Basketball Blog: Wiping the Slate Clean

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Dave Leitao has already added much-needed discipline.

As last basketball season dragged to its sorry conclusion, you could tell the Cavaliers were biting their tongues about all the team’s problems. Not anymore. During today’s media day, they shed some light on what made last season so awful: bad team chemistry, lax discipline, lousy leadership. I mean, we knew all that, right? But listening to them made it more obvious than ever that this program needed some major changes.

The biggest change, of course, was the firing of Pete Gillen and the hiring of Dave Leitao.

Already, players have stories about what a disciplinarian Leitao is. For six weeks, they’ve been directed to show up for 6 a.m. daily workouts. I asked Donte Minter how often that happened under Gillen. He just laughed.

Players have had to follow a strict, structured regimen “from the time we wake up to the time we go to bed,” said J.R. Reynolds. And practice hasn’t even started yet! The first one is tomorrow at 5:30 p.m. at University Hall as part of ‘Hoos Hoops Madness.

But what’s telling is that no one is complaining.

“Personally, I did want a lot more discipline and structure,” said Sean Singletary .

Said Reynolds: “That’s what it’s going to take for us to win.”

Gillen’s way didn’t work. But to be fair, he wasn’t the only problem last year. Jason Clark flunked out. Injuries sidelined some players and limited others. Elton Brown was a negative influence. The list of distractions was a long one.

“There was a lot of controversy within the team,” said Jason Cain. “Everyone was frustrated.”

Said Minter: “I think everybody got frustrated with everybody. It wasn’t any fun. But that’s why we’re all working hard now. We don’t want another season like that.”


The Cavaliers might work harder and get along better this

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