Wright State freshmen jumping into fray during summer workouts

On the bus ride to play two of the biggest games of his life, Malachi Smith had his mind – and his eyes – on another team.

It was Thursday afternoon, March 15, and Smith and his Belleville West (Ill.) High School teammates were on the bus heading to Peoria for the state tournament. At the same time, Wright State was playing Tennesseein the NCAA tournament, and Smith was glued to the game on his phone.

“A bunch of guys were crowding around asking, ‘Who you watching?’” Smith recalled. “I said, ‘That’s my team!’”

Skyelar Potter also watched the game with a group of people and made sure everyone around him knew who it was.

“I was like that’s my team,” he said. “That’s me. I’m going there. We’re going again next year, back-to-back.”

Follow Jay Morrison on Twitter

Though recruiting visits, signing day ceremonies and social media interactions with the upperclassmen, incoming freshman feel a part of the program long before move to campus.

But for Smith, Potter and Grant Basile, the official start to their Wright State careers was Tuesday when the three freshmen took part in their first team workout at the Setzer Pavilion.

“The speed of the game and the quickness of decision making, it’s a different level,” Basile said after the workout. “But it’s fun. It’s exciting.”

›› ARCHDEACON: ‘Billy Buckets’ eager to make name for himself at WSU

Basile is a 6-foot-8 post player, while Smith and Potter are guards.

And with just 10 players practicing due to the team having two open scholarships and junior guard Alan Vest recovering from offseason surgery, all three freshmen got plenty of action and made a good first impression.

“They’re really good players, and I think everybody, between the coaching staff and us, are really excited about them,” senior/graduate student Parker Ernsthausen said.

“I see all these young guys in the locker room and just thinking wow, I was there four years ago,” senior guard Mark Hughes added. “ I remember how I felt coming into my first workouts all nervous and stuff because I didn’t know what to expect. We’re just taking them under our wing and telling them that it’s going to be a long summer and it’s a chance for us to get better and for them to improve their game. We’re going to need them to get better and they’ve got to get better for us.”

›› NCAA tournament appearance makes scheduling difficult for Wright State

The team is schedule to practice and work out in the weight room Tuesday through Friday this week. And there will be a few more sessions before the official start of practice in October.

And each time the team gets together, the focus will be on the three freshmen and getting them up to speed.

“Primarily this is for the young guys to get used to what we do offensively,” coach Scott Nagy said. “For the older guys, so much of what we do is habit now. For these (freshmen) it’s so brand new, and it’s hard to be a good player because you have to think about every step you take.

“What we’re doing now is just our regular motion,” Nagy continued. “There’s no set (plays) to it. They just need to be players. There’s certain cuts and things like that that we don’t want. For the most part it’s just learning how to be a good basketball player within motion.”

Like Jay Morrison on Facebook

And the veterans on the team are prepared to help with the process each step of the way.

“We’re just trying to find a balance between letting them figure it out on their own, because that’s important, but at the same time kind of guiding them to the destination of where they need to be,” Ernsthausen said. “I think they’re well on their way already, so the rest of the summer will be good for that. It’s just basketball at the end of the day and they’ll get it.”

Reader Comments

Next Up in Sports

Tulsa latest challenging opponent for Dayton Flyers
Tulsa latest challenging opponent for Dayton Flyers

Most Dayton Flyers fans will have no interest in revisiting their team’s last matchup with Tulsa. For the brave few, keep reading. In 2003, Dayton received a No. 4 seed — then and now its highest placement — in the NCAA tournament. On the downside, it had to travel across the country to Spokane, Wash., to play No. 13 seed Tulsa. The...
Dayton vs. Tulsa: What you need to know about Sunday’s game
Dayton vs. Tulsa: What you need to know about Sunday’s game

Who: Dayton (5-4) vs. Tulsa (8-3) What: Basketball Hall of Fame Holiday Showcase When: 3:30 p.m. Saturday Where: Mohegan Sun Arena, Uncasville, Ct. TV/Radio: CBS Sports Network/ AM 1290, News 95.7 WHIO » FOLLOW THE FLYERS: All the links you need for the season in one place Probable Dayton starters Josh Cunningham, 6-8, R-Sr., 14.7...
Ohio State players describe finding out Urban Meyer is retiring, what made him successful
Ohio State players describe finding out Urban Meyer is retiring, what made him successful

Some Buckeyes were caught off guard by Urban Meyer’s announcement he will retire from coaching Ohio State after the Rose Bowl. Others not so much. Robert Landers said the Dec. 4 announcement, “was kind of out of nowhere,” and Chris Olave recalled having no idea what was in store when the team gathered at the Woody Hayes Athletic...
Disciplined Springfield earns hard-fought win at Centerville
Disciplined Springfield earns hard-fought win at Centerville

Springfield High School boys basketball coach Isaiah Carson knew the key to beating rival Centerville was playing disciplined — especially on the defensive end of the floor. The Wildcats had to stay structured in the paint against Centerville 6-foot-9 post player Mo Njie, who stood four inches taller than any player on Springfield’s roster...
GWOC boys hoop: Davis leads unbeaten Trotwood-Madison over Xenia
GWOC boys hoop: Davis leads unbeaten Trotwood-Madison over Xenia

It was basketball business as usual at Trotwood-Madison High School on Friday night. For 32 high-flying minutes, all was right in the Rams’ world, even if it otherwise isn’t. “One of the players when we were coming out said, hey, GWOC, let’s show them,” Trotwood boys coach Rocky Rockhold said. “That’s not me...
More Stories