Basketball players stay on campus over break

Basketball players stay on campus over break

Basketball players stay on campus over break
January 20
00:16 2015

Saad Yousuf / Staff Writer

On a rare sunny afternoon, the University of North Texas campus was still deserted and silent. It was Jan. 14, still almost a week before campus comes to life as classes start for the spring semester.

But inside the Super Pit, it was loud and intense as women’s basketball head coach Mike Petersen led the Mean Green women’s basketball team in a practice that was the norm for the team. With it being basketball season, life is much different for a basketball player as opposed to being a regular student. While students all return home for a month-long winter break, the basketball team has business to take care of on campus.

“We have practice from 1-3:30 p.m. daily with one off day,” sophomore guard Candice Adams said. “It’s pretty much about the same, but focusing on basketball is a little easier.”

Though the timing of practice didn’t change much during winter break, Petersen made it a point of emphasis to give his players a break he said is much needed.

“I always try to give the team four days off for Christmas,” Petersen said. “I think it’s really important to get them out of here.”

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 Senior guard Jordan Williams, center, looks for an open lane while being blocked by freshman forward Jeremy Combs. The next men’s game is at 7 p.m. on Thursday while the women play on the road.

For some players like Adams, there is another reason the break was needed.

“I needed it because of my injury history,” said Adams, who ended last season with a torn ACL. “For those four days, I took it as a break. My family stayed here in Dallas and it was perfect.”

Petersen said the number of practices doesn’t change during the break in order to keep the players fresh.

“Basketball is a really long season and it’s really a grind and your body needs to rest some,” Petersen said. “We might do a little bit more with film, but again, I try not to physically overwork them.”

For those who worry if some time off can disrupt the rhythm of the team or take a toll on players’ bodies, Petersen said that falls more on the shoulders of the coaches rather than the players.

“If we’ve done our job in September, October, November and the first three weeks of December, they can’t get out of shape in four days,” Petersen said.

Petersen said he realized he was working with young student athletes and made sure to advise them on how to act during the four days off.

“We talk about making good decisions all the time,” Petersen said. “I warned them when they went home about if you’re going out over the Christmas holiday, you have be careful because other people are going to and from Christmas parties.”

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Senior forward Joh’Vonna Darrington takes a wide open shot during the game against University of North Carolina – Charlotte. Darrington scored four points in the loss at home.

Even though he warns his young players to stay on the safe side, Petersen said he didn’t worry much about them because they haven’t had any  discipline problems.

Things weren’t much different for the men’s basketball team. The players worked out constantly over the break, but also some time off from practices.

“It went by really fast,” senior guard Jordan Williams said. “We relaxed a little bit, had a couple of off days, then we were back in the gym.”

As a senior, Williams said he has gotten in the grind of taking a short break to celebrate the holidays with his family.

“I’m a senior now so it was just the same,” Williams said. “I got to get home because I’m just from Dallas.”

However, as a veteran leader of the team, Williams said he sees a significant advantage to being some of the only students on campus after the fall semester is over and basketball becomes the sole focus.

“That’s kind of a lift off of us during the break,” said Williams. “Everybody gets a chance to come together and also build chemistry because we’re kind of the only ones here, so we’re with each other every day.”

Featured Image: Senior guard BreAnna Dawkins drives through the paint toward the bucket during the home game on Jan. 15. Dawkins scored 11 points against the University of North Carolina-Charlotte. Photos by Ryan Vance – Senior Staff Photographer

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