Both basketball teams are doing their small-group workouts. Watched a little of both. I will try to talk to Gregg Marshall and Jody Adams to see how things are going. I would expect their experiences are quite different. Marshall’s team is experienced (at least compared to last season). Adams has eight new players and three returners.The baseball team is doing senior-led workouts at Trinity High. The Eck Stadium outfield is bare and looks prepared for turf. As of Tuesday, crews were ripping the turf off the infield.I’ve seen parts of three or four volleyball practices. Outside hitter Emily Adney is the freshman who stands out to me. She takes all-out swings and doesn’t look like a freshman. The 10-person freshmen class, in general, appears to be a step above most as athletes. Don’t know how many will play this season, but next season coach Chris Lamb will have a bunch of redshirt freshmen ready. I think Lamb would like to find another six-rotation player to go along with Emily Stockman. I think Amanda Backes and Sarah McGee will get chances to show what they can do in the early matches.My guess is Lamb is the toolsiest coach in the athletic department. He is a builder and a fixer. Wednesday, he showed me a protective box he built to hold a camera used to tape practices with an elevated view.Shocker baseball plays at Long Beach State in March.FoxSports.com’s Jeff Goodman ranks Southern Illinois’ Tony Freeman No. 3 in his list of transfers to high-major (his words) schools. SIU, in my mind, might be the biggest wild-card in the MVC. I picked the Salukis fifth for Athlon’s magazine (coming out in September) after much moving, back-tracking, pondering, cutting and pasting. Wichita State, Bradley and SIU seem to be fighting for the fourth spot (behind Northern Iowa, Creighton and Illinois State). It would not suprise me to see SIU make a big move up the standings, especially if Freeman is a big help.Four MVC basketball coaches (or their ghost writers) are on Twitter. So is Mark Turgeon. Marshall is not, but assistant coach Chris Jans takes care of Shocker fans who need 140-word updates once or twice a day.Illinois State’s schedule continues to be a sore spot with some Redbird fans.
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