published Wednesday, November 27th, 2013

UTC basketball coach Will Wade gives role card to every Moc

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    UTC men's head basketball coach Will Wade.
    Photo by C. B. Schmelter.
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Each of the basketball Mocs has a role for new coach Will Wade.

Now they know their roles. They are printed and laminated and should be hanging in their lockers in McKenzie Arena.

Wade began a recent team meeting by handing out the cards to each University of Tennessee at Chattanooga player in numerical order. He began with freshman point guard Greg Pryor, who wears No. 1.

"These cards need to go in your locker, where you see them every day and before every practice," Wade said before going over each card with the entire team. "This is what we need from every person here to win games."

Every player in the room received a card, including Ronrico White, who is out at least another month with injury, and transfers Justin Tuoyo and Tre McLean, who are sitting out this season per NCAA rules.

Tuoyo and McLean are at home working on their roles while the Mocs continue a seven-day trip out West. They play again Thursday at 5:30 p.m. EST against Morehead State in the Las Vegas Invitational.

The jobs junior Lance Stokes needs to embrace are on his mind even though his card is in his locker.

"Everybody knew it was coming that we would get our roles defined," Stokes said via cell phone, as UTC's bus started from Los Angeles to Las Vegas. "Mine says things about bringing energy, getting rebounds and being a madman in the press."

Some roles are number-driven, such as sophomore guard Gee McGhee needing to grab five rebounds per game. Freshman center T.J. Williams' card notes that he needs to get six rebounds per game and be the Mocs' best screener.

Others roles are more esoteric, such as McGhee needing to finish through contact and take more pride in defense. White needs to share his basketball IQ and prepare to play.

"Is there anything that I gave you that you don't think you can do?" Wade asked in the locker room. "If everybody takes care of their role, it's enough to win every game."

Wade later said he borrowed the idea of making physical cards from his two seasons spent with Harvard coach Tommy Amaker.

"With our team, we're better with things that go A-B-C," Wade said. "This team is better with tangible things like a math equation. That's how they see things. I thought [the cards] fit our team and our personality this season."

The players embraced the cards. Nobody objected to any roles that afternoon. Robertson and others taped their cards where they need to be within minutes. Both White and sophomore Casey Jones called the cards a good idea.

"I like the fact that he gave people a job on the team, what he thinks they can do," Jones said. "My job is to be a junkyard dog, which means six-plus rebounds per game and a lot of effort plays.

"Sometimes you need to know exactly what your coach expects from you. Him giving me this scorecard helps you know that."

Contact David Uchiyama at duchiyama@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6484. Follow him at twitter.com/UchiyamaCTFP.

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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