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Cedric Solice draws from experiences in NBA D-League to become do-it-all type for Syracuse women’s basketball

first_imgUPDATED: Jan. 31, 2017 at 9:35 a.m.In the spring of 2001, Cedric Solice picked up a call from an old mentor. Solice had just completed his basketball career at Charleston Southern when Rob Ross, his former athletic trainer at CSU, asked him if he could join the NBA Development League team he coached. The North Charleston Lowgators, which is no longer operating, needed a player for its practice squad.“He goes, ‘Hey man, I need you to come in and practice,’” recalls Solice, Syracuse’s director of program management and development. “I said: ‘Nah man, I am not coming to play with those guys. Those guys are pros.’”“Listen, just show up and you’ll be fine,” Ross told him.Solice is grateful for the call he received from Ross to join the Lowgators’ practice squad. The opportunity positioned him around basketball and organizational minds from different backgrounds, setting him up for his current role at SU (15-7, 6-3 Atlantic Coast).AdvertisementThis is placeholder textSolice came to Syracuse in 2006 after playing and working for the Lowgators from 2001-2004. Solice was named the women’s basketball director of operations in 2009 and helps handle recruiting and scheduling. He served as an assistant coach for the Orange in the 2012-13 and 2015-16 seasons, during which Syracuse went 54-16 and reached its first-ever national championship game.When Solice joined the Lowgators practice team in 2001, he and the rest of the unit ran plays against the starting defense.“All you have to do is hit the first shot, then you’ll be fine,” Ross told Solice. “Don’t worry, the ball will be there in your hands, and all you have to do is catch it and shoot.”“A’ight,” Solice said.On the squad’s first offensive set of the day, Solice ran off a double-staggered screen and caught a pass as he turned toward the hoop. He heaved up a shot. The ball hit the rim, rattled around the edges, then fell through the net.Soon, the Lowgators no longer needed Solice to play. That’s when he joined the team’s staff, a “tremendous” opportunity to learn about basketball and how organizations operate.“(I learned) the insides of pro-level coaching, what it takes to play at that level and how disciplined they are,” Solice said.Solice worked with the team’s head coach, NBA legend Alex English, who retired in 1991 as the league’s seventh leading all-time scorer with 25,613 points. Solice also worked with Ime Udoka, a Lowgators star in 2004 before playing five seasons in the NBA. Udoka is now an assistant coach for the San Antonio Spurs. By surrounding himself with these basketball minds, Solice learned how to mentor players.“Everybody has certain needs, and you have to individualize, at the same time trying to find where it fits the mission of the team,” Solice said. “Because if they’re more comfortable outside of the team, the more comfortable they will be with the team.”In 2006, Solice came to SU as a master’s student in the Setnor School of Music. Justin Mertz, SU’s director of athletic bands, said Solice studied deeply.While pursuing his degree in instrumental conducting, Solice joined the SU women’s basketball team as a graduate manager. He became responsible for assisting the coaching staff with all facets of practices, helping players with individual workouts. It was Solice’s first-ever role in college athletics since playing at CSU nearly a decade earlier, but a job that he had been prepared to take.“These players have their own individual missions and needs,” Solice said, “whether it’s a performance deficiency or a personality deficiency, and all of those needs needed to be addressed differently.”Solice began visiting his former music teacher, Mertz, and helped train the drumline of the SU marching band. Solice also started working with Mertz in scheduling traveling pep bands at NCAA tournament games that the women’s team was playing in — organizing travel, lodging and other logistical hurdles for the group.“Cedric is extremely intelligent and talented in a lot of different areas,” Mertz said. “You see that in the fact that he’s training as a musician, but he makes his living off of college athletics. He’s a very good educator, and he’s a very good person, so he’s a great mentor for our kids.”“It was just a tremendous learning pot, and I really enjoyed the experience,” Solice said.CORRECTION: In a previous version of this post, the current state of the North Charleston Lowgators was misstated. The team is no longer operating. The Daily Orange regrets this error. Comments Facebook Twitter Google+ Published on January 30, 2017 at 10:58 pm Contact Matt: [email protected]last_img


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