UO Basketball Coaches Prep For Unusual Season
The University of Oregon men’s and women’s basketball teams are preparing for their abbreviated seasons, after the Pac-12 announced last week that games will be played this fall and winter. Schedules are still being finalized, but this season will be shorter for both teams, and brings complications from the coronavirus pandemic.
In advance of full practices beginning in mid-October, coaches say players are adhering to strict COVID-19 protocols.
In a virtual press call on Wednesday, Women’s coach Kelly Graves said his student athletes came back to town last weekend and now are isolating. He said “we’ve communicated I think really well with our team and we’ve given them the local numbers in terms of COVID and we’ve continued to reinforce that they are supposed to be doing what they are supposed to be doing.”
Graves also says that while players are constantly being reminded of the importance of protecting themselves and others from the coronavirus, he hopes the community will do its part in keeping local numbers at a manageable level. "Lane County, come on man, people around here gotta start taking care of business or we’re going back to Phase 1 and who knows how that will affect us, so you know, it’s still up in the air a little bit,” said Graves.
Men’s coach Dana Altman said “I hope our student athletes understand that they are going to get an opportunity, that they’ve got to have some self-discipline.”
In addition to COVID-19 concerns, Altman said he's worried about the lack of prep time contributing to a greater potential for injury since players have missed out on months of contact playing. "Our guys are used to playing pick-up games all summer- they've had none of that”, said Altman. “March, April, May-all the gyms were shut down. June, July, August-guys can’t get together and play. So, you can imagine how a basketball player- how they are conditioning.” Altman said “you start and chances for injury go way up if you’re not in great shape- and if you haven’t been doing a lot for six months- so we’re going to take it really slow.” While he said the team won’t be in a hurry, “there will be a lot of conditioning.”
Altman said, “hopefully we’ll be able to move forward without too many glitches, but we are gonna have some. There are going to be bumps in the road and we’re gonna have to be really flexible and our team is going to have to be really disciplined and really flexible with the ups and downs of a season.”
The men’s and women’s teams begin competition on November 25th. Fans will not be allowed at any Pac-12 sports for the foreseeable future.
Copyright KLCC, 2020