourselves grow as people in the process."
The first chance for fans to see the Bulldogs will be on Tuesday, Oct. 23 at 6:30 p.m. inside the Save Mart Center when the men's and women's teams host their annual Red & White Hoops Night. The free event will showcase 3-point shooting and dunk contests, and give the Red Wave a chance to meet their favorite student-athletes and coaches.
Fans can secure their 2012-13 men's basketball season tickets for as little as $149 by contacting the Bulldog Foundation at 559-278-7160. To view all pricing and priority seating locations, please visit www.bulldogfoundation.org.
"Discover Fresno State Athletics!" -- Join Fresno State legends and Super Bowl champions Trent Dilfer and David Carr in becoming a part of Fresno State forever by uploading your picture for free to the Bulldog Stadium Fan Mosaic. To upload your picture, please visit: fanmosaics.com.
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