Bearcats Basketball plans for Valdosta State tournament

Published 12:45 pm Saturday, June 24, 2023

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The Bearcat varsity basketball team travels to Valdosta State University this weekend to compete in a summer tournament. The team plays five games in total. 


Head Coach Kelvin Cochran said his team gets to play on a college court and against teams they don’t usually play. The Bearcats face teams from Tallahassee, Jacksonville, and Statesboro. 

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Cochran won’t be bringing all his players to Valdosta. He said players have been pulled away from team activities this summer due to other responsibilities, such as football and AAU basketball activities.


“We still won’t have a full team [this weekend],” Cochran said. “But it gives experience for the other guys.”


The “other guys” are the rising first- and second-year students on the team. The Bearcats have a young team this year after losing four starters from the previous season. Coach Cochran is working this summer to acquaint his underclassmen with varsity play.


“There’s a lot of new guys who are going to be playing new roles,” Cochran said. “It’s easy to be part of a team where you just sit down and cheer for your teammates. … but then when you get in the game, that kind of pressure and anxiety on you, it’s a lot different.” 


Cochran is helping the young guys get comfortable with making mistakes. He tells his players that mistakes are ok — and unavoidable — and wants them to put in the extra effort to correct an error when it happens. 


“Sometimes kids play to not mess up,” Cochran said. “They won’t be as aggressive. You got to let loose and play because you’re going to make mistakes. I always try to tell them, “NBA players make millions of dollars, and they do the same stuff yall do.’”