UALR looks to be more offensive on trip north of the border

Jack Simpson Gymnasium in Calgary
UALR continues preparations for next week's trip to Canada with Practice No. 7 of 10 today.

UALR travels to Calgary, Alberta, Canada, next week where the Trojans will take on Calgary on Thursday, Alberta on Friday and Calgary on Saturday.

The NCAA allows teams taking summer trips to practice 10 times in preparation for the games. After practice today, UALR will use up practices 8, 9 and 10 on Sunday, Monday and Tuesday. The Trojans will then take the flight to Calgary on Wednesday.

It's difficult to know what to expect from the Trojans during these games. It's uncharted territory, being the first time UALR has taken a summer trip. But UALR Coach Steve Shields has taken a different than normal approach to these extra practices.

"I think it's been good," Shields told Burn The Horse this afternoon. "We've been trying to work a lot to become more comfortable offensively. We want our offense to be ahead of our defense."

That's pretty much the opposite approach to Shields' teams during his 11 years with UALR. Just don't think that means defense won't be a focus when official practice begins in October. At least for now, it's been a positive. Shields said the ball movement within the offense has been better than at any point last year.

Some of that credit has to go to the point guards: sophomore Josh Hagins and juniors Devonte Smith and J.T. Thomas. By the way, Thomas has returned from injury and is practicing again.

More notes leading up to next week's trip:
  • Senior guard Leroy Isler has missed some practices with an injury. He will travel with the Trojans to Canada but a decision has not yet been made on whether or not he'll be available.
  • Freshman forward Andrew Poulter is not expected to make the trip due to injury.
  • UALR will wear practice uniforms for the trip. That's pretty standard among U.S. teams taking these trips.