Friday, May 20, 2011

SPORTS>>UALR star no shock to coach

UALR Sports Information

UALR alum Chastity Reed began training camp with the WNBA Tulsa Shock on Sunday, and coach Nolan Richardson took time out of his schedule to answer questions about training camp and Reed.

The former Arkansas men’s coach who won a national championship against Duke in 1994 and led his team to a second final in 1995, said he is still trying to instill the kind of hustle that was a hallmark of his college teams.

“Training camp is not an easy thing to go through, simply because we put in some work about an hour and forty-five minutes every day,” Richardson said. “A lot of running is involved simply because we are a running basketball team. The things we do teaches these young ladies what kind of offensive we are trying to run.”

The Shock may be a professional team, but that doesn’t meant he women are above working on fundamentals while trying to improve one key statistic from last season.

“We were very poor in rebounding last year, so we are making conscious efforts to add drills to work on that,” Richardson said. “We are working on ball handling, shooting the basketball, and just getting ourselves in physical shape, so that we can be ready for season. We have about three weeks before we open up with an exhibition in Seattle.”

Richardson said he has enjoyed coaching Reed because of her work ethic and skill, though she still has areas in which she can improve.

“There are some other points we will have to refine, but from a standpoint of giving it all that she’s got, she is a joy to coach,” Richardson said. “Whatever you tell her to do, she is going to work at it and work hard on it.”

Reed finished as UALR’s all-time leading scorer but the defense she learned under coach Joe Foley is why Reed is with the Shock, Richardson said.

“That’s why we picked her,” he said. “I watched her play last year, and I watched her play this year. One of the things I picked up was that she will get after you on the defensive end..”

Thanks to Foley, Richardson said, Reed had something of a head start when it comes to being ready for the WNBA.

“My hat is off to Coach Foley for making her at least come into the league knowing that she can stop somebody,” Richardson said. “That is important. A lot of young ladies probably base all of their game on their offense. Then their defense doesn’t pay off.

“At least if you can start off and play some defense, that means at least you have something going for you immediately. I like my team to get after it and play the defensive end just as hard as the offensive end.”

The final roster has to be set on June 2 with and there are approximately four roster cuts still to make.