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11 October 2007
Geyer, LaPlante Discuss Jax State Hoops Hopes

By Jennifer Bacchus
News Staff Writer

Reprinted here in its entirety.

Becky Geyer and Mike LaPlante, the women’s and men’s basketball coaches, respectively, at Jacksonville State University spoke to the Jacksonville Exchange Club on Sept. 27, outlining their team makeup and hopes for the 2007-08 basketball season.

As Geyer took the floor, she asked those gathered to play a quick game of rock, paper, scissors. Giggles filled the air as Exchangites paired off and tried to top each other.

Geyer then used the simple child’s game as an analogy, relating the makeup and challenges of her team to the different items.

“I think of the rock as the athlete. You couldn’t have a team without the rock,” said Geyer. “It’s a consolidated material.”

The girls of Geyer’s team come, literally, from all over, yet they have combined, even in the short time some have been at JSU, to make a cohesive unit.

“I think you’ll find that, as you have the opportunity to look at the rocks we’ve collected this year, that they’re great people, they’re great individuals and I think they stand for character,” said Geyer.

Geyer defined paper for the group as a thin substance made up of many different types of material. She equated this to her team.

“All kinds of paper is made up of all kinds of material and that’s definitely who we are with these kids from local kids and kids from far away,” she said.

Last, she came to the scissors. Scissors, used to cut, can be viewed as items of destruction. Geyer sees them as symbolizing the negative things that distract her players.

“I’m here to tell you we have cleaned out our drawers of scissors,” said Geyer.

As in the child’s game, the rock – the players – can crush the scissors – the distractions.

“You smash a negative, you win,” said Geyer.

The scissors can cut through the paper – the unity of the team.

“If the scissors wins, the negative will cut your team and we all lose,” she said.

And, of course, the paper can surround and cover the rock.

“When that happens, I think you’re full of a team of really unselfish people with great character and when the team wins, JSU is going to win and we all win,” said Geyer.

Geyer, whose team went 7-21 during her first season as JSU’s women’s basketball coach, believes as long as her team works together to destroy the distractions and negatives in their lives, as long as they work with each other, they will be successful.

“We are in a great position to start a winning tradition at Jacksonville State with our women’s basketball program,” she said.

LaPlante, whose team was 9-21 last year, is also looking forward to a successful season, though he sees many challenges ahead for his team. With strong lineups for most of their Ohio Valley Conference rivals, the 2007-08 season should be exciting.

“I think one of the things you’ll see differently about this year’s team is we’ve got depth,” said LaPlante. “We’ve got the ability to go deep into our bench and that’s going to really allow us to play the way that we truly want to.”

To add to that depth, LaPlante signed six new players this year, three of them from LeFlore High School in Mobile, the 6A state champions last year.

“They’re winners,” said LaPlante. “I think I asked them the other day what their record was. I don’t remember it exactly, but it was something like 92 and 9 in their high school career.”

LaPlante knows his team will be facing difficult opponents, so he has challenged them to keep the game fast paced, hoping to have at least 50 points on the board each half.

“We want to get up and down the floor. We want to play a very aggressive style of basketball,” he said. “It will be a very fun and exciting style of play.”

He’s working on building team unity and discipline by asking them to be at breakfast, as a team, each morning at 7:00.

“They just have the discipline to get up and if they’re late they have to run on Saturday at 6:00 in the morning,” said LaPlante. “It’s been good for discipline, it gets you going in the morning, kind of getting your plan in place. I also believe it’s helped build a little bit of team camaraderie because they’re all having to go through a little bit of discomfort.”

About Jennifer Bachus

Jennifer Bacchus is a staff writer at The Jacksonville News. She can be reached at 256-435-5021 or via e-mail at

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