Andrea Hudy’s cell phone started flashing in Kansas University’s basketball team bus an hour and a half after the Jayhawks’ season-ending loss to Michigan State on March 27 in Indianapolis.
“A group of them texted. They said they want to do what it takes,” Hudy, KU’s fifth-year assistant athletic director/sports performance, said of KU’s returning players wanting to “do what it takes” in the weight room to position themselves for a national-title run in 2009-10.
“We lost on Friday night. The guys were in the weight room on Monday,” Hudy added.
“They could have had the week off. They came in on their own. For somebody to lose ... to feel how much it hurts on Friday and to look 366 days into the future, there’s a lot of dedication there. It shows a lot of motivation. It shows they have something to prove,” Hudy added.
Hudy, who was part of eight national titles (two men’s basketball, five women’s basketball, one men’s soccer) during her 91⁄2 years at the University of Connecticut and one NCAA title so far in her KU tenure, senses something special is going on in the minds of KU’s returning players.
“We lift five days a week for 45 minutes to an hour. Some come in on Saturday, too. They have a championship mentality right now,” Hudy said.
She’s happy to report that 6-foot-11 sophomore Cole Aldrich, who was listed at 245 pounds last season, is a rock-solid 250. Markieff Morris, a 6-9 freshman, weighs 238, and 6-8 freshman Marcus Morris is 230.
“They are both up 20, 25 pounds,” Hudy said of the Morris twins.
Newcomer Jeff Withey, who is listed at 6-10 on KU’s official roster, “was 212 when he walked through the door (last December after transferring from Arizona). He’s 229. He’s a completely different athlete from when he walked in. He’s buying into what we are trying to do,” Hudy added.
Another Jayhawk is turning heads daily in the weight facility.
“Tyrel (Reed) hang-cleaned 302 (pounds) the other day. He weighs 185,” Hudy gushed of the 6-3 sophomore guard. “He’s one of our best athletes.”
Hudy will have an opportunity to brag on her Jayhawks with some of the top strength and conditioning minds in the country this weekend.
Hudy and Andrew Fry, chair at the Department of Health, Sport and Exercise Science at KU, are co-directors of the Midwest Sports Performance Conference, set for Friday and Saturday at KU’s Anderson Family Strength and Conditioning Center.
The conference will focus on “preparing an athlete to compete in any sport at any level. Instruction will include best practice training methods, student wellness education, programs for in-season and offseason preparation and ways to increase constant improvement at all skill levels.”
The two-day workshop offers a combination of theory and practice. International theory presenters will include Fry and Hudy, as well as Perry Koziris, William Kraemer, Steve Phinney and Mary Vernon.
Notables who will make practical presentations include Hudy and KU director of strength and conditioning Chris Dawson, as well as Marcelo Aller, Jeff Connors, Jerry Martin, Mike Nitka, Steve Plisk and Jeff Reinardy.
“This is a great opportunity for anyone interested in personal training, physical therapy, athletic training and sports performance at any level to learn and experience the latest methods from sports performance experts representing the nation’s most successful athletic programs,” Hudy said. “The conference presenters come from all levels and are some of the most respected in the sports performance industry.”
Hudy said the conference would be a great way “to bring people to KU and show them the state of the art facilities we have and that we are one of the top programs in sport performance.”
Registration begins at 7:30 a.m. Friday. The conference ends with round-table discussions at 5 p.m. Saturday. More details are available at kuathletics.com.