The NCAA has allowed teams numerous organized workouts in the offseason, and Wright State had a busy summer with practices before and during its 10-day trip to Italy, along with a pair of games.
All Division-I schools get 30 practices in 42 days before their season-openers, and Nagy plans to use them all. But he’s mindful of not turning that seven-week stretch into a grind.
“There’s a danger with burnout. We have to figure out ways — in particular, when you take a trip like we did — to not make it feel like it’s forever,” he said.
“We have to be very careful with how we practice and how long we practice. We definitely don’t want (to make it drudgery). We want their minds and hearts to be fresh.”
That won’t be easy with such a veteran team. The Raiders have to replace only one starter in Tim Finke, and they have every top sub returning.
Nagy has already discovered the newcomers are more receptive to his coaching than the holdovers.
“With the older kids, their battle is the doldrums of practice. They’ve been through it 100 times. I don’t have the same effect on them as I do the younger kids. The motivation is different,” he said.
“The younger kids battle inexperience and the question marks, while the older ones don’t. They know what to expect and have a pretty good feel on how they fit in. The younger ones don’t have that, but they probably have more enthusiasm and excitement.”
The Raiders, who open Nov. 10 at Colorado State, have a star player in his fifth season of eligibility in first-team all-Horizon League guard Trey Calvin, and they hope to have another in former two-time first-team all-league wing Tanner Holden.
He returned to Wright State after one year at Ohio State. The NCAA has yet to rule on whether he’ll be eligible this season or have to sit out a year.
“I don’t exactly know when we’ll get an answer. Probably sometime in October,” Nagy said.
That’s made practice a challenge. Holden has split time between the starters and reserves during scrimmages, and the decision on his future certainly will impact returning perimeter players Alex Huibregtse, Andrew Welage and Keaton Norris.
“We have to move forward like we’re not going to have him. And if we have him, we’ll make that adjustment,” Nagy said.
Asked how Holden has looked, Nagy said: “It’d be easier for him if he knew what was going on. That would help him mentally and emotionally. To not know is difficult and can affect your play.
“At some point here, even if it’s not the news you wanted, you could at least settle in one way or another. It’s just hard when you don’t know.”
Even without Holden, the Raiders will have one of the best backcourts in the league. And they’re not hurting in the frontcourt, either.
Brandon Noel, who’s a sophomore in eligibility after redshirting two years, was the HL freshman of the year last season, while junior A.J. Braun is a former league all-freshman team pick.
The only inside sub is converted guard Drey Carter, a 6-foot-9 redshirt freshman.
“We can sustain an injury at almost position at the guard spot, and we’d be in pretty good shape. It’s the inside positions that are really going to affect us,” Nagy said.
“We’re trying to practice in a way I think you need to in order to improve and be tough, but it’s not an easy thing. You have to keep those guys healthy, too.
“As a staff, we’re praying for wisdom to know how to put practices together and how long to go. That’s probably the biggest challenge we have.”
WRIGHT STATE ROSTER
Player Ht. Class Pos. 2022-23 Avg.
Trey Calvin 6-0 Gr. G 20.3
Keaton Norris 6-0 Jr. G 3.0
Alex Huibregtse 6-3 Jr. G 8.6
Andrew Welage 6-6 Sr. G 6.7
Kaden Brown 6-0 Fr. G N/A
Tanner Holden* 6-6 Gr. G#
Solomon Callaghan 6-2 Fr. G
Logan Woods 6-5 R-Fr. G
Dayjaun Anderson 6-2 Fr. G
Bo Myers 6-6 Gr. F 18.5^
Braden Grant 6-7 So. F
Carson Schwieger 6-8 Fr. F
Drey Carter 6-8 R-Fr F
Brandon Noel 6-8 So. F 13.0
A.J. Braun 6-9 Jr. C 9.4
*Eligibility still to be determined
# Averaged 20.1 at Wright State in 2021-22, 3.6 for Ohio State in 2022-23
^Malone average in 2022-23