JONESBORO, Ark. (9/30/18) – Arkansas State men’s basketball held its first official practice on Sunday afternoon as the 2018-19 Red Wolves spent just over two hours on the court inside First National Bank Arena under second-year head coach Mike Balado.
“First of all, I was very pleased with our guys on day one,” said Balado. “Our guys gave great intensity and competed all summer. I’ve been happy with the progress from June to now. This team is special. They allow me to coach them and when I get on them hard it’s, ‘yes sir,’ and move on which is exceptional with the newcomers and the guys returning. For the first day, I would probably give this an A-minus.”
Senior’s Ty Cockfield II and Tristin Walley are the lone returning starters for the Red Wolves this season and eight letterwinners along with four newcomers and a redshirt fill out the roster. The Red Wolves top returning scorer is Cockfield, who averaged 14.9 ppg to rank 14th in the league.
“We came out today, had a lot of energy and paid a lot of attention to detail,” said Cockfield. “We bounce back this year by working even hard and paying close attention to details. Last year, we had a lot of times where we were lost focus, so everything is mental every day and we’re constantly working on that. We are defense first this year. Our defense will bring the offense for us.”
The lone exhibition contest for A-State is scheduled for November 4 at 5:00 p.m. against Lyon inside First National Bank Arena. The Red Wolves open the regular season Friday, November 9 at Abilene Christian before the home opener on Monday, November 12 against Missouri Baptist.
“The culture now is excellent and the stuff we did last year discipline wise has helped this group tremendously,” said Balado. “The seniors have done an excellent job of leading this team. We are teaching basketball this year, we’re not teaching discipline. I think this year, with discipline comes hard work that they are giving us and I’m very happy with our culture right now.
“We’re not going to talk expectations this year. Our motto this year is ‘Humble and Hungry” and we’re going to put our head down and work every day and take it one day at a time. We truly believe that with good character, good kids, a coachable group and talent that we have a formula for success.”
Fans will have the opportunity to meet the team at Boots & Ballers October 25 at 6 p.m. Tickets and more information on Boots & Ballers is available by calling 870-972-2781.
For the most up to date information on A-State men's basketball, follow the Red Wolves on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram by searching for AStateMB. Season tickets for the 2018-19 season are on sale now by visiting AStateRedWolves.com/tickets or by calling 870-972-ASU1.