Consistency is key.
In a year that has been unlike any other, the men’s and women’s basketball programs at APSU have set their sights on just that throughout their upcoming seasons.
The Ohio Valley Conference held their annual media days on Nov. 10-11. Head coaches David Midlick and Matt Figger were among the attendees for the event, and shared their thoughts about the Governors in 2021.
COVID-19 has caused a minor postponement of a normally scheduled basketball season, but both coaches were grateful for a two-week delay as opposed to an overall cancellation.
“We’ve been very fortunate that we haven’t been hit like some other teams with outbreaks or a lot of shutdowns and things like that,” Figger said. “We’ve tried to keep it as normal as possible, keep things on a steady flow. We haven’t talked about it a lot. We just try to go about our business day-to-day, be the best we can be every day and not sit there and delve into the future or the past or whatever. We just try to stay in the present.”
The men’s team was projected as one half of the preseason conference champions alongside rival Mu**ay State. With Preseason All-OVC nominees Jordyn Adams and Terry Taylor, the Govs look for an earlier than anticipated sweep of the Racers, facing Mu**ay twice in the month of December.
Figger claimed that his goals for 2021 begin with winning the regular season, something that the program has been unable to accomplish since 2008. Outside of a regular season and tournament title, the Govs’ goals include unity and stability.
“Consistency is the biggest thing that we want to do,” he added. “Just be consistent. That’s why Mu**ay and Belmont have been so good, is that they’ve been consistent with who they are since I’ve been in the league, day in and day out. That’s what we’re looking for, is to be consistent.
“Try to be the best we can be everyday, that’s the only goal we have right now. I think those long-term goals become dreams, and you need to focus on the present. Right now, we just want to become a better basketball team today than we were yesterday.”
As for the women’s side of the sport, consistency is seemingly simple for Midlick and the Governors. They return five seniors in Myah LeFlore, Tahanee Bennell, Kelen Konol and Brianah and Brandi Ferby. The quintet of leaders all aim to bring about different aspects of influence when the season tips off.
“It helps to have five seniors,” Midlick said on consistency within the program. “[They] know what to expect from the previous three years of playing, know what to expect from me, from when conference starts. That gives a sense of consistency and the level of intensity in what we’re trying to get done in each practice, and how you’re supposed to conduct yourself on and off the floor.
“I really lean on trying to have a player-led team and culture to get us through a year that’s unlike any other. They’ve been really good at it; they’ve been good at that since the summer when we had Zoom meetings, and they’ve been good at it since we’ve been back in August.”
Midlick and company hope to turn heads when conference play begins in December. The Govs were projected to finish ninth in the league, and did not have a player listed on the Preseason All-OVC women’s basketball team.
“Each year, you get to prove it on the court, in a good way or a bad way,” the coach said. “It’s fun to see where people think teams are going to place during the year, but it’s a three, four month season…you have to get better each day and have to start playing good basketball in December when conference starts.
“We’re trying to get better each day. We usually have just one, no more than two themes for practice and try to keep it to those one or two things. There will be a time when we talk big picture as it gets closer to two weeks from now and when it gets closer to our first conference game. We’re taking it small picture and day-by-day right now.”
Both programs will begin their season on Nov. 25. The women will begin the year with an away game at North Alabama, while the men start the season at the Gulf Coast Showcase in Estero, Fla. against Omaha.