Lonergan on extra practices: 'Terrible idea'

Lonergan on extra practices: 'Terrible idea'
November 15, 2013, 12:15 pm
Share This Post

College basketball opened its practice doors this season on September 27, six weeks before the games tipped off.

Some coaches, like Georgetown's John Thompson, are waiting to render a cost-benefit verdict on the earlier-than-usual start.

George Washington's Mike Lonergan doesn't need more evidence before rendering a decision on the rule change: Terrible with a capital T.

Before this season, practices began in mid-October. It's not that teams worked out together more than before this year, but the 30 practice sessions could take place over a 42-day period.

Thompson laid out some of the pros and cons when asked about the matter during a conference call on Thursday for next week's Puerto Rico tip-off. Georgetown, runaway winners over Wright State on Wednesday, plays three games in four days starting with Northeastern on November 21.

"I think we'll see as the year plays out," Thompson said. "What it enabled at least us to do is slow a few things down, do a little more teaching instead of trying to cram everything in at a rapid pace. But still, there's always the worry of it's such a long season, how and if -- we'll see if it affects you on the back end."

Lonergan wasn't quite as measured on the subject when speaking last month during the Colonials media day

"I think it's a terrible rule change, to be honest with you," GW's third-year coach said. "As a player, I always looked forward to October 15. As a coach that was a sacred date. ...I don't think it's good, especially for our young guys. You want them to get used to being a student especially at a prestigious university like this and they start right away, September 27. I'm against it."

Lonergan said he eased the players into the new scenario, sprinkling in off days between practices, though his concern extends beyond the court.

"It was already a 40 percent transfer rate, 10 percent a year," Lonergan continued. "The graduation rate isn't as high as it should be in men's college basketball.

"I don't know who made the decision but I'm totally against it."

Even though the Colonials are 2-0 on the young season, including an impressive 108-81 rout over Maine, Lonergan hasn't altered his take though it sounded a touch milder when the matter came up this week during a conference call for the Thanksgiving week Wooden Legacy Tournament.

"Yeah, I'm kind of against that new rule, though. I think it makes for too long a season, and I like that we already had two hours of work with the guys a week. But October 15th used to be a sacred date for players and coaches, so I really wish that was still the real start date."

The Colonials play at Manhattan on Saturday and host Delaware State on Tuesday before heading to Anaheim for three games in the Wooden Classic. George Washington opens against Miami (Fl.) on November 28.