NACOGDOCHES, Texas (KTRE) - Any college basketball team playing this late in the season will tell you it all has to do with practice.
Practice is where you work on your faults and strive to get better for those pressure situations in games. The hard part with college athletics is balancing practice with class and free time. Traditionally SFA head coach Kyle Keller had held practice at the end of the day but this year he tried something new. Keller went with a morning practice before the players had to be in class.
“They haven’t had anything bad happen to them so far,” Keller said. “When you wake up what bad has happened to you? I think they have a fresh mind. They are focused on basketball, no girlfriends have upset them or anything like that.”
Keller knew it would be a chore to get the players to by in.
Honestly I am not a morning person," junior Gavin Kensmil said.
In fact out of all the players available for this story, only one said they were a morning person.
“I like to enjoy my day,” John Comeaux said. “What time is better? I get to enjoy my day. You get to practice first then go to class. You know not everyone wants to go to class.”
“I am a nocturnal, assistant head coach Jeremy Cox said. “I am like those bats in Abilene. I like to come out when it is dark. You know I thought if we did this it would eliminate some of those really early 6 a.m. practices we would do from time to time.”
While he is not a morning person, senior Kevon Harris would normally force himself to get up and get a shooting session in before class so the idea was not hard for him to buy into. He would use his leadership role to get his teammates on board.
“I feel like once we got it going it impacted our season,” Harris said.
“It usually gets me going,” Kensmil said. “Once I get past the warm up I am in shape for the rest of the day.”
If anyone was questioning the change in practice they have stopped. At 28-3, SFA had a turnaround season from last year’s 14-16 record. Despite not having class this week the team is still practicing in the morning just not as early.
“The proof is in the pudding,” Keller said. “Obviously it has worked well for our team. It has gotten us up. Our guys have been alert. We have had success on the court and in the classroom as well.”
The 'Jacks will open up Southland Tournament play as the No.1 seed on Friday at 5 p.m.