Women's basketball makes use of men's practice players
Published: Thursday, September 19, 2013
Updated: Wednesday, September 18, 2013 23:09
People have heard the “anything you can do, I can do better” duet. People have heard someone argue that male athletes are better because they are stronger and faster. While some men may be stronger and faster, that doesn’t mean they are better, but they can be used to make women better.
At least that’s what ASU women’s head basketball coach Brian Boyer and two of his players say about the use of guys in practice.
“It’s a fairly common practice in women’s basketball,” Boyer said.
“You use guys for the speed, the strength, the fitness; things like that to make your teams better. The speed the guys will play at is not always something you can simulate against yourself, so it allows you go up against a faster pace than what you might normally in games, same with the height and strength.”
Boyer said not every player likes the system, but there are players who understand the benefits. For senior shooting guard Hanna Qedan the practice was new for her.
“For the girls who haven’t done this before, it’s overwhelming. I was one of those girls,” she said.
“One, it’s really nerve-racking playing against boys, but you just have to prepare to play against people you know are already going to be faster and stronger.”
Aundrea Pipkins, freshman forward of Houston, is also new to this practice, but believes it will make the team better.
“I found out right before school started that there would be a male practice team, but we had been practicing with them over the summer,” she said.
“Where I’m from, we played with boys to improve ourselves, but for a coach to be onto it is new. We play against girls on record, but playing against guys [in practice] is going to force us to be hard, tougher and to fight through hard.”
Pipkins said the practice has helped her “move from an average high school player to an upcoming rookie.“ Qedan, like Pipkins, played against boys in high school on her own time, but it wasn’t until coming to ASU that she saw playing against guys in practice as a team method.
Not just any guy can become a member of the male practice team and the team needs at least five players.
“They are treated, from an NCAA standpoint, just like an athlete on campus, from their physicals, their insurance, their eligibility. They have to all be cleared and eligible through the NCAA, just like our players are,” Boyer said. “Potentially, we have a good group of eight guys but we‘re just starting the process right now of checking their eligibility and things like that.”
Boyer said the program hasn’t been consistent, but starting the process early has helped them find a good group and he is looking forward to getting the program running.