The Lipscomb coaching staff has allowed me to travel, eat, and stay with their team as they prepare to face your Kentucky Wildcats in Rupp Arena. As a Lipscomb graduate and a Kentucky fan, it doesn’t get much better than this.
I want to structure this as a running diary. Within that diary I’ll attempt to describe how a team like Lipscomb, a school with 176 division one wins, prepares to take on the all time winningest program in division one college basketball.
Welcome to Part 2 of the “Traveling with the Enemy” series. If you missed part 1, click here.
Part 2: Film session, Scouting Report, Shootaround/Practice, Dinner
Friday, December 14th
5:10- I arrive to Coach Sanderson’s room for Lipscomb’s film and scouting report session. Before it gets started, everyone pauses for a moment of prayer for the victims of the school shooting in Connecticut.
5:15- Due to agreements I made with the coaching staff when they allowed me to tag along, I will not be sharing any details of the scouting report or anything that is said to the team in private. Imagine what your scouting report would be on Kentucky and that’s what Coach Senters had put together. He just uses cooler basketball lingo than you or I would when he delivers it. For instance, he calls catching it in the panit and pump faking an “And one opportunity.”
I must say “And one opportunity” is my new favorite phrase and I will try to incorporate it into my daily life. When a friend invites me to do something I think someone else would also enjoy, I will ask if I can invite them along for this “And one opportunity.” When a friend is pregnant and they don’t know if it’s twins, that is an “And one opportunity.” Next time I play a golf scramble I will certainly buy a mulligan, or as I call it, an “And one opportunity.”
5:25- As the film session is rolling along, Coach Senters begins to have trouble with his computer. It won’t play the video how he would like it to. He states “I need an I.T. class.”
In the background a player says “No you don’t. That class is hard.”
Agree to agree.
5:45- The film session ends with a pep talk from Coach Sanderson, and everyone head from his room over to Rupp Arena for the shoot around/practice.
5:50- I call it a shoot around/practice because they call it a shoot round, but to me it’s more like a practice. The players broke a sweat. When I think about “shooting around”, I think about horse. You don’t sweat during horse. If you practice, you sweat. Sweat happened tonight in Rupp Arena.
6:15 pm- Lipscomb ran through all of their offensive sets during the practice. They were all named after prominent cities or states belonging to our fine nation. Even if I knew what they were called or what they meant, I couldn’t tell you. I’m contractually obliged. But to be honest, it happened fast and my knowledge of flex cuts is limited enough that I was thoroughly confused by the whole thing. It looked really smooth in a five on zero setting, though.
6:25 pm- The practice in Rupp Arena is one of the coolest experiences I’ve ever had. I’ve never been able to roam freely around and on the court in Rupp. I joked on twitter that both 10 year old and current Aaron Flener were both freaking out about this experience.
I spent a majority of my time talking with Dave “Buzz” Baker, a friend of KSR. He took some light hearted shots at Matt. He told me I was a better dresser than Matt and that he was glad someone from KSR was “working on a game weekend.” Dave is calling the game with Larry Conley. They were at the practice doing some recon on Lipscomb before Dave had to head out to chaperone a middle school dance. That is not a joke.
6:45 pm- Being around the SEC for years and years, Larry and Dave both know Coach Sanderson’s dad, Wimp. Dave loved watching Scott coach during the shoot around. He called him “Wimp on five hour energy.” Coach Sanderson was very vocal with his team, and the team was chattering away as well.
7:05 pm- As players are coming on and off the court during drills, I take the opportunity to talk to a few of them. Malcolm Smith will be playing his first game in goggles against UK. He got hit in the face by the ball in their last game. I asked him if if the goggles made it tougher. He said it did but “I don’t care what they make me wear as long as they let me play.” I made a note to run to the ballerina store and get this man a tutu.
7:15 pm- To close every shoot around, Lipscomb’s players and Coach Senters each take one half court shot. If the players make it, Coach Senters has to buy them dessert at dinner. The first 10 guys missed and it was Carter Sanderson’s turn. He rips the net. And this is the dessert he was later rewarded with.
It was the saddest excuse for a dessert that I’ve ever seen. The picture doesn’t even do it justice. It’s smaller in real life. If you ever get the chance to order the “mini bucket” at Logan’s, go ahead and pass.
7:20 pm- Shootaround/Practice is over and as the players are changing, every other person in the arena (including myself) has grabbed a basketball and a friend. A basketball to shoot and a friend to take the picture. I don’t get many opportunities to get up shots in Rupp, so I trotted out to put up a couple jumpers. I started with a free throw. I’m happy to report that I’m 1/1 at the line in Rupp Arena while wearing cowboy boots. Look at this sweet left.
7:30 pm- After everyone finished their photo ops, we headed to Logan’s for dinner. Just like with lunch, our food was coming out as we walked in. I could really get used to this. The highlight of dinner was most definitely Carter’s disappointing dessert, but also of note is a conversation I heard coming from the table to my left.I heard somebody say Andrew Wiggins. As a UK fan, I naturally turned to said person. The table beside me was talking about how Andrew Wiggins had reclassified. I didn’t ask, but I assumed at that point we had some KSR readers on the Lipscomb squad.8:30 pm- Back in the hotel lobby, the team is given their directions for the next 10 hours. Be in the room by 10:30 p.m.. Be at breakfast at 8:30 a.m. Gotcha, coach.
My final words to you before the game are these: Lipscomb believes they are going to win this game. Sure, it’s unlikely. But why shouldn’t they believe that? If anyone is going to believe it, it’s got to be them. What are they doing here if they don’t believe that? Watching them prepare has been a very interesting experience and I’m glad to be a part of it.
I’ll be on the radio with Matt & Drew around 10:40 to talk about the trip. Tune in. There should be a link in a post around this one. Go basketball!