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21 April 2008

New JSU Coach Makes Discipline Early Emphasis

By Al Muskewitz
Star Sports Writer

Reprinted here in its entirety.

JACKSONVILLE Several players on the Jacksonville State basketball team were gathering in the bleachers behind the basket Thursday before their daily pickup games when coach James Green walked across the floor.

One of the better players was wearing a baseball cap, and it was noticed.

As he passed the group, Green simply tapped the top of his head, an unspoken reminder that hats are not worn indoors on this coach's watch. The player quicker removed his headwear.

Good thing Green didn't see another starter a couple minutes later with his basketball shorts hanging from his thighs.

"No, we will not allow them to wear their hats inside," Green said in response to an ice-breaking question from athletics director Jim Fuller in his introductory news conference Wednesday. "We will not allow them to have their pants falling off. And there are a lot of other things we will not allow them to do, and there's a lot of other things we'll demand that they do.

"I don't think there's anything wrong with that. I think good discipline and hard work is something that's been around for a long number of years and helped people be successful, and if it was good enough for the people in this room and myself (in the past), I think it'll be good enough for them."

It's exactly that approach that put Green's name atop DeAndre Bray's list.

Bray, a rising senior and the only player so far made available to media since Green's hiring, was on the 11-member search committee that narrowed the pool of candidates to nine semifinalists and, eventually, the four finalists from which the school hired Green.

Bray had the Mississippi Valley coach in his personal final two, and it was the 11-year head coaching veteran's winning record, experience with transition and discipline that were the tipping points for the point guard.

"I have a good understanding with him because my high school has his style," Bray said. "His discipline, the way he talks, the way he acts and carries himself is the way my high school is, so I relate to that.

"I just feel he's ready to make a difference for us and help us out. I think Coach Green is going to do a great job, just by what he's telling us. The body language and all that, it's good vibes."

Green met with his new players briefly Wednesday and with Bray individually Thursday and mapped out his plan for the Gamecocks to be, as Bray described it, "great basketball players on and off the court."

It didn't take long for them to understand there's a new sheriff in town. No hats indoors. No earrings. No baggy pants.

"It's discipline; that's all we needed anyway," Bray said. "Coach (Mike) LaPlante had discipline, too; it's just things got away, and some things you can't help.

"Coach Green coming in, he's making, not rules, just common sense stuff you shouldn't do and you should do, little things that will help us become greater people. He doesn't want to hear anything about us doing anything wrong because we're old enough (to know better). We're young men, and we know what to do."

About Al Muskewitz

Al Muskewitz covers golf and Jacksonville State University sports teams for The Anniston Star.

See story at The Anniston Star's website: .

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