Sports

Williamson has Bears prepared for 2010-11 season

The Bears basketball 2010-2011 season begins Nov. 13 when they go against the Hendrix Warriors, but the team has been at work since the beginning of the semester to prepare for the season and start working on implementing Coach Corliss Williamson’s new style of play for the Bears.
Williamson said the team’s preseason workouts have been going well and the team is adjusting to new expectations.
“We’ve been running them pretty hard and they have responded well,” he said. “We are really pleased so far, but we still have a lot of work to do on the court. It has really been our main focus during preseason to get these guys in great shape so we can play the style of basketball we want to implement here.”
Senior guard Imad Qahwash said the team’s official practices start on Oct. 15, but the team has been working hard during the preseason practices and even training over the summer break.
“We have really been working as a team and training since the summer, but official practice by the NCAA doesn’t start until the 15th,” he said.
Qahwash said the preseason practices so far have been stressing conditioning and getting everyone ready and in shape for official practices.
“When official practices start up, everyone just has to take it to that next level,” he said. “There is always that level up that you can push into. Coach wants us all to get to that point because we have a very competitive schedule. It’s important that when we go to practice we are pushing ourselves hard, but at the same time we are listening to what coach has to say.”
Williamson is changing the way the basketball team will play compared to how they have played in previous seasons, he said.
“It is going to be a real up-tempo style of basketball,” he said. “We are going to have a lot of pressure on defense and I think that is going to be the biggest change from last year. We expect to play an up-tempo style and every kid says they want to play that way but they don’t understand that it takes a lot of conditioning and work to play that way and be effective.”
Qahwash said almost every aspect of the team and the way they play has changed from last year and he believes it is a change for the better.
“Everything is different, but our conditioning has probably changed the most,” he said. “We have gone from not doing a lot of conditioning to doing it all the time. The whole approach to everything has changed. We are more disciplined and during drills we go hard on every single drill every time. Coach Williamson has put in this mentality to do it right and to do it the right way and to go all out on everything. I think that is going to be how we will win games, by pushing yourself and your other teammates to the limit.”
Qahwash said fans are going to be really pleased and excited to watch Bears basketball this season because of all the new elements Williamson has brought to UCA and to the team.
“It’s going to be an exciting brand of basketball,” he said. “It will be a hard defense with a lot of pressing and some run-and-gun type of play, but at the same time, we can go into a half-court set and play that way as well. We are looking to push the ball this season and it is going to be really exciting for the fans, but it is still going to a game that is under control and we will play with a purpose.”
Williamson said for the offensive side of the ball the coaching staff has had the team working on a lot of skill development and shooting. Last season the bears had a .411 shot average for the entire team and made 641 out of 1,560 two-point shots. For three-three point shots, the team had an average of .331 and made 161 out of 517.
“We think we are a great shooting team so we have had the team so we have to try and get our guys a lot of shots during the preseason and lots of shots during practices to improve in that area,” Williamson said. “Our offense is going to be mostly free flowing with lots of movement. You will not see guys just standing in one spot. All the movement is going to create a lot offensive opportunities for us with guys getting open and guys getting to the basket.”
Williamson said he and the coaching staff have watched some tape on other teams, but right now he is focusing on getting the team ready and prepared for the season. He said the Bears are currently picked last in the Southland Conference, but that just gives the Bears another challenge to overcome and prove that the Bears basketball program is going to be something to look out for.
Williamson said the team has set some goals for themselves to push them throughout the season. He wants the Bears to have a winning record at home against conference and non-conference players.
“We want to establish that we do not lose at home,” he said.
Williamson said he is hoping and counting on the students and fans to help create the hostile home environment here at UCA as something teams in the Southland Conference fear.
“We ask that the students come out and be supportive this year,” he said. “Our guys have been working extremely hard and I believe the fans will appreciate our style of play and the way we play this year. In order for us to create that hostile environment where teams fear coming into the Farris Center we need the support of our students.”
The Bears have a tough schedule for the 2010-2011 season. Most notably are their games against the Hawaii Warriors Nov. 19 and their game against the Oklahoma State University Cowboys.

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