UTEP coach Tim Floyd put his team through a tough three hour practice Friday afternoon and then the staff brought the team back Saturday morning for another tough session — all this before Saturday night's exhibition game against Sul Ross.
There is just a lot to do this time of year and one of the biggest lessons is teaching freshmen how hard you have to play and how long you have to play that hard. Most of them were the best players on their teams in high school and they could play hard in spurts and coast in spurts. Coast in college and you are exposed.
Friday afternoon at the end of practice they did one of my favorite drills. Henry Iba put it in for Coach Haskins back in the '70's. It is a conditioning drill but it also serves a basketball purpose. They go five-on-five in the half court and they never shoot the ball. They go for 90 seconds and try to prevent their man from catching the basketball. Deny. Deny. Deny. After 90 seconds, they reveal how many times their man caught the ball. Then they switch sides and go another 90 seconds. They did that twice for each side and it was better than running sprints.
Condolences to the Washburn family. UTEP's talented freshman Julian Washburn lost his mother last week. He was back in the Dallas area over the weekend for the Saturday morning funeral. Floyd flew to Dallas for the funeral Saturday morning then returned to El Paso in time for Saturday night's exhibition game. Sad times for a young freshman and all of us can feel his pain.