With summer classes and workout sessions in the books. LipscombSports.com had a chance to sit down with Lipscomb men’s basketball head coach Casey Alexander for a quick Q&A about the team this summer.
Having taken over the program in Spring 2013, what’s the biggest difference between your first summer here and your second summer back in Nashville?
We have a much greater knowledge of who we are and where we are going. We know that we are a lot closer to that end point which is exciting and satisfying. Every part of the job as we sit here today is easier than it was a year ago. It’s nice to look back and see how much ground we’ve covered but we know that the toughest part is still ahead of us.
Where have we made the biggest gains in the program?
From a basketball perspective it’s the roster. I think we have great balance across each position and have depth at each position. That gives us an opportunity to be better in every area on the floor. Competition for playing time will be greater and that makes practice better. That gives us a lot of optimism as we get ready for the season.
How has it been this summer having multiple options in the post that we did not have last season?
There’s still an element of the unknown there. I know Chad (Lang) and I have coached him but he doesn’t have a ton of playing experience. Charles (Smith) was here all summer but has been injured and was cleared just before he went home. Then we have George (Brammeirer) who’s a freshman and ready to go. He had a good summer and was productive but we’re not sure what his contribution is going to be either. But knowing that we’re going to have all three of them in practice plus Brett (Wishon), who is eligible to play this year significantly changes the potential of our team.
Who really stood out for you this summer during workouts?
We thought that Martin (Smith) had an exceptional summer. He was here for the duration of it and especially late in the summer turned the corner and performed with great effort and productivity. I thought he really did a nice job. All of the freshmen made a contribution and showed us that they are here for good reasons and the future is bright. We’re excited about those guys.
As much as anything we had good numbers all the way through. Summer is not mandatory in any way but we had a good number of players to work with and that allowed us to get a lot of work done.
With the returnees coming off a solid end to the season even with a tough playoff loss at ETSU, did you sense a hunger in the guys that are returning?
I think they are excited. I think everyone knows that our potential is much greater but as you know potential is a scary thing. It means you’re not as good as you should be. We need to keep in mind that essentially we have done nothing and have a lot to prove but at the same time there’s no harm in having some expectations for what we can accomplish.
Speaking of expectations, did the BleacherReport article naming the Bisons as one of three schools poised to become the next mid-major power generate any buzz on the recruiting trail this summer?
It did. It was nice to receive that kind of recognition and it came out of left field. I had no idea it was coming. For somebody to look at the analysis and come to that conclusion was great. Anytime you’re getting positive publicity it’s a good thing. I think it made everyone stand up a little straighter and say ‘hey people think we can actually be good beside ourselves’. It’s been a great tool for us recruiting and we have referenced it several times but just like preseason predictions it still takes a lot of hard work and the results have to be there in the end. That’s what we’re trying to get.
You and your staff spent a lot of the summer recruiting what kind of players were you looking for to become the next class of Bisons?
As much as anything we are always looking for student-athletes that fit Lipscomb, the school and how we play. That’s an exclusive club. We can eliminate a lot of good players because they don’t fit one or both of those criteria. Obviously we have to get guys that are skilled players, fit our style of play and fit our needs in recruiting. We have two scholarships in this class as we sit here now so we can be pretty selective and work hard to get two guys that will come in and make us better right away.