JONESBORO, Ark. (AStateRedWolves.com) – The Arkansas State University men's basketball team will step onto the court for the first official practice this Friday (Oct. 12) as the Red Wolves begin preparations for the upcoming 2012-13 season.
The initial scheduled three-hour practice of this fall for A-State will commence at 5 p.m. (CT) inside the HPESS on the ASU campus. The Red Wolves are slated to practice for the next six consecutive days before receiving a day off on Friday, Oct. 19.
"We're excited to get going although the start of this season is a little different for us than in the past," said Arkansas State fifth-year head coach John Brady. "We were allowed to actually coach our team on the floor in July for two hours a week so it's not like we just started. We're further along from a coaching and teaching standpoint than we've ever been."
A-State returns six letterwinners from the 2011-12 squad, which finished 14-20 overall and 6-10 in the Sun Belt Conference (SBC). Moreover, four of the Red Wolves' five starters are back in senior guard Trey Finn, senior guard Marcus Hooten, and junior guard Ed Townsel along with senior forward Brandon Peterson. Finn, a 2012 Sun Belt Conference All-Tourney pick, compiled averages of 11. 6 points and 5.3 rebounds per game a season ago. Hooten averaged a team-high 12.5 points with 2.4 rebounds an outing while Townsel netted 9.0 points and 3.6 caroms a contest. Peterson led ASU in rebounding average at 7.9 a game and averaged 9.2 points per outing.
The Red Wolves' other two returning letterwinners are sophomore guard Rakeem Dickerson (3.3 ppg., 1.3 rpg.) and sophomore forward Darion Griswold (4.6 ppg., 2.5 rpg.), an ASU football team member. Junior forward Kendrick Washington, a University of Houston transfer who practiced with the team last season, is expected to play a key role for theScarlet and Black and highlights an eight-member group of newcomers.
"From what I've seen so far, I like our team with the experience we have," said Brady, the 2009-10 SBC Coach of the Year. "We will have more depth than in seasons past and the opportunity is there for us to put a quality team on the floor. This is probably the best collection of kids we've had in terms of leadership and team chemistry."
ASU will hold 19 scheduled practices leading up to a pair of home exhibitions in early November against Southern Arkansas (Nov. 1) and Henderson State (Nov. 6) at the Convocation Center in Jonesboro, Ark. Both outings are set for a 7:05 p.m. (CT) opening tipoff.
The Red Wolves will play a 29-game regular-season schedule, starting Nov. 10 with a non-conference matchup at Dayton before squaring off against Arkansas-Monticello on Nov. 13 in a 7:05 p.m. (CT) home-openingcontest. A-State opens its 20-game conference slate in the state of Florida with matchups versus Florida International (Nov. 29) and Florida Atlantic (Dec. 1).