Video: I.J. Ready, Fred Thomas

Mississippi State guards I.J. Ready and Fred Thomas update the Bulldogs progress through the first two weeks of practice. The upperclassmen have high expectations for the team this year.

1 Fred Thomas Sr. G

 On working on his shot…

“I think it is coming along very well. I just have to get the feel of it back and keep listening to what coach Ben Howland has to say. I am so used to shooting the same way I have been in the past so it will take time to make the transition. I knew I would have to change my shot as soon as coach showed me the video of it. Coach wants me to add more arc to my shot. I have a tendency to jerk my head back after I shoot the ball. He wants me to fix this by keeping my eye on the target and focusing on my shot.”

 On focusing on fundamentals…

“He divides his focus amongst everything, but really focuses on the point guards. The point guards have to know how to control the game. If they can control the game then they can control the other factors.”

 On earning reps during practice…

“Now that we have a couple of guys out, it is like we are going 10-on-10 every time we go 5-on-5. It is going to be competitive at every position because of the experienced players and the freshmen, which are talented for their age and bring a lot to practice. Every drill and scrimmage we run is aggressive to help better each other.“

 15 I.J. Ready Jr. G

 On what he’s learned over the last two years…

“The difference in the physicality and game speed in the Southeastern Conference. I think I have fully adjusted to the game speed and how it should be played at the point guard position. Basically the tempo and how I should be able to run the team and be able to choose when to score and distribute the ball to my teammates. The game speed slowed down for me as the year went on. I should be able to start this season how I ended last season.”

 On improvement in health…

“I am to the point of working out with 225 pounds. That is not my max out weight, but the weight I use when working out with other players on the team. I am getting stronger and I am able to go in the paint and finish against the bigger defenders. I was able to get to the goal last year, but could not finish in the midst of the larger defenders.”

 On Quinndary Weatherspoon and Malik Newman at practice…

“We are very guard heavy, including Fred [Thomas] and Craig [Sword], too. Everyday you have to bring it. We compete against each other because we know if we keep the level of competition high then it will be hard for other teams to stop us. Our level of competition is at an all-time high right now.”

 On team’s transformation…

“We have improved since coach Howland arrived. When you have a coach like him you have no choice but to listen and grasp everything he tells you. Everyday we come to practice we learn and it makes us better. Everyone is making strides, including myself.”

I have covered Mississippi State in some capacity since 2004 and joined the Daily Journal staff in 2013. I enjoy short walks on the beach, performing concerts in my car and watching professional wrestling.

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