Twenty days and six hours from now, we'll be watching UALR's season opener against North Florida.
Things should start to intensify at UALR practice this week. Over the weekend, UALR traveled to a neutral site to take on Tennessee Tech in a closed scrimmage. This week, UALR will work out the kinks from that scrimmage and prepare for scrimmage No. 2 against Ole Miss.
NCAA rules prohibit UALR Coach Steve Shields from talking about the results of the scrimmage games. We asked him at this point what the biggest deficit his team has at this point.
"Definitely rebounding," Shields said.
There are some capable rebounders on the roster. But there doesn't appear to be a guy who has the mindset to go and get the ball every time it hits the rim. There just isn't a Rashad Jones-Jennings on this year's roster.
Since JJ isn't walking through that door, UALR's going to have to do better from a team rebounding standpoint. That means getting a body on body to block out on the defensive end. And having a little more desire to hunt the ball after a missed shot on the offensive end.
In the three games in Canada, junior Gus Leeper led UALR with 18 rebounds (6.0 per game), while senior Will Neighbour had 17 rebounds (5.7 per game). Sophomore James White had 15 (5.0 per game) and freshman Maurius Hill had 10 (3.3 per game). Those are all forwards and they should be getting rebounds. But what about the guards?
Sophomore Josh Hagins had 16 (5.3 per game). But no other guard reached double figures in rebounding for the three games combined. That's not enough help from the guard spot.