Putnam Science Academy basketball coach Tom Espinosa is always looking for his players to make mental adjustments, to, in his words “figure it out.”
On a team loaded with talent, Espinosa wants to know which of his guys can raise their level of play as the level of the opponent also rises. That’s what Week 1 has been about for a lot of them.
“A lot of these guys, most of them really, have always been the best player,” Espinosa said. “And a lot of them face really good competition, especially in AAU. But here, we’ve got 10, 11, 12 really, really good players. Guys have to figure out how they get to their strengths against guys whose strength is not letting that happen.”
Take for example Sean Durugordon. The 6-foot, 6-inch wing who has committed to SEC member University of Missouri, said this first week of getting in the gym has been eye-opening.
“The biggest adjustment I’ll have to make is shooting the 3-pointer more,” he said. “I could always shoot but I usually was able to get in the lane whenever I wanted so I preferred driving. But now there are bigger and more athletic people, so it won’t be as easy.”
PSA made a concerted effort this summer to bring in even more talent to the program than has been here before. The Mustangs have greater depth on its two non-prep teams (now known as the Varsity Elite and Varsity) as a result.
One of those players is LJ Hicks, who will play on the Varsity Elite team.
“Every day you come to practice it’s like being in a game because there’s a lot of good players on the teams,” he said. “The biggest adjustment I’ve had to make already was making sure I’m staying on a good track with my food. Making sure I don’t drink soda and just making the right choices to keep my body in the best shape that I can. Because we play a lot of basketball and what you eat can have a huge impact on how you play.”
How much basketball the teams play remains to be seen. Espinosa is continuing to build a schedule of some sort through all the unknowns of the pandemic. For now though, team practices, drills, and workouts will suffice.
Stephen Nalbandian
Sports Information Director
Putnam Science Academy


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