After four weeks of looking back at the 2012-13 season, this week’s edition of the “Canisius Men’s Basketball Summer Series” starts to look forward to the 2013-14 campaign.
As the calendar draws closer to August, this week the “Summer Series” takes a closer look at what the members of the Canisius men’s basketball team are doing to prepare for the upcoming season.
The summer of 2013 is the second offseason where teams are permitted to work out as a group with coaches, per NCAA rules. In January 2012, the NCAA approved a summer access model that allows an entering or continuing men’s basketball student-athlete a maximum of eight hours of athletics activities per week during the summer in which institutional staff members may conduct or supervise. Of that, no more than two hours can involve skill-related instruction, for a maximum of eight weeks. Think of these workout sessions along the same line of NFL mini-camp.
The Golden Griffins were able to work out as a full team during the first summer session at the College this year, which ran from May 20-June 20. During that time period, all but one of the members of the 2013-14 roster took part in team workouts and weight lifting sessions. The only member who was unable to work out with the team was freshman forward Jermaine Crumpton, who was not eligible to participate with the team because Niagara Falls High School did not hold its graduation ceremonies until June 21.
Since June 20, players have been working on their games on their own. Senior guard Billy Baron has used this summer to drop 15 pounds, develop his left-hand skill level and he’s worked on creating his own shot.
“I’ve really focused on creating my own shot and I’ve worked on a bit of a floater as I get into the lane,” Baron said. “I’ve also really focused on understanding the game better, knowing when to drive and kick, when to shoot, the metal aspect of the game.”
Fellow senior Chris Manhertz has focused his summer on being more of an offensive threat. The Bronx, N.Y., native averaged 7.6 points per game last year to go along with his team-high 8.7 rebounds per outing.
“I am looking to make my game more well-rounded,” Manhertz said. “I’ve focused on my jump shot and being able to put the ball on the floor as well.”
The returning veterans are not the only players working on their games this summer. Junior transfer guard Jeremiah Williams was able to work with the team in the team practice sessions during the first summer class block, and he said that time on the court with his future teammates showed him the up-tempo style the Griffs play firsthand.
“Being able to work with the team showed me that I needed to work on my fitness and ball-handling,” Williams said. “Coach Baron likes us to get up-and-down, and at my last school [Vincennes University] we were a bit slower tempo and we ran more set stuff on offense.”
Williams said he has really worked on his ball-handling skills, and he can be seen most days dribbling two balls at one time around the gym floor in the Koessler Athletic Center. He said he also learned that being in shape at the Division I level is a bit different as well.“I thought I was in pretty good shape when I got on campus, but I learned quickly that you need to be in really, really good shape, so there’s been a lot of running on my own as well,” Williams said.