College Player Insights Day 4: Strengths and Opportunities (Updated)

With the 2013/14 NCAA college basketball season officially commencing on Saturday, 9 November 2013 (Australian time), The Pick and Roll will be providing a unique series that provides player insights daily!

Damian Arsenis has secured Australian's Jackson Aldridge of Butler and Matt Hancock of Lamar to provide their insights into the build up to and including their season opener against each other on 10 November 2013 (Australian time).

Day 4 | Thursday (US time)

The anticipation is high with just 2 more days until game day and the season opener for Butler and Lamar! Jackson Aldridge (Butler) and Matt Hancock (Lamar) blog briefly about...

Matt Hancock | Lamar

Hancock sharing the rock - Courtesy Lamar Media Relations

That 5:30am alarm never gets easy; it’s death to my ears! This morning’s session was actually a really good one. After out day off from training yesterday my body felt great and an early night meant I was well rested and ready for the activities. Class didn’t start till 9.35am so I managed to fit in another nap after weights, which was heaven after a hard workout.

My classes flew by today; they ended just as quickly as they started but of course the teachers had to give us the news of some exams next week so we all get a weekend full of studying. Once class ended, I grabbed some lunch and did some study, but then gave myself some time to hang out and relax with some mates before practice.

We had a film session before practice today, going over some tapes that coach had put together along with our scouting report. Practice today was no different but everything had stepped up a notch; faster, stronger and more competitive. The team is getting focused for our big match-up against Butler. Coach informed us that we are leaving campus at 6:30am so we get just a few hours’ sleep and then it’s time to fly.

I try to model parts of my game on different people but then again I try to be original and be myself. Defensively I try to model myself on Scotty Pippen as he was named in the NBA All-Defensive First Team eight consecutive times and prided himself on defense. My view is that if my offensive game is struggling I can always help my team on the other end of the floor. I get more annoyed with a blown defensive assignment, a missed rebound, but also a missed shot.

Offensively I model myself on Reggie Miller. He is the greatest shooter of all time and has an all-round pure form style of game. His style of play is something I wish to have and I am working on it, especially his consistency with shooting.

I feel my strengths are shooting, decision-making and also how I read our offence. I have really developed on working off screens as that is big in our offence. Also my defence is a big part of my game. I try to read ahead and anticipate what the offence is doing. I’m continually working on all aspects of my game; you can never stop improving!

Over the time I have been here at Lamar, there have been a number of good but also some not so good experiences. Whether it’s from the close relationships I have formed with many people I now consider good friends or getting 12 stitches in my lip alongside a concussion. This past year and the next three years to come are going to be the time of my life! I will never forget college and I urge any players who wish to follow the same path to do so. Being here has improved my game out of sight as I have learnt a lot about the game and increased my skills at both ends of the floor.

Jackson Aldridge | Butler

Apologies for the late Blog posting but not only have I been extremely busy, but we lost out Internet connection in the apartment!

After we finished up practice pretty late last night I had a much needed sleep-in before I had to tackle my finance exam. I had the morning to cram some study in for coupon rates, bonds and stock prices. The exam went pretty well I think and afterwards it was straight to practice. We practiced for a little over two hours, working on Lamar some more as well as preparing ourselves for what we needed to do to be successful. After practice it was back to the apartment to make some dinner and watch Thursday night football (NFL).

The second point for today's blog is more about my game. I couldn't really say who I model my game on as such but rather I like to watch and try to emulate a number of different players. I love watching Steve Nash, Chris Paul and Tony Parker play in the NBA - they are all great players. On the other hand I have always enjoyed watching fellow Aussies Patty Mills and Delly (Matthew Dellavedova) play. Over the off-season I have been working super hard on two things; shooting and ball handling. I have been working tirelessly to become automatic from the three point line. Last year we had a guy who fit that mould who now plays in Australia, Rotnei Clarke. It was awesome to see how much work he put into his shot, so I really tried to copy that work ethic this off season. Back in Australia, if you get a chance to see 'Rot' play, I advise that you go as he is fun to watch!

So for this last part I would like to share something pretty cool, or at least for AFL fans. My team mate, Elijah Brown happens to be the son of Mike Brown, Head Coach of the Cleveland Cavaliers. So a couple of weeks ago a few of us drove to Cincinatti to go watch the Cavs play. I jumped at the opportunity because I knew that a friend would be there. For those of you that don't know, Matthew Dellavedova plays for the Cavs! Anyway, long story short we watched the game and I caught up with Delly afterwards. When chatting about what's going on in each others lives, he asked if I wanted to meet Joel Selwood from the Geelong Cats who play in the AFL. So, there we were; three Aussies in Cincinatti chatting about all the differences in our lives. Of course I had to give Selwood some stick about how good the Swans will be with 'Buddy' Frankin next year, but those are the sort of experiences I have been lucky enough to have over here.

Time for me to take off, and I'll check in with you tomorrow.

Aldridge at the defensive end - Courtesy of Butler University Sports Information

Check back tomorrow for a further update from both Jackson and Matt in counting down to their season opener against each other.

College Player Insights Day 1: Meet Jackson Aldridge and Matt Hancock

College Player Insights Day 2: Goals, Ambitions and Education

College Player Insights Day 3: Managing the workload