BOZEMAN — On Monday, the Montana State men’s basketball team was able to finally practice on its home court.
“It’s been awesome just to get back in the gym with these guys," said head coach Danny Sprinkle. "There’s still the restrictions, you got the masks, we can’t play one-on-one or two-on-two. Everybody’s got to keep a distance.”
Practicing at home or at the park during the shutdown, players can forget to work on a big aspect of the game.
“You can tell that the guys haven't done anything defensively in about five months,” Sprinkle said.
Now that the team is back on the court, the Bobcats have a few guidelines they must abide by.
“They have to check in at a certain entrance here in the fieldhouse," said Sprinkle. "They all have to come in at the same entrance, they have to get their temperature checked, they got to answer questions, they have no access to our locker room. They basically all got to go out a different door, so that way athletes aren’t running into each other going in and out the same door.”
Also, they must be wearing a mask at all times.
“Whenever they’re in close quarters they know they have to have it on," said Sprinkle. "Obviously with the workouts, the way we try to design them, they’re not getting within six feet of each other or six feet of a coach. They’ve done a good job. They’re pretty much used to it now from lifting and conditioning with it on.”
But it also has a minor downside when they’re trying to communicate.
“Sometimes we’re yelling at them to be louder and you forget, 'Oh, they got a mask on, you probably can’t hear them,'” Sprinkle said.
Will all that has gone on this offseason in regards to COVID-19 and peaceful protests, the team has a one-word motto: Embrace. That word was was on a shirt given to all coaches and players and Sprinkle had the shirt on during the interview
“It’s embracing each other, races, our differences, embracing each other, embracing the grind, embracing the weight room, embracing the opportunity to be here right now,” he said.