As the fall sports seasons begin to wind down, the winter sports are trying to sneak to center stage. Monday marked the first official day of basketball season as teams were allowed to take to the court for organized practice for the first time.
Several teams are missing some of their key players who are still on the football field or the volleyball court but it is not slowing everyone down. Tallassee boys coach Keiven Mixson said having some players still on the football field could open the door for some of the younger players to get more time with the varsity team.
“I think this is when we try to help some of the kids further down on the depth chart,” Mixson said. “This is the time when you want to be helping everyone with fundamentals and trying to turn those weaknesses into strengths. The goal is to try to make our depth better.”
The Tigers have plenty of returning experience and several of those players started right away. Jamicah Humphrey, Sandarius Hughley and Tyrek Turner all played a vital role in last year’s super regional team and none of them play football.
Because of the extra experience on this year’s team, Mixson said he feels like the Tigers may be a step ahead of where they usually are before the first week of practice.
“We still work on fundamentals but maybe not as much,” Mixson said. “They know the system and the drills. I don’t have to do a lot of re-teaching and that makes coaching a lot easier. (Monday’s) practice was very smooth.”
Mixson said he may be a little stricter about it this year but the key to first week of practice is not about execution. The two biggest things he focuses on before games begin is energy and discipline.
“This is more about just having positive energy,” Mixson said. “We can control how hard we play so that’s how hard we should practice. That’s important. And you have to be disciplined on the court with that energy.”
Tallassee’s girls team also got started this week as coach Harold Harris returns for his second season in charge of the Tigers. Harris said he was excited to get started and he already has high hopes for improvement this year.
Other schools have not been as lucky to get started on the opening day of practice. Both Elmore County teams are starting late as boys coach Rodney Taylor said his team is waiting until football season is over before starting. The girls team was held back by the volleyball team hosting area tournament on Monday but they were in the gym Tuesday with the available players.