Head coach Mark Phelps has been pleased with the squad’s practices to date and the progress that has been made.
“I think our team continues to improve and obviously there’s been an emphasis on toughness, rebounding and defending,” Phelps said. “That’s going to be the key to our team this weekend. Certainly we have offensive weapons, but our season is going to boil down to ‘how tough are we?’ Especially on the defensive end and how well we rebound. I like where our team is, I like the steps we’re making and progress individuals are making.”
To build that toughness, Phelps has attempted to make his practices as intense as possible to mimic or in most cases exceed the what the team will face in game situations.
“Practices have been more game-like with more 5-on-5 and game situations,” junior college transfer Gary Ricks, Jr., said. “We’re working on our offense, putting in new plays every day and getting things settled. We’re progressing a lot, which is what we need to be doing with eight new guys.”
That progress has been aided by the close bonds and fellowship on this year’s team forged during offseason workouts and the natural chemistry between the veterans and newcomers.
“We have a great group of guys in terms of how they care about each other,” Phelps said. “And that makes that transition easier when they care about each other. I think we’re right on schedule with that. Certainly we need to get to mid-season team chemistry right away and there’s no time to waste. So we have to go at a pace that is at a high rate, but I like what I’m seeing so far.”
The team continues practice this week before playing its lone exhibition game of the season on Nov. 3 against Southwest Baptist at 7:05 p.m. in the Knapp Center. The regular season tips off on Nov. 10 against William Jewell at 11 a.m.
Season tickets and mini-packs for the 2012-13 season are available by clicking here. Single-game tickets go on sale Monday, Oct. 29.
Fans will also have the opportunity to hear from Phelps multiple times in the coming weeks. The Drake Basketball Coaches’ Radio Show hits the airwaves for its maiden broadcast of the 2012-13 season on Monday, Oct. 29 at 7 p.m. at the Rock Bottom Restaurant & Brewery located at 4508 University Avenue in West Des Moines.
On Nov. 6 members of both basketball staff and representatives of all Drake sports will be at Smokey Row for the monthly ‘Coffee With the Coaches.’ From 7:30-9 a.m. fans can attend and enjoy free house-blend coffee while conversing with Drake coaches.
The basketball coaches’ luncheons return to Overtime at 4810 86th Street in Urbandale starting on Nov. 13 with a combined men’s and women’s luncheon from 11:30 a.m.-1 p.m. Cost to attend is $12 per person.