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Evansville Courier & Press (Indiana)
EVANSVILLE - Jawaun Newton is a "Yes, sir" type of person.
He's a freshman eager to please and does whatever his coaches ask of him. Recently, University of Evansville basketball coach Walter McCarty sent him video clips to watch on his team-issued iPad. It concerned his defense - Newton's positioning on ball screens and how he could improve at funneling the ball-handler to the sidelines.
That is one of six areas McCarty and his staff emphasize every week: Keeping teams out of the middle. Looking for ways to make an impact, the 6-foot-3 guard made it his primary objective when he's in the game.
"Now he's so concerned with defense for us that he's not looking at offense as much," McCarty said. "I told him last game (Wednesday against Wyoming), 'Look to score. I appreciate you want to help us defensively and that's your concern right now, but don't take yourself out of the play on offense. Don't just move the ball when you get it.'"
The iPads are new this season.
Much of it is the same as what the Boston Celtics used while McCarty was one of their assistants the past five years. Every day is a film day for the Purple Aces with 24/7 access on the go. If McCarty's sitting at home and sees something he wants one of his players to look at, all he has to do is send them a text to go check the iPad.
No waiting around until the next day's film session. The clip is cut and watchable within seconds via an analytics company called Sportscode on a private Hudl account. Players can even go back and watch that day's practice if they want.
It's all at their fingertips.
"We have everything," Newton said. "We have practice from this morning, so we can go back and look at everything we did wrong. It's really good to have because it makes us better. We can also scout teams on there in between classes. We can watch past games, too, to see what we did wrong."
It differs from last year when the players were using the traditional pencil-and-paper.
"Last year we had a big folder with scouting reports in a notebook," UE senior Dainius Chatkevicius said. "We were still writing stuff down. Now we have modern devices so we can just watch film to get scouting reports on the app. I think it's easier and better for us at the same time."
It's part of the culture McCarty is building.
He installed Bose speakers in the practice gym within his first week or two on the job. His players wanted a video-game console in the clubhouse, and it was purchased the next day. Team film sessions obviously still exist, but the viewing was upgraded to rows of home theater seat risers.
The Aces' coaching staff doesn't want their players to feel like they're taking a back seat to anyone. They also want them in the Carson Center practice facility as much as possible. And when they're away, McCarty wants them to still be thinking about the game. It doesn't start next year when arguably their three best players become eligible. It started six months ago.
Players like Newton and fellow freshman Shamar Givance are part of the future.
"He's doing everything we ask him to do - he and Shamar," McCarty said. "Those two guys are going to be great for this program three years from now and hopefully sooner. They're going to help turn this thing."
On another slow start ...
A one-point halftime lead against a Division III opponent was less than ideal, but the Purple Aces bounced back in the second half to beat Albion College 65-49 Saturday afternoon at Ford Center.
Four players tied for the team high of 11 points for UE (4-3), which will next travel Tuesday night to face Arkansas State (2-5). Sophomore guard Noah Frederking continued his hot start and was the most efficient offensive player in connecting on 3 of 6 field goals (2 of 4 from behind the arc) and 3 of 4 at the free-throw line.
But it was another slow start for the Aces, who did not score for the opening 7:06 and have averaged 29.5 points in the first half of the last four games. Could there be some changes to the starting lineup? It sounds like it.
"I'm a bad coach right now," McCarty said. "I have to get us out to better starts or get guys in there who can get us out to better starts. We just have to be more engaged. Right now, for whatever reason, we're not engaged. It's unacceptable. That's on me. I have to get guys in there who are engaged and want to play the right way all the time and guys who can build and set a standard with."
UE began the second half with a different starting lineup than it had all season: Givance, Newton, Frederking, John Hall and Chatkevicius. It shot just 25.8 percent in the first half but 51.9 in the second for 37.9 on the game.
"We kind of just went through the motions in the first half and second half we got the ball rolling a little bit," senior guard Shea Feehan said. "But we have to take every game seriously and I don't think we did that tonight."
Albion (4-2) did not shoot the ball well, either. The Britons were held to less than 28 percent in both halves. Their 34 3-point attempts were the most by an opponent in Ford Center history.
Evansville Courier & Press
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