Pioneers Hit the Hardwood With a New Style of Play
Coach Billups brings a new brand of basketball to DU
Whatever you remember of the DU men’s basketball program in the past, forget about it. First-year coach Rodney Billups is bringing a new style of play to campus.
“We are trying to change things from playing slow to now running and trying to score in transition,” Billups says. “The energy in the building will be different. The energy with the student-athletes will be different. The way that we play will look like night and day.”
Moving from the slower pace half-court offense to an up-tempo attack hasn’t been easy. “It’s been an adjustment, especially on the defensive end, getting used to playing man-to-man instead of playing zone,” says guard Joe Rosga. The sophomore led the Pioneers in scoring last season.
Billups hopes all the running will give the Pioneers an advantage, both at home and on the road. He’s challenged the team to go undefeated at home, 13-0, and he’s hoping they can build on the success they had last season on the road.
Billups, who played three years at DU and graduated in 2005, admits that building on last year’s 16-win season will not be easy. However, he says, starting this Saturday against Jacksonville, the team can do it with the help of fans.
“I need everybody to show up. I need everybody to be loud and create a home court advantage that has never been in this building for basketball. It’s there for hockey, it’s there for lacrosse, it’s there for soccer. We need to create a basketball community,” Billups says.
The players believe fans will be excited by what they see on the court this year. “Fans should expect us to be very fast-paced and up-tempo,” Rosga says. “It should be a lot of fun to watch, and they should expect to win.”