CHATTANOOGA (WRCB) -- The countdown to "Chaos" is nearing its end in Chattanooga.
The University of Tennessee at Chattanooga men's basketball team will tip-off the 2013-14 season next Friday at McKenzie Arena in a doubleheader with the Lady Mocs, marking the highly-anticipated debut of the Will Wade era.
While his new up-tempo, full-court scheme intends to create chaos for opponents, its installation has been closely calculated through the Mocs first month of practice.
And closely critiqued.
"Everything we do is about effort and we grade that every that on an effort chart," Wade said. "Deflections, back-tips or back-pressures on defense. Offensive rebounds and what we call transition assists on offense. Those are the things we're looking for.
"Or just great plays. I'll call out that's a great play and give that guy a point."
Wade says he has called Casey Jones' name more than most this preseason.
The sophomore guard missed much of his first season at UTC with a knee injury, but he's quickly earning a large role in Wade's new scheme.
"He's been at the top of the effort chart or in the top two just about every day," Wade said of the Louisiana native. "He's tailor-made for what we're doing. He's built for what we're doing. He's totally bought in.
"He's been awesome."
It hasn't all been a smooth transition, though.
One of the toughest adjustments for players at nearly every position in the fast-paced plan has been knowing when they're actually supposed to slow it down.
"That's the tricky part," Wade admitted. "We get going so fast and then on offense we start doing what we want the other team to do right now, which is play fast and spray it everywhere and turn it over.
"At some point we have to know to slow it down, bring it back and run what we run and trust what we do."
Wade and his staff have worked hard to build that trust, not only in his system but in their relationship with the players.
The first-year head coach tries to keep it unpredictable in practice, using a variety of drills and training sessions to establish the team's new all-out, all-the-time identity. In fact, Wade brought in a Navy SEAL to lead three days of training that has since garnered attention from major news outlets online.
It's all designed to push the boundaries of what the Mocs believe they can achieve. So far, the results have been off the effort charts.
There's no such thing as luck. We make our own breaks and we make our own luck, so go make a play," Wade said. "Certainly those effort plays and hustle plays are ones that can change the momentum of a game or stem the tide of a game."
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