College basketball is back! First practices started this week for college basketball teams around the country. Prior to practice getting going, Xavier basketball posted pictures of new coach, Travis Steele leading the Musketeers in a pre-practice team meeting about Gold Jersey.

The post said:

Pre-Practice Team Meeting. @CoachSteeleXU breaking down the Gold Jersey tied to daily practice grading. As the returning player with the most practice points in 2017-18, @TyriqueJones_ kicks off Week 1 in gold.

It appears that going forward, Xavier basketball will be using this hustle chart during practice to evaluate their players. They have taken the stats they have deemed most important to them in terms of impact on winning are using those in their evaluation of their players on a daily basis.

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This is not the first hustle chart that I have come across. I have also seen a very similar one used by Shaka Smart when he was at VCU. The programs have different categories in each of their charts. Just like Xavier’s, VCU’s chart is tailored to fit what they believe is important their program and the little details that lead to winning.

It also looks as though Xavier has gone one step further and added the element of “the gold jersey.” It will be given to the player that accumulates the most practice points. While it doesn’t directly say how often the jersey changes, my guess would be that it is on a weekly basis. This is a nice way to reward a player for their positive performance in those “winning areas.”

This is an idea that is also used by Sean Miller at Arizona. Sean has used a gold jersey at practice to motivate his players. While I am not sure if it statistical based, Miller gives the jersey to the player that ha had the best week of practice.

Both these ideas are great ways of creating competition amongst the team. It is a simple way of motivating players to not just go through the motions, but to work towards a goal. It is also a great way of rewarding a player for his concerted efforts in trying to do the things that the program deems most valuable. It is not always about scoring the most points or making the flashiest plays. It can be about doing all the little things that make the difference.

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