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How Belmont basketball is preparing for its next season despite debate protocols

As final preparations for the presidential debate commence in the Curb Event Center, the men’s and women’s basketball teams are finding new ways to prepare for their upcoming season.

For the past three weeks, the Curb has been closed to prepare for the nationwide event, making the men’s and women’s basketball teams find alternate places to practice while their home court is in use.

The men’s team has found a comfortable place to practice at Lipscomb University and the TOA Sports Performance Center as they prepare for another championship-caliber season.

Since the Lipscomb Bisons have their own season to prepare for, the men are forced to sometimes travel almost 30 minutes to the TOA facility in Franklin.

While Belmont’s team understands the debate is a great opportunity for the university to be recognized on a national scale, coach Casey Alexander has found traveling to Franklin to be an inconvenience.

“I think all of us understand the debate is a huge deal for Belmont,” said Alexander. “It’s been an inconvenience for us because we’re out of the arena for three weeks, but we just find alternative places to practice and go from there.”

The women’s team has collaborated with the head coach of Ensworth High School women’s basketball team, Mary Cowels. There, the Bruins have been able to prepare for their season with accommodations head coach Bart Brooks has appreciated.

“Mary Cowles and the athletic administration at Ensworth have been extremely gracious in allowing us gym time and space, and their facilities are as good as it gets,” said Brooks.

Despite the big change, Brooks and his team have been looking at the temporary relocation as a fantastic opportunity for new recruits to gain experience away from their home court before their season starts.

“These practices off campus have also been helpful for our younger players to experience a new gym and a new environment, especially since we won’t be able to simulate that with closed-door scrimmages this season due to the pandemic, so the next time we travel and play will be in our regular season opener in late November,” said Brooks.

For both teams, the past few months have been filled with unpredictable, unprecedented situations. They’ve had to find different ways to prepare for competition since the tournament cancellation in March. But Brooks is proud of his team’s progress and ability to overcome adversity.

“Everything about this preseason has been different this year, our summer workouts and even our players having the ability to train and play while spending time at home was greatly impacted by the pandemic,” said Brooks. “Our players are very committed and driven young ladies, and they don’t make excuses about our circumstances. They just show up every day at practice and work hard and have fun playing basketball together.”

This article written by Julieann Challacombe.

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