Aug. 23, 2006
When sports fans think of Canada the first thing that comes to mind is hockey.
But over Labor Day weekend when someone shouts, "he shoots, he scores" that statement will be in reference to college basketball.
Lipscomb University Bisons basketball team is one of several NCAA Division I teams heading to Toronto, Ontario the evening of Sept. 1. Due to their participation in the games in Toronto the Bisons have been allotted 10 extra days of regular practice sessions. The Bisons have been practicing nightly at 6:45.
"I think we are even more athletic than we were last year," said Lipscomb coach Scott Sanderson after watching the first two days of workouts. "I think we have more quality depth than we had last year. We can probably go eight, nine or 10 players a little easier than we could have the past year or two."
The Bisons will play four games in three days. Other schools from the United States participating in the event include Florida, the reigning NCAA National Champion; Louisville, LaSalle, Army and Oakland.
On Sept. 2 the Bisons will play the University of Toronto in the morning at Humber College and then play Guelph University that evening.
Sunday night the Bisons will play York University.
They close out the trip on Labor Day with a morning game with Humber College before returning to Nashville later that afternoon.
"I think the players are excited about it," said Sanderson. "They can't see Toronto right now because it is still a week-and-half away with several practices staring them in the face. Next week they will start seeing Friday and be excited about going to Toronto and getting an opportunity to play."
The early bonus practice sessions have been especially beneficial as the Bisons coaches take a look at newcomers Ryan Daniel, Jason Hopkins, Devon Seaford, Brandon Moore, Michael Teller. JanAndre Williams and Blake Giles.
"The positives for these practices and games far outweigh the negatives," said Sanderson. "We can find out what the new guys can do. You really don't know what a player can do until you bring them into the program. That's why we are going to be vanilla with a lot of things to find out what people can do. After we get back from Toronto we will work on redefining their skills and work on their weaknesses."
The games are exhibitions for the Bisons. Some of the rules include a 30-second shot clock and a slightly deeper 3-point arc.
"We worked with the 30-second shot clock at the end of practice," said Sanderson. "It doesn't seem like five seconds less would be much a difference, but it seems a lot faster than that."
The Bisons will also spend part of Sunday doing some sightseeing, including a visit to Niagara Falls.
"There is the opportunity for the players to do some sightseeing," said Sanderson. "We are going to play basketball. We are going to watch film, but we also want the team to bond. It is a good thing for us to travel there. We want them to enjoy the trip."