CHATTANOOGA (WRCB) -- Will Wade's first month on the job at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga has been spent getting to know his current players while hitting the recruiting trail to find new ones.
Unfortunately that means most of his interaction with the Mocs' returning roster has been by phone, especially with long-distance guys like Gee McGhee and Casey Jones, who live in Louisiana.
"We have some great guys with some great personalities. They're definitely a lively and enthusiastic bunch," Wade said, noting with a laugh that he still needs help translating some of McGhee's unique lingo.
"More than anything, though, they are hungry and ready to work. I can't wait to get out there with them and put those deposits in the bank, so to speak, so we can make those withdrawals during the season."
Wade will finally get to know his team in person and see what it can do on the court when UTC opens offseason workouts Wednesday. The NCAA allows coaches two hours per week outside of conditioning to work with each player.
Wade's plan is to split that time across three 40-minute sessions -- one individual, one players of the same position and one full team -- while taking small steps towards building a relationship with his roster.
"Just getting on the court and sweating with our guys, working with them and showing them what are expectations are, it's so important," Wade said. "They need to get an understanding of what to expect from us and how we're going to operate on the court."
While conditioning may be the most important starting block for Wade's new up-tempo "Chaos" scheme, he also has three main points of emphasis for his allotted summer drills.
"We're focusing on our half-court defense and create better habits in the half-court. We're going to work on our full-court defense with some pressing, and we're going to work on our shooting," Wade said. "Our main emphasis will be in those three areas, starting at the basics to build something up. Then in the fall, once we have this foundation, we can put the rest of the system in."
School officials confirmed Tuesday that forwards Jared Bryant and Sam Watson will not go through workouts with the team. Both players are no longer with the team and have plans to transfer.
Bryant, a 6-foot-7, 240-pound rising sophomore from Cincinnati, Ohio, averaged 2.8 points and 2.5 rebounds while playing in 60 games over the past two years. He scored a career-high 14 points in his lone collegiate start against Hiwassee as a freshman in December of 2011.
Watson, a 6-foot-7, 245-pound rising junior from Farragut, averaged 2.1 points and 2.4 rebounds in 86 games across the last three years. He started eleven games as a freshman while playing his first two seasons as a walk-on before earning a scholarship last year.
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