Summer checkup: Dos and dont’s for Coach Lanier and the Panther’s basketball team

Keeping the Core Intact & Developing Young Players Submitted by GSU Athletics

The way Georgia State’s coaching staff approaches this offseason could prove vital to the men’s basketball team’s success in non-conference play. With the Panthers having a significant amount of time to prepare for next season, the team will have an appropriate amount of time to develop the incoming freshman and establish team chemistry.

The typical offseason comes with several events, from scouting to creating new playbooks. It could bring a time of positives, providing teams the opportunity to improve on their mishaps from seasons prior. 

But there can also be a negative with some of the strategies coaches take when training players in the offseason. 

After an offseason with so many questions and the season being up in the air, the Panthers still saw success in the 2020-21 season, in part due to the extraordinarily high team chemistry formed within last year’s team. 

Ultimately, the Panthers couldn’t get the job done in the Sun Belt Conference championship, falling to Appalachian State 80-73. The loss could motivate them over these next five months to become the best versions of themselves.

With that in mind, this is what head coach Rob Lanier and the Panthers should look to do until their first game in the Fall.

Keeping the Core Intact

With all five starters returning next season, the end goal for next season will remain the same, and the devastating loss in last year’s championship will linger in the back of all these player’s heads. With experience and heartbreaks in many of the Panthers’ careers, the experience allows players to learn what it takes to get to that next level. The coaching staff could reassure team chemistry by having the veterans and younger players grow alongside each other.

“Honestly, I think getting back on the court this summer for those eight weeks with the coaching staff and things being pretty close to normal, I think that’s going to be the biggest thing for us having a successful 2021-22 season,” Associate Athletic Director Mike Holmes said.

Kane Williams and Corey Allen will each play a super-senior season in 2021, and will have all the keys to a high-powered offense.

Developing Young Players

With freshmen Evan Johnson and Collin Moore making an immediate impact last season, another main focus of the Panthers should involve newcomers to give the team more depth. During this somewhat normal off-season, young players should challenge themselves to work as hard as the veterans looking to make a final run at March Madness.

“The younger guys challenging some of the older guys for more playing time which I think will not only make us better this year but honestly, I think makes us better in the long run,” Holmes said.

Players Learning their Roles

Learning your role and where you fit in a system has shown success on many different collegiate and professional teams. The Panther coaching staff will teach the young players Coach Lanier’s approach and their role next season. Veterans should also have their roles established for next season to elevate this system to the next level.

“It’s obviously a new team, a new group; there will be new guys. We’ll have four newcomers who didn’t experience that, so as Coach Lanier says, every season is truly its own unique season, and obviously that’s correct with the amount of guys we have coming back, it will only add to it,” Holmes said.

Avoid Overworking Players

This summer, the coaching staff does not want to push players to the edge, making them feel like the basketball court is somewhere they have to be rather than a place they want to be, playing the game they love. There must be a balance between team morale and hard work.

“They don’t push themselves too hard. You want to get yourself ready for the upcoming season but you don’t want to be worn out before the start of the season,” Holmes said.

Don’t Dwell on the Disappointing End to Last Season

What doesn’t kill you, only makes you stronger.

This is the mindset the Panthers should head into next season with, and they can’t allow the end of last season to dictate their confidence going into conference play. With this team returning most of its key players, the sky’s the limit for the heavy veteran-led 2021 squad.

This, like any other offseason, will help build confidence and measure where this team will be on opening night in November. With all signs pointing to a regular schedule, the Panthers can accomplish everything they need to during the summer to allow for another excellent start to the season.