Purple Palooza behind them, basketball teams in final week of preparation

Purple Palooza behind them, basketball teams in final week of preparation


COOKEVILLE, Tenn. – With the opening games of the regular season just over a week away, the Tennessee Tech basketball teams have entered their final week of preparations for the 2012-13 season.

For first-year coach Jim Davis’ squad, the week ahead will include an exhibition game Monday night against Lee University, with tipoff in Eblen Center at 7 p.m.

The regular season for both teams gets underway on Saturday, Nov. 10, with a doubleheader. Following the Golden Eagle final home football game in the afternoon, the Tech women will host Tennessee Wesleyan at 6 p.m. while the Golden Eagle men entertain Crowley’s Ridge at 8 p.m.

Season tickets are on sale at the Athletics Ticket Office in Eblen Center or by calling (931) 372-3940. Tickets may also be purchased online at TTUsports.com.

The teams have been going through very spirited workouts for weeks, highlighted last week by the first Purple Palooza, a free event that drew more than 1,200 fans for their first look at the two squads. The night featured intrasquad scrimmages for each team, a 3-point shooting contest and a slam dunk contest.

“We had a great turnout for the first time,” Payne said. “I hope we can both have great seasons, men and women, and next year we can double this crowd. I know there’s a lot of people that support Tennessee Tech in our area, and we appreciate that support and growing that support. It was a fantastic evening.”

Davis concurred, “This was outstanding. It was a fun evening for our team, and the guys team looked like they were having fun too. It was a fun time, and I think the young ladies got a feel for what Tennessee Tech and the Upper Cumberland is all about in terms of fan support.”

In the highlight of the night, a tie was declared in the slam dunk contest after freshman Anthony Morse completed a through-the-legs slam, and sophomore Javon McKay leaped over 7-foot freshman Eric Weisenbach for his dunk.

With the fun of Purple Palooza behind them, both teams are gearing up to face other teams.

“Right now I’m looking forward to the first game,” Davis said. “Its an old adage in the coaching business that you take it one game at a time, and right now I’m looking forward to the first game. After that, I’ll be looking forward to the second game.”

Payne said the mission for his team over the final week of preparation to get healthy and continue to mesh his personnel on a roster with so many newcomers.

"We've got a lot to accomplish still,” Payne said. “We're not even close right now to being ready with our youth and the injuries we've had. It's an ongoing process any year, but especially this year.

“We're trying to be really good at our first two steps in order to get to our third step,” Payne added. “Maybe in some other years at this time we'd already be at level three or four, but we're not this year. I don't know that we will be when we start our first game, but that has been because of our age and the injuries we've sustained. It has delayed the development a bit, but it' has also given us a chance to get some young guys some meaningful reps in practice."