COLUMBUS, Ohio — Let’s talk about practice.
The Ohio State basketball team started practice Oct. 2, and the Buckeyes are looking to get back to the NCAA Tournament after falling to the NIT last season. During Ohio State’s media day on Sept. 29, Land of 10 spoke with several Buckeyes players about which drills in practice they dreaded the most.
It appears that Ohio State head coach Thad Matta is a much bigger fan of defense than his players, although all that practice must pay off, given that the Buckeyes finished 37th of 347 Division I teams last season in field-goal percentage defense (40.4 percent) and 77th in scoring defense (68.0 points).
Here’s what the players had to say about the drills they dread.
Junior forward Jae’Sean Tate
“I don’t like our passing drills. We do six-man passing and three-man passing, but at the end of the day it does help because I’ve seen results. But we come into the gym and it’s one of the first drills, and we have to sprint from sideline to sideline to sideline to sideline for 30 seconds while passing.
“Ugh. I know it’s coming. It’s just a way to get warmed up. I like more of a stretch approach more, get a couple shots up. But we like to get straight into it.”
Junior guard Kam Williams
“Man, we’ve got a lot of drills. Probably perfect possession on defense. At one point in practice, you have to get five stops in a row. You’ll get four and then someone gets a loose ball and lays it up and you’re like, ‘Oh my God,’ because that pushes practice back even further and makes practice that much longer. Once it’s done, you’re so glad it’s over.”
Senior forward Marc Loving
“I don’t think there’s one drill specifically, but we do long, long segment of defense which can be really, really tiring. It’s difficult. It’s pretty difficult.”
Sophomore guard JaQuan Lyle
“Anything defensively gets me. Any defensive drills. I just don’t like the playing defense part of practice, but we have to do it. The five stops in a row is pretty hard to do when you’re playing against Kam Williams and Marc Loving, but you’ve got to do what you’ve got to do and then they’ve got to turn around and do the same thing.”