66ers Head Coach Nate Tibbetts Ready for Training Camp
Head coach Nate Tibbetts, now in his second season with the 66ers, says the focus is clear as his team kicks off the 2010-11 season.
“There is no question that our main focus for training camp will be defensive intensity and effort,” Tibbetts said. “As a coaching staff, we must make our players realize they must commit to each other and do the little things to help us win games. We are looking for guys who have good, positive energy every day.”
Training camp is scheduled to wrap up on Nov. 16, a day before the team departs for Bakersfield, Calif., for its season opener against the Jam on Nov. 19.
“As a player, you want to come into camp in shape and ready to work,” Tibbetts said. “Knowing the players we have returning and the guys we drafted, we expect them to come in mentally ready and focused every day.”
Among the 16 players beginning training camp with the 66ers are Tweety Carter, Jerome Dyson and Elijah Millsap who also attended Oklahoma City Thunder training camp. Thanks to a D-League rule change, the trio will go into camp with the 66ers as affiliate players under contract.
“All of the drills, everything we ask those three to do will be the same things they saw in Oklahoma City,” Tibbetts said. “That familiarity is going to be very beneficial to them, as well as other guys on the team.”
Also in training camp for the 66ers are 2010 D-League Draft selections. With the draft taking place on Nov. 1, there is a short turn-around to the beginning of camp.
“We want those guys to come in and do what they are good at,” Tibbetts said. “We have to get down to our 10-man roster in less than two weeks, so we want them to come in and be who they are and not put too much pressure on themselves.”
Also starting training camp with Tulsa will be several contributors from the 2009-10 season, including Steven Hill, Zabian Dowdell, Larry Owens and Latavious Williams.
“Having those guys back is huge,” Tibbetts said. “It speaks volumes that we had guys decide to return to Tulsa. I believe they found a comfort level with the 66ers and have seen how we treat them and how we are dedicated to helping them develop into better players.”