Sac State men’s basketball team remains prepared despite uncertain start date

Hornets have been training since mid-July for potential season

Sara Nevis

Jordan Latimore

The Sacramento State men’s basketball team is in full-swing of training in anticipation of a season that could begin as soon as late November, according to a statement by NCAA.

RELATED: Sac State men’s, women’s basketball teams could begin seasons Nov. 25

The team has been engaged in activities since as early as mid-July, but state and university guidelines relating to the coronavirus have forced adjustments to the way practice and conditioning sessions are carried out, including the wearing of masks and spaced out group activity, head coach Brian Katz said.

“In the sport that we play with all the jumping, running and conditioning we have to do, wearing a mask on top of that is tough,” junior forward Samaad Hector said. “[But in the] life of an athlete, you’re going to get hit with adversity, and you’re just going to have to get through it.”

Since the summer began, the team has had to find locations on the fly to prepare, even turning to having training sessions on the concrete basketball courts behind the Sac State student living area, Katz said.

“We told our guys, our staff and players, we have to be nimble, flexible and creative, and I think we’ve done that,” Katz said. “We’ve had guys come in during the summer and been working out outside on the dorm courts.”

Players said the unorthodox training regimen has had an impact on them, but they have a firm belief that adversity will only contribute to their preparation for the upcoming season.

Freshman guard Teiano Hardee and freshman forward David Jones racing with tied weights. Sophmore Guard Jalen Townsell trails behind them. (Jordan Latimore)

“It’s definitely been unordinary, not a lot of teams are doing what we do,” senior guard William Fitzpatrick said. 

Players also acknowledged the sheer potential of season as being a factor of motivation for the group.

“Just knowing the season might be around the corner, it just makes you wanna stay ready,” junior guard Deshaun Higher said. “It feels good to be out there with the team again.”

Katz said he credited much of the team’s motivation and focus during these workouts to being away from the game for such an unprecedented amount of time.

“I’ve never seen a group of guys more excited to go run on a track,” Katz said. “It’s challenging, but every year is challenging, [and] I think we’ve done a good job.”

The Hornets are still waiting on an official announcement from the Big Sky on the format for conference play, but a season is expected to take place late November, Katz said.