D-1 basketball preseason


For the purposes of this post when I refer to the “basketball preseason” I am referring to the time between when a school starts and the official start of basketball practice.

Back when I was in school, the players I knew hated the preseason, because it mainly entailed the “preseason conditioning” with athletic trainers and pick up games. Basketball players would enroll in a class called basketball conditioning. This class met in the same time slot that their basketball practice would eventually fall into. They would lift and run their butts off for 2 ½ hours with some basketball pick up games mixed in. Coaches were not allowed to participate in these drills, but I got to know Stu Starner when I would wander over to the field house and sit in the upper decks and watch the pick up games. He would often come over, sit and talk with me while we watched the new team. This is the same way I got to know Craig Kilborne.

Now remember, that was back when they used to use a round rock, for a ball, but since that time the NCAA got more and more strict about what coaches could and could not do during this time period. I got to the point where coaches were not even allowed to be in any gym when their team was playing pick up ball and limited the coaches contact with the preseason conditioning instructors.

A few years back though the NCAA did a major overhaul of this preseason basketball period, and these changes have actually made the preseason as a time period that the players really look forward to each year. The main reason I hear the athletes like this period is the amount of individual attention they get from the coaching staff. This is something that is very hard to come by once the season gets under way. The new rules the NCAA enacted change the preseason from a completely hands off approach from the coaches to one where the emphasis is on individual development and instruction from the coaching staff. Here is roughly how it works now. Coaches are now allowed to work their teams up to 8 hours a week until the start of basketball practice on October 15th. Between the start of classes (which of course varies for each school) and September 15th only 2 hours of those 8 can be on the court with a maximum of 4 players at a time. What most program do hold fundamental practices with position groups, like point guards, posts etc. Starting September 15th the coaches are allowed to hold two – one hour practices (out of the maximum 8 hour) a week.

This new preseason schedule has really been welcomes by all of the coaches and players I have talked to. It allows the contact between players and coaches one on one before the things get real serious. It allows player assessments and goal setting before the practices starts and it is invaluable for new players coming on board.

I have been pretty critical of the NCAA and their usual throw the baby out with the bath water approach to most of their new rules but this one actually seems to work.


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