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Commodores ready for preseason basketball scrimmage

November 4, 2012  23:17 PM

Jason Shoot/News Herald Staff

PANAMA CITY — Jay Powell knows what to expect of his team in the controlled setting that is the Billy Harrison Field House.

Saturday he gets to see what they look like in a different environment.

The Gulf Coast men’s basketball team is traveling to Tallahassee to play against three other teams in preseason scrimmages at the Eagledome. The Commodores play Florida State University-Jacksonville at 9 a.m. CDT, Pasco-Hernando at noon and Gordon College (Ga.) at 4.

“We are excited,” Powell said. “The men are excited, and I’m excited as a coach to see the team and the other teams, most of which we play this year. Plus, all the Panhandle teams are going to be there. … The men are excited to play someone else.

“They’ve been practicing eight hours a week since school began. And all of them were here for at least one summer session, so they’ve been practicing eight hours a week since the summer. It’s nice to go against someone you will not be cheering for all season long.”

Each scrimmage will implement a 23-minute running clock, and the competing teams will play two halves. The clock will pause during any stoppages in the final minute of the second half.

Powell said he intends to rotate lineups every four or five minutes, and he will go with the five players “who are playing the best” over the scrimmage’s final five or six minutes.

“If Saturday goes well or Saturday goes poorly, you don’t want to take too much stock in it,” Powell said. “This is a building block for where we want to be when the season begins on Nov. 2. … We like to try to mix and match and make sure we find the right combination.”

Powell expects to find out a thing or two about the Commodores’ rivals in the Panhandle, too, although he noted that what he learns may be rather limited.

“No teams will have their final, polished product on the floor,” he said, “but you get an idea of what teams are trying to do and personnel-wise see their strengths and weaknesses.”

GC returns five sophomores from last year’s squad. Powell has a general sense already of what his starting five will look like, but he noted that nothing is settled yet in that regard.

“For the sake of the freshmen, we’ll go into the scrimmage open-minded,” he said. “I try to remember that the sophomores should’ve been working harder because they know what to expect. The freshmen are getting used to the work required to play college basketball and might not look as good in practice.”

The Commodores will play in one more scrimmage before the regular season begins. They travel to Columbus, Ga., on Oct. 13.

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