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The Drake University men’s basketball team hit the court Friday evening for the official start of team practices for the upcoming 2012-13 season.

Head coach Mark Phelps’ squad began preseason preparations months ago with team workouts, but with the first exhibition contest just 22 days away, the official start of team practices brings with it a renewed sense of urgency.

“I thought the guys really understood ‘this is the start of practice,’” Phelps said. “Their energy, their disposition and their excitement told us that they understood what we were doing. This is the first step in long journey this year and the guys really had a great understanding of exactly what was happening.”

That understanding is extremely significant given that Phelps is charged with getting nine newcomers on his roster up to speed quickly. However, he has the benefit of five returning players that have started at various points in their careers to provide on-court leadership and teaching.

“I thought the older guys have done a tremendous job,” Phelps said. “Jordan, Seth and Ben are guys that have stuck out to me. I thought our older guys did an excellent job and certainly the continuity of our coaching staff was helpful. Chris Braselton jumped in and is a talented assistant coach that didn’t miss a beat. Overall, the atmosphere in practice is exactly what we’re looking for and that’s in large part due to the older guys really stepping up.”

The squad will continue practice throughout the weekend as Phelps aims to maintain the same energy he saw in the first team practice.

“It was really exciting to get together today and we set the tone in our team meeting prior to practice,” Phelps said. “Our younger guys did a great job of bringing a lot of effort. Certainly there was some sloppiness, but that’s to be expected. Overall, I’m really happy with the energy, the effort, the excitement and the readiness to practice.”

As the Bulldogs continue their preparation for the season, fans can get their first look at the squad on Thursday, Oct. 18 at the team’s annual ‘Prime Time Preview.’ The Knapp Center doors to the event open at 6 p.m. with both the men’s and women’s team signing autographs on the upper level of the concourse before taking to the court at 7 p.m.

Both teams will also participate in the annual Tip Off Breakfast at the downtown Marriott on Oct. 25 at 7 a.m. Purchase tickets for the Tip Off Breakfast online here.

The men’s squad gets its first taste of competition on Nov. 3 with an exhibition contest against Southwest Baptist at 7 p.m. Season tickets for the upcoming season are on sale via the Drake athletic ticket office by calling 515-271-DOGS or by clicking here. Mini-packs go on sale Oct. 15 and single-game tickets will be available starting Oct. 19.

 


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