BOONE, N.C. – Appalachian State University men's basketball began preparation for the upcoming 2012-13 season with its first official practice on Friday, Oct. 12 at the Holmes Center.
The Mountaineers return six players from a squad that advanced to the quarterfinals of the Southern Conference Tournament a year ago.
In his third season at the helm of the Appalachian program, head coach Jason Capel will lead a wave of new faces through a difficult non-conference slate and an always-tough SoCon schedule as the Apps welcome nine newcomers to this year's team.
Prior to opening practice, Capel addressed the team and urged them to focus on working hard and going full-speed. The team's thought for the day was "He who hesitates is lost".
Friday's practice began with a series of physical inside drills as players were forced to fight through contact in the lane on their way up for a bucket.
The focus then shifted to a series of drills with a focus on improving both offense and defense in transition and moved from there to a set of triangle closeout drills.
During a series of three-on-three plays, freshmen guards Chris Burgess and Frank Eaves showed a soft touch from long range as both players sank several shots from beyond the arc.
Junior forward Tevin Baskin also impressed with an early dunk in practice while redshirt-sophomore Jay Canty showed promise by hitting several tough inside shots and showing skill from long range.
The second half of practice focused on defensive drills, particularly on helpside defense, where Baskin and freshman Michael Obacha were impressive as the duo regularly cleared the lane to grab rebounds.
Canty again showed why he is considered a difference-maker for the Apps this season as the former Xavier Musketeer and four-star ESPN.com recruit was dominant for long stretches throughout practice.
Jamaal Trice and Nathan Healy, the lone seniors on this year's roster, were solid throughout practice as they exhibited both exceptional skill and on-court leadership ability.
The Mountaineers are completely healthy thus far as all 15 players on the roster participated in practice with no limitations.
Fans can catch their first glimpes of the Apps at the team's Black & Gold Scrimmage at 7 p.m. on Wednesday, Oct. 24. The Mountaineers open the exhibition portion of their schedule on Nov. 2 against Lees-McRae and begin the regular season against Montreat on Nov. 9.