published Friday, October 18th, 2013

Chattanooga Mocs see urgency before tip time

  • photo
    Lance Stokes (3) prepares to dunk the ball at the UTC men's basketball open practice Thursday at McKenzie Arena.
    Photo by Maura Friedman /Chattanooga Times Free Press.

University of Tennessee at Chattanooga basketball players will wake up this morning knowing that their season opener against Covenant is exactly three weeks away.

"I know," junior Lance Stokes said. "I've been counting down the days. I'm excited like everybody else."

Coach Will Wade's excitement varies by the minute -- maybe the second. The Mocs are nowhere close to being a finished product. And with three weeks before the first tipoff in his career as a Division I head coach, he sees the room for improvement.

"November 8th is coming very soon," he said. "We work like every day is game day, but the real thing is coming. We have a scrimmage this weekend which will be our first game-like situation."

It would be interesting to see. But NCAA rules mandate that all preseason scrimmages be closed to everybody except team personnel.

The Mocs will play the Scots in 21 days in front of a crowd in McKenzie Arena anticipating the debut of new Lady Mocs coach Jim Foster and their game against Alabama.

Wade's broad goal between now and then is rather simple.

"We have to play with a more consistent effort," he said after UTC's second practice in McKenzie Arena. "We have to find five guys who will fly around and play with effort for extended time. Now we have two guys and a couple who are teetering on doing it."

As each October day passes, more leaves fall and Nov. 8 draws closer.

"We have to clean a lot of stuff up," Stokes said. "Each day, we try not to look at it as a three-week goal. We have to pick up our level of talk for one thing."

Contact David Uchiyama at duchiyama@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6484.

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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