Cross, Trojans gearing up for start of season

Published 6:15 pm Wednesday, October 9, 2019

The Troy Trojan basketball team is less than a month away from officially opening the Scott Cross era at Trojan Arena.

Cross was named Troy’s head coach after former coach Phil Cunningham was relieved of his duties in March and became assistant head coach at Western Kentucky.

Cross and the Trojans have been working for around four hours a day trying to get acclimated heading into the season opener on November 7 against UAB.

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“Since the NCAA changed its rules, we basically get four hours all spring and all summer,” Cross said. “That kind of gets you acclimated a little more, but still it’s never enough time to put everything in.”

The Trojans participated in a defensive boot camp two weeks ago, a camp that featured plenty of work and competition.

“I think we started at 5:56 in the morning and we did that for an hour each morning. Then we had a challenge right afterwards,” Cross said. “They’re racing against their teammates and competing. It went really well. The guys made it through the entire week. Nobody quit and nobody got injured so that was a blessing. I think it definitely toughened them up, so it got them ready.”

During camp, the Trojans did not touch a basketball. They did that for the first time last week. Since then, the defense has taken a step forward with the offense still trying to find their rhythm, a common problem in the early going of practice.

“It was a little sloppy as expected. The defense was way ahead of the offense, which is the way I prefer it,” Cross said. “I was frustrated at times with the carelessness and the turnovers and the missing of shots, but I think our defense is really good at this point of the season, so we just have to continue to build.”

Cross takes pride in a well-performing defense. While his defense took a step forward in week one of practice, he feels like his offense is starting to find it’s groove.

“When I broke the huddle today (Tuesday) I told the guys ‘I’m fired up,’” Cross said. “That was the best day offensively I have seen all year. Now I need to go back and watch film and see how bad our defense was. Honestly I think the guys were playing hard and were being energetic. I think the offense was just a little bit better today.”

Cross’s roster will include a mixed of new and experienced roster. The roster includes five juniors and one senior.

“It’s all their first year to play with me, so that’s new for them, but I think we do have pretty good team chemistry,” Cross said. “I think the guys like each other. There is no selfishness on the floor that I can see. So those are all fun as a coach when teams play together and they’re tough.”

The Trojans will use the rest of this week hammering the final details of their playbook, including out-of-bounds plays.

“Hopefully by Friday we’ll have just about everything put in in terms of where we can play games. Sideline, out-of-bounds, baseline out-of-bounds, press offense, our presses, our defenses.”

The Trojans will have a pair of closed scrimmages against Stephen F. Austin and Auburn.

“That’s when you really kind of know where you stand after playing those closed scrimmages because you’re playing other quality Division I teams. Auburn was in the Final Four, so we’ll know exactly where we are after playing against them.”