Bighorns go through a ‘typical’ tough practice
The meek may inherit the earth, but Reno Bighorns’ practices under first-year coach Jay Humphries are no place for the timid.
“Oh my God,” said former University of Nevada star Kyle Shiloh after slowly walking off the floor at Carson High’s Morse Burley Gym on Wednesday. Reno’s National Basketball Development League team had just completed a tough 2 1/2 hour workout that Humphries said was par for the course.
The Bighorns began their workout at 6:30 p.m., running nonstop through various drills for 90 minutes. Then the 10 Bighorns players held a 22-minute scrimmage before running wind sprints to conclude the practice.
And since the Bighorns had to cut down their roster to 10 players on Wednesday, there were so substitutes for the 5-on-5 scrimmage, so there were no long breaks for the 10 players.
Humphries said the 90-minute session followed by the scrimmage was a typical practice.
“That’s the way we normally do it,” Humphries said. “A professional practice is a little bit different than high school or college.”
Shiloh echoed that sentiment. “I didn’t expect being a professional would be this hard. I guess we need it.”
Since Humphries stresses defense, Shiloh is the type of player that the coach likes. Shiloh has always been known for his lockdown defensive skills and he demonstrated those skills during the scrimmage when he scored on two breakaway layups after making steals.
“He’s the type of guy defensively I love to have on the team,” Humphries said. “He’s always pressing his guy. He needs to continue to work on his shot a lot more.”
Shiloh has been improving his outside shot as he demonstrated when he knocked down a couple of three-pointers on Wednesday. Shiloh said he’s continuing to work on his outside game.
“Even when I was in Finland I tried to work on my shot as much as possible,” said Shiloh about his experience playing in that country.
Humphries said Shiloh may be able to play either point or off guard. “He’s between a 1 and a 2 and I would say he’s both,” Humphries said.
“I guess he’s calling me a combo,” Shiloh said. “I don’t really have a preference. I’m trying to work on both.”
Shiloh said playing for Humphries has been an eye opener. “We’re learning a lot of things from him,” Shiloh said. “
“Things I’ve never seen or heard of before. It’s tough. It’s just a different game. There’s a lot of things I’ve got to get used to.”
Carson City fans received the chance to see what the Bighorns look like just three days before their regular season opener at 7 p.m. Saturday at the Reno Events Center against the Bakersfield Jam. While it’s unknown how th expansion team will fare, an encouraging sign came last week when the Bighorns beat the Albuquerque T-birds 105-96 in a preseason game.
“For the most part,” said Humphries when asked if he likes where his team is heading into its opener. “We really don’t know what we’re up against.
“We have to come out and get going and continue working to get through it. If we can be consistent defensively and work hard we’ll be fine. That’s our goal.”
Humphries said he’s also learning as a first-year coach. “You learn a lot about your guys,” he said. “You learn about the situations you put them in. We’re just going to do it on the run.”
One of the most impressive Bighorn players on Wednesday was Sung-Yoon Bang, who constantly nailed threes throughout the workout.
Also on the roster is for Nevada star Gary Hill-Thomas. Another former Nevada star, Todd Okeson, who’s the team’s assistant director of basketball. There may be a chance that Okeson could join the roster, but Okeson said he has no idea when he’ll be able to play. He currently has a walking boot after tearing a tendon in his foot.
“I’m having a great time,” Okeson said. “I’m learing a lot from coach (Humphries). I’m learning a lot about the NBA game.
“It’s still a dream of mine to play in the NBA. If it doesn’t happen it’s not the end of the world.”
Okeson said Humphries has already gained the respect of the team. “Just from what I’ve got to know from the last couple of weeks the players like playing for him and all the assistant coaches like working for him.”