This morning, the Tulsa Golden Hurricane conducted an open practice. I arrived about thirty minutes early and found an open door and was actually able to catch an extra hour of the practice. Once the doors opened to the public, there were about 200 fans that showed up for the open practice.
The big question marks surround head coach Danny Manning and how he will transition into a head coaching job after coming from the Kansas Jayhawks as an assistant. The Golden Hurricane is confident with the hire of Manning because of the strong connections between former coach Bill Self who Manning was an assistant under. Manning offers the same quick-tempo style of play that the Golden Hurricane is interested in bringing back to Tulsa. This fast tempo style of basketball seems to work well in recruiting and transitions easily at the college basketball level.
During the open practice, the Golden Hurricane mainly focused on this fast style of basketball. They spent a solid thirty minutes of their 2-hour practice on top-of-the-key transitions between players with the basketball. It became apparent that Manning wants fast basketball to be played outside the arc with constant ball movement, which will hopefully open up options down low.
When he accepted the head coach position, Manning likely saw the most jaw-dropping statistic of the Golden Hurricane, which is the fact that Tulsa ranked 293 in the nation in assists last season.
The second half of the practice was focused on transition offense. Forty-five minutes consisted of a few different drills having to do with moving the ball up court as fast as possible and getting the ball to the rim. I do not know if it is Manning’s style of basketball, or if he knows the team he is dealing with, but he rarely inserted any plays involving three-point basketball. Everything was fast-tempo, get the ball to the rim as fast as possible, style of play. Manning applauded dunks and ally-oops and was disinterested with any top of the key shots dribble out from the rim.
The open practice concluded with the players individually introducing themselves to the fans. The Golden Hurricane fan base roared to the greeting of Kodi Maduka who is a 6’11″ forward out of Arlington, Texas. It was also Maduka’s birthday so the players, along with the fans, sang happy birthday.
Coach Manning announced that there will most likely be another open practice event before the end of the month that he will announce at a later date.