There will be plenty of adjustments that will need to be made by Vermont’s leading returning scorer.
Junior Ethan O’Day, who averaged 7.4 ppg last season on a senior-laden team, will need to build a new rapport with a group of six new freshmen.
“It’s been an adjustment getting used to different guards,” O’Day said. “I think the Canada trip helped us a lot because I got to play with Trey and Cam, who have been playing the guard positions, and teaching them right timing of passing and getting our timing down.”
“They’re all great passers, so it’s all about comfortable with playing each other and getting the timing down. I think as practice and workouts go on, we’ll be able to get better timing and get more comfortable with the pick and roll game.”
O’Day and his teammates were able to work on their timing during the team’s five-day trip to Canada, where they won three games, in August.
“We’ve had to play against adversity in those games too against great teams,” O’Day said, adding that the 10 extra practices prior to the trip helped. “We’ve already got a jump start to our season from that Canada trip.”
While O’Day will be featured in the offense as an upperclassmen, he has been working on building his face-up game over the summer. Though the most important thing he’s worked on has been becoming more of a vocal leader.
“These past two years I’ve had a group of six seniors helping me through stuff and now the roles have kind of switched,” O’Day said, who was named captain to go with seniors Hector Harold and Ryan Pierson. “I’ve got to help these guys, being a leader on the court, definitely being more vocal and definitely having good relationships with our point guards because they’re going to be the guys, at the end of the day, who are leading the show and getting comfortable playing with them.”
The Catamounts will face a different type of adversity than last season, after winning the America East regular season championship by two games last season, but coming up short in the tournament semifinals.
“I feel like, in our games in the past, we have to do a better job of fighting through adversity when things don’t go our way,” O’Day said. “We have to keep moving forward, throughout our season and during games. We’ve had really talented teams, these past two years I’ve been here, and we’re capable of winning a championship. I think that we’ll be capable, we’re very talented again this year and have an opportunity if we keep improving and are able to fight through adversity.”
Ryan Restivo wrote the America East conference preview for the 2014-15 Blue Ribbon College Basketball Yearbook. He covers the America East conference, the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference and Hofstra for Big Apple Buckets. You can follow Ryan on Twitter @ryanarestivo or contact Ryan at rrestivo[at]nycbuckets.com.