Alabama State Opens Men's Basketball Practice; Announces 2013-14 Schedule

Alabama State Opens Men’s Basketball Practice;
Announces 2013-14 Schedule

jackson MONTGOMERY, Ala. — Alabama State University men’s basketball coach Lewis Jackson led the Hornets on to the court on Friday to begin preparations for the 2013-14 season, his ninth as the Hornets’ head coach.
“To hear the ball bouncing and shoes squeaking and to have the guys making noise here in the gym is very exciting for us,” Head Coach Lewis Jackson said.  “We are just so excited we have additional days to come in and work now.  Normally we don’t start until Oct. 11, but with the relaxing of the rule we are able to get in here now and we are truly excited.”
ASU has four players returning from last season led by sophomore Jamel Waters who played in all 32 games last season and started 23 games at point guard.  Junior Luther Page has started several games during his two years on campus, including 17 last season. Devonte’ Neal returns at the center position and the other returner is Bobby Brown who played in 30 games and started six last year.
ASU will work on blending in 12 newcomers with the returners this season as they begin working toward their season opener on Oct. 31 when they host Huntingdon College.
“When you have a lot of new guys like we do in the program you have to go back to the basics, teaching things you want the guys to do in the games and in practices,” Jackson said.  “The teaching part is going to take some time but the good thing about that is we have additional days where we can get in, take our time and give the guys the information they need.”
This year’s schedule is made up of 31 games. Sixteen of the games will be played in Dunn-Oliver Acadome while 14 of the games are on the road and one opponent will be played at a neutral location.
After opening the season hosting Huntingdon and Fort Valley State (Nov. 5) in exhibitions, ASU will begin the pre-conference portion of their schedule with road games at Illinois (Nov. 8) and Bradley (Nov. 10) as part of the Global Sports Invitational. ASU will return home for their first regular season home game when they host Mobile (Nov. 13).
The Hornets will end their play in the Global Sports Invitational with a road game at Jacksonville State (Nov. 16) and a return engagement from Chicago State (Nov. 18), where the Hornets played a road game last season.
ASU will begin December action when they travel down the road to face Troy (Dec. 7).  After nine days off the Hornets will come back home to host Western Illinois (Dec. 16).
For the third consecutive season ASU will participate in the Tulane Classic (Dec. 21-22) where they will face host Tulane on the first day and then play Wisconsin-Milwaukee on Sunday before taking a break for the Christmas Holidays.
After the Holidays, ASU will end the non-conference season when they host city rival Auburn Montgomery (Dec. 28) and host the final non-conference match up with Thomas (Dec. 30).
ASU opens 2014 in Southwestern Athletic Conference (SWAC) action when they hit the road to play at Grambling State (Jan. 4) and at Jackson State (Jan. 6).
The Hornets will return to Montgomery to host three consecutive conference games; Mississippi Valley State (Jan. 11), Arkansas-Pine Bluff (Jan. 13) and Alabama A&M (Jan. 18).
The final four games of the first round of conference games will be split.  The first two will be on the road at Alcorn State (Jan. 25) and Southern (Jan. 27) before ending at home against Prairie View (Feb. 1) and Texas Southern (Feb. 3).
Mississippi Valley State (Feb. 8), Arkansas-Pine Bluff (Feb. 10) and Alabama A&M (Feb. 15) will start the second round of conference action, all on the road.  That will leave four of the final six games coming at home beginning with Alcorn State (Feb. 22) and Southern (Feb. 24).
The final two road games of the regular season will be at Texas Southern (March 1) and Prairie View A&M (March 3).  ASU ends the season hosting Grambling State (March 6) and Jackson State (March 8).
“Our schedule in the preseason has always been brutal,” Jackson said. “We try to go out and schedule some high major teams so our guys can see how the major teams play, but we tried to relax that a little bit this year and get some more home games so our fans can come out and see us play. It is kind of favorable to us, but we will go out and compete and get them one at a time.”
The SWAC Tournament has moved to Houston, Texas this year and will be played Tuesday-Saturday, March 11-15.

Coach Freeman-Jackson and the Lady Hornets Basketball Team Releases 2013-2014 Schedule and Begins Preseason Practice

MONTGOMERY, Ala. – The 2013-2014 Women’s Basketball schedule has been released and the team has begun their road to the crown with preseason practice at the Dunn-Oliver Acadome.
This season’s schedule will showcase non-conferences match-ups against in-state schools Faulkner (exhibition), Troy, Stillman, Samford and the University of Mobile.
The Lady Hornets will also take on powerhouse Mississippi State, Florida A&M, Mercer, Bluefield, and Savannah State. Alabama State will close their non-conference schedule with a tough matchup against Georgia Tech for a two day tournament in Atlanta, Ga.
“Preseason has always been tough, especially playing teams like Mississippi State and Georgia Tech,” said head coach Freda Freeman-Jackson. “We use preseason competition to help us see where we are as a team and where we need to go in preparation for conference play. We have a lot of experience coming back to help, so we should fair pretty well in these preseason match ups.”
November 5th kicks off the season for the Lady Hornets as they host Faulker University for their home opener at 6 p.m. in the Dunn-Oliver Acadome in an exhibition contest. For the remainder of November the Hornets will host a cluster of home games as Troy comes to the Dome on the 8th, Stillman on the 12th, and Bluefield State on the 16th and finishing their home November games against the University of Mobile on the 19th.
“We decided to play Bluefield State this season because of James Oliver, Jr. who is the head coach of Bluefield and whose father’s name is on the Acadome floor. This is where coach Oliver (J.J.) started his career as a student and then as an assistant coach here at Alabama State. We look at this as a homecoming for him as well as we felt that this would be a good match-up,” said Freeman-Jackson.
In December, ASU will play Samford in the Acadome on December 4th, then travel to Starkville, Miss. for a 5 p.m. showdown against Mississippi State. The Lady Hornets will head back home to Montgomery for match-ups against Florida A&M on December 17th, Mercer on Dec. 20th, and Savannah State on Dec. 22nd before ending their non-conference schedule against Georgia Tech tournament December 29th and 30th in Atlanta, Ga.
The Lady Hornets will open up SWAC play on the road against Grambling State January 4th, before heading to Jackson State on January 6th. Both games are slated for a 5:30 p.m. tip-off. The Lady Hornets will then come home for games against Mississippi Valley State (Jan.11th), University Arkansas-Pine Bluff (Jan.13th) and then will host in-state rival Alabama A&M on January 18th at the Dunn-Oliver Acadome.
Alabama State will then be on the road to face Alcorn State January 25th, and then head to Baton Rouge, La. to face Southern Jan 27th. February will be the halfway point of the season as they travel to Mississippi Valley (Feb.8), Arkansas Pine Bluff (Feb.10) then head up to Normal, Ala. to face rival Alabama A&M (Feb.15).
Upon returning home the Lady Hornets will host Alcorn State (Feb.22) and Southern (Feb.24), then head to Texas for a two game swing first against Texas Southern (Mar.1) and then take on Prairie View A&M (Mar.3).
Alabama State will host another pair of home games as Grambling State visits the Dome on March 6 and then Jackson State comes on the 8th to close out regular season play. This year’s SWAC 2014 basketball tournament will be held in Houston, Texas March 11-15.
With the schedule set, the Lady Hornets start preparations for their preseason games with the first day of practice. Alabama State finished their off season conditioning in full stride as they get ready for their showcase on October 11 for Late Night Madness.
“The transition from off season workouts to the opening of preseason practice was pretty productive,” said Freeman-Jackson. “We made sure that we had the ladies do a lot of distant running up to at least three miles to assist with their endurance. It’s always good to come in tip-top shape before we start practice and I think that my staff did a good job of that. We are an up-tempo team so it’s important for the ladies to be ready to run the ball.”
“I felt today was a good day with practicing early this morning working on fundamental items and then going to the weight room working their upper bodies and finally coming to an afternoon practice working on team oriented plays. The ladies were really receptive with what we were trying to get done today, before getting the season on the way.”

For all information on the Lady Hornets basketball team and all other Alabama State sports, can be found on bamastatesports.com.  We can also be found on Twitter.com (ASUbuzz) or Facebook.com (ASUbuzz).