Shulman changes his tune amidst Mocs' struggles
CHATTANOOGA (WRCB) -- John Shulman watched Kansas State head coach Frank Martin get after his players Monday night in the Wildcats loss to rival Kansas.
Martin had the same fire Shulman often displays when correcting one of his player's mistakes, but those outbursts have been few and far between in recent weeks for the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga head coach.
"If I did that right now I think we might crumble," he said before practice Tuesday.
Shulman is known for being passionate, loud, and extremely critical when it comes to breaking down his team. He demands perfection and runs schemes that thrive off it.
But he's had to change his tune a little this season with UTC mired in its worst slump of his eight-year tenure.
"You would think this is a normal time to blast guys, but it's not because they're getting blasted enough anyway. This is a time to be positive," Shulman said. "You need to be positive when things are going bad and negative when things are going good. It's the opposite of what you would think."
Reserve point guard Dontay Hampton said the team has noticed Shulman's uncharacteristically upbeat attitude during the struggles. While it was a weird change at first, the players have come to appreciate what their coach is doing.
"Ya, he's definitely been a little more positive and on the nice side right now," Hampton said. "People are going to have their opinions when you go through times like this, so it's nice to have a coach who is behind you and keeps telling you positive things."
Shulman said it hasn't been hard to be more positive because he believes the Mocs are playing good basketball heading into Wednesday night's showdown at Appalachian State.
He said they've been consistently above-average in his mind, and they continue to bring great effort to the floor each and every night. The results just aren't reflecting it.
"We're not that far off. It's a few plays here and there. It's not like I'm breaking something apart and reworking it offensively or defensively," he said. "I look back at one or two plays a game, we could be having the best season I've ever had here. It wouldn't even be close. But for whatever reason we're not making those few plays and we're not getting the breaks."
"We took a couple days off this past weekend, which we needed. We'll be ready to go when we get to Boone."
Hampton cleared to play against Mountaineers
Hampton put a scare into coaches over the weekend after crashing to the floor in Saturday's loss to UNC-Greensboro.
Hampton left the game with a gash on his forehead that needed stitches, and the initial fear was the reserve guard had a concussion because of nausea after the injury. But Shulman said Tuesday it all seemed worse than it really was.
"I think he saw the blood from his forehead and he threw up," Shulman said. "He was a little light-headed, but he was actually cleared on Sunday. He's good to go for Appalachian State."
Trainers worked to close a gash on Hampton's forward before he returned to the team bench later in the game. He said that experience was worse than the initial contact on the floor.
"I didn't even feel any pain when it happened and I told coach not to take me out. Then I checked my face and I was bleeding, so they had to take me out," he said. "We went to the back and they were numbing it, and it felt like I was getting five tattoos on your face. That's what made me a little woozy."
Hampton leads the team in steals, averaging one per game, to go along with 6.4 points per contest.
He hit a layup at the buzzer to lift the Mocs to an 65-63 win over Appalachian State in the first meeting between the two teams this season at McKenzie Arena.