JOHNSON CITY — East Tennessee State men’s basketball coach Jason Shay said learning to deal with the starts and stops in this strange COVID-19 season is just part of the job.
The Bucs have had three games postponed after a member of the team tested positive for the coronavirus. They were cleared to resume practice Tuesday and will return to action Saturday at Furman.
“It’s that type of year,” Shay said. “It’s always great to get back on the court. Hopefully we can build off of what we did after we came back from break and see if we can get back to near where we were when we got shut down. It’s always good to be back on the floor when you’re a competitor.”
It was the third time the Bucs have paused because of positive tests. Two times came during preseason. Another positive test caused a few members of the team to miss a couple of games.
Shay said Tyler Janota, the team’s strength coach, has been working with the players on an individual basis.
“He worked them out at the apartments,” Shay said. “I think he took a stationary bike with him and took a kettlebell. Trying to do the best we could.”
The spring academic semester doesn’t start until Jan. 19, so the Bucs will have some extra time to work out the rust that comes from being inactive since they beat UNC Greensboro 71-61 on Jan. 2. Shay said he’ll treat it like when the team came back from Christmas break.
“We went two-a-days,” he said. “We had more skill-development individual in the morning and that allowed us to practice shorter in the afternoon where we went more live and really banged against each other. In the morning time we could put in new things as installation and then refine them, play in five-on-five situations to see how it works.”
Before the pause, ETSU put together a 6-4 record and won its first two Southern Conference games.
AN VENUE CHANGED
Saturday’s ETSU-Furman game has been moved to the on-campus Timmons Arena, where the Bucs are 1-5 over the past six years. It originally was supposed to be played in the downtown Bon Secours Wellness Arena.
“It’s a tough place to play,” Shay said of Timmons Arena.
The game, which starts at 4 p.m., is being shown on ESPNU.
The Bucs have makeup dates for the three games they couldn’t play.
They will host VMI on Jan. 18 and Samford on Feb.1 and play at Wofford on Feb. 15.