Friday’s practice served two purposes for the Rebels, as they attempted to work through the issues that got them beat at Air Force while at the same time prepping for Saturday’s showdown with San Diego State.
Much of the two-hour session was spent on toughening up the Rebels, with several drills designed to make them seek out and embrace contact around the basket. The coaches also frequently stopped play when screens weren’t set hard enough or players failed to fight through them effectively. Savon Goodman was especially impressive during his reps, earning praise from the coaching staff more than once.
Some of the more interesting takeaways from Friday’s practice:
Like their practice after the Fresno State loss, this was an intense session. The coaching staff didn’t let even the smallest mistakes slide, and they constantly prodded the players to be tougher and go harder after rebounds, loose balls, etc. Mike Moser’s effort stood out, as he looked like his old menacing self on the boards. Moser regaining his mojo as a prolific rebounder would be a great development for the Rebels, as they’ve had trouble on the glass whenever they leave Las Vegas. It remains to be seen if there will be any carryover from Friday’s practice — the post-Fresno practice mentioned above led to a big home win over New Mexico, but much of the message was lost by the time they were beaten soundly at Air Force on Wednesday.
Savon Goodman was the day’s standout player, earning an A+ in my grade book. He was intensity personified, grabbing tough rebounds, driving the lane hard, digging for loose balls, running the floor, defending with energy, etc. At one point, Dave Rice elevated Goodman to the first team based on his effort. Afterward, Rice said Goodman has earned more playing time going forward. “Savon brings a toughness and energy,” Rice said. “He still is playing a little bit of catch-up in terms of our offensive and defensive concepts, but he can more than make up for it in terms of effort.” Before the Air Force game, I didn’t expect Goodman to be much of a factor down the stretch because of his lack of polish. But the things he does bring to the table — effort, hustle, hunger — are things the Rebels need desperately right now. Rice looks like he’s ready to gamble on the freshman providing a boost. “He makes something happen every time,” Rice said.
Reinhardt plays through pain
Katin Reinhardt looked like he was on his way to a career night against Air Force, scoring 15 first-half points, but a shoulder injury sustained in the second half seemed to slow him down. Reinhardt was in pain after the game, but was a full participant in Thursday’s closed practice as well as Friday’s workout. “It hurts,” Reinhardt said of his shoulder, “but as soon as I get going and get some blood pumping, I don’t even feel it. When I stop moving for a while I can definitely feel it, but when I’m playing it’s not a problem.” He was one of the last players to leave the court, shooting jumpers for about 25 minutes after practice had ended.
Follow Mike Grimala (@MikeGrimala) on Twitter for 24/7 Rebels updates.