published Tuesday, January 15th, 2013

UTC Mocs do drill for toughness

Chattanooga head coach John Shulman talks from the sideline.
Chattanooga head coach John Shulman talks from the sideline.
Contributed Photo

Dontay Hampton groaned when he saw the "P-Drill" scheduled for the end of the Monday practice session for the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga men's basketball team.

The "P" could stand for pride, passion, punishment or something unrelated.

It's a punishing drill, and one that coach John Shulman has not ordered since November 2008 after the Mocs opened the season with five straight losses.

"I think the guys have pride, even though we might not have displayed that against Charleston," said Hampton, who was the only current player to endure the 2008 drill. "I don't know if we need it, but it will be fun to see what happens and spice it up."

Afterward Shulman assessed, "We got tougher and better today. It was a very energetic practice."

The drill instills toughness, which is an attribute he said the Mocs greatly lacked in an 86-59 loss Saturday at the College of Charleston.

"We have to get Saturday out of our system, and Saturday exposed things [like] getting meaner and tougher," Shulman said. "We weren't real physical. They manhandled us in every way."

Toughness, Shulman said in 2008, shows up in the rebounding margin of a game. The Mocs (7-10, 2-2 SoCon) were out-rebounded 47-32 by the Cougars, who grabbed 11 of their own 31 missed shots.

"We need to grow up," Shulman said. "We need to get meaner and tougher and execute and screen and touch people other than teammates."

There's more to toughness than stats. Senior Drazen Zlovaric -- who went 1-for-8, scored two points and grabbed four rebounds -- said there are mental and physical sides to toughness. Neither showed Saturday.

"You have to sacrifice your body in terms of taking charges, boxing out and standing your ground on defense," Zlovaric said. "Mental -- when things aren't going great, stay with what you're doing and stay disciplined."

The Mocs will next test their toughness Thursday at 7 p.m., when they host Appalachian State in McKenzie Arena.

The "P-Drill" begins with one player taking a charge, then diving on the floor for a loose ball. Then he must score any way possible against two players guarding the basket with thick pads used in football practice.

Dribbling and other basketball rules go out the window because defenders do everything they can -- except deliberately deliver shots to the face or crotch -- to prevent the offensive player from scoring.

It's football on the hardwood and behind closed doors in the Chattem Practice Facility.

"It's like being back in your neighborhood and getting roughed up," Hampton said as he strapped on his knee brace. "If you've never experienced it, then you might not feel too good after practice."

Shulman kept Hampton and Lance Stokes out of the drill due to their injuries. Hampton played the last two games but still must be careful with his right knee, and Stokes has been out since the third game with a broken foot.

about David Uchiyama...

David Uchiyama is a sports writer at the Chattanooga Times Free Press who began his tenure here in May 2001. His primary beats are UTC athletics — specifically men’s basketball and athletic department administration — and golf, which includes coverage from the PGA Tour to youth events. He also covers other high school sports, outdoor adventures, and contributes to other sections of the newspaper when necessary. David grew up in Salinas, Calif., and began working ...

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