The Long Beach State men’s basketball team is back to practicing and preparing for its upcoming season on a different court.
Currently practicing on the Rhodes Tennis Center, men’s basketball is unable to practice in their usual setting of the Walter Pyramid as play indoors has not been approved due to coronavirus restrictions implemented by the National Collegiate Athletic Association.
Despite this, the team is making do with the situation to prepare for their season opener on Dec. 27 at University of California, Riverside.
“[The coaches] have been killing us with the conditioning, but we need it with the time we have,” junior guard Chance Hunter said. “I feel we’re going 100% and just getting ready as fast as we can for the season.”
The team practices from Monday through Friday starting with conditioning from 1 p.m. to 2 p.m. Then, from 2:15 p.m to 3:30 p.m., the team practices or does individual-based workouts.
Practicing outside can sometimes be difficult for Hunter and the team due to elements such as the wind altering shot attempts.
“It’s just something that now you now have to do a little more of a mental approach,” Hunter said. “If we really want to be out here, then we have to deal with it.”
One of the players Hunter has worked with over the off-season is senior guard Isaiah Washington, who transferred from Iona College in New Rochelle, New York. Just like all the members on the men’s basketball team, Hunter said Washington’s goal is to win the Big West Conference.
“He’s just ready to buy what the team has to offer,” Hunter said.
In addition to Washington, Hunter said the rest of the new players at the Beach will help strengthen the bond that the team has already built from last year.
“I feel like the new guys mesh perfectly with us [returning players], and the bonding experience we have with each other is different than most teams,” Hunter said.
Coach Dan Monson said he’s excited for the upcoming season and is pleased with the schedule that has been released. He said that he hopes there won’t be instances of COVID-19 contraction that would push back the seasons scheduled start day, something that he said would be a worst case scenario.
“I think we’ve realized how valuable sports is for all of us mentally, especially for my student athletes whose dreams are tied up into it,” Monson said. “We’re excited about [the schedule] because it’s still a possibility [that they’ll get to play].”
Monson and the team have learned that nothing is promised.
“If the pandemic has taught us anything it’s that we’re not guaranteed anything,” Monson said. “Even though we have a schedule, we have a long way to go to and a lot of work to do to play it.”
Jacob Powers, sports editor, contributed to the reporting of this article.