BRIDGEPORT, W.Va. Steve McDonald's Fairmont State roster is faced with the most turnover in the Mountain East Conference. All five starters from 2016-17 have graduated, yet McDonald wears the biggest smile on campus.
"Anytime you have young kids there's so little push-back, if any, on anything," said FSU women's head basketball coach Steve McDonald. "It's just refreshing. We can Reestablish the culture. Reestablish the work ethic that we've always had and do it with young kids who are excited to be here."
The script couldn't have been choreographed any better. As eight new players - including six freshmen - acquaint themselves with campus, they'll do so a month early and participate in fifty hours of practice within a ten-day window allotted by the NCAA. The team will then travel to Toronto for the first week of August for a pair of exhibition games and plenty of leisure time to form a team cohesion.
"Because we're not using the money to fly overseas, we're able to spend the money on the different activities that we're going to do," said McDonald. "We'll have three full days in Toronto with no basketball."
FSU's first meaningful tipoff comes over three months from now, but it is never too early for Coach Mac to shape personalities for the future. A 36-year vet, McDonald preaches the scriptures of other noble citizens to guide young ladies through the next phases of their lives.
"We've talked about social media. One day we talked about entitlement versus deserve," said McDonald. "We're using this as an opportunity to talk with them about adapting to college life, adapting to life in general and trying to relate the things that we do in our program to what happens to you when you leave here."