Monday, September 27, 2010

Dreaded KU hoops Boot Camp under way

Kansas forward Marcus Morris stands in Allen Fieldhouse in this file photo. The Jayhawks' boot camp has begun.

Kansas forward Marcus Morris stands in Allen Fieldhouse in this file photo. The Jayhawks' boot camp has begun.


Marcus Morris was in a good mood last Wednesday ... until mid-afternoon, when a media member reminded him that Kansas University’s Basketball Boot Camp loomed just five days away.

“I know. Don’t remind me,” junior forward Morris said, frowning. “Every time somebody starts talking about it, I drag my head and get all ...”

Depressed? Concerned? Anxious?

Actually, all of the above.

“Boot Camp is never fun,” Morris said.

He and his brother, Markieff, admit they’ve been dreading the opening session of Bill Self’s two-week Boot Camp conditioning program, set for 6 a.m. today in Allen Fieldhouse.

“Boot Camp just scares me,” Markieff Morris said. “It’s probably because of the time. Once you get on the court, it’s all defensive (drills). Everything you do is without a ball. That’s always tough.”

Morning Boot Camp consists of 50 minutes to an hour’s worth of non-stop movement — up-and-back sprints, defensive slides and backboard touches. After that, it’s off to campus for class, followed by weightlifting, individual workouts, pick-up games and mandatory tutoring sessions.

It makes for a long day/night.

“I expect it to be the worst two weeks of basketball I’ve ever played,” said KU freshman guard Royce Woolridge, quickly adding, “but I’ll definitely be in shape and be a lot better after that.

“I’m not looking forward to it. Everything they (teammates) say about Boot Camp just makes it sound horrible. The whole team ... they all talk about how bad it is,” the former Phoenix Sunnyslope High standout added, forcing a smile.

Markieff Morris unwittingly provided some comic relief at last year’s Boot Camp.

“Kieff wasn’t making his times (in sprints), so coach just said, ‘Go sit on the sideline. You and your brother,’’’ senior guard Brady Morningstar said, laughing at the recollection.

“Even though Marcus was making his times, coach grouped those two together and said, ‘Why don’t you both just get off the court?’

“Coach was like, ‘Just go sit down, don’t even run no more,’” junior Tyshawn Taylor cracked.

Markieff admits it’s a team-bonding story — at his expense — that will hold up well over time.

‘“Everybody was too tired to laugh, but after Boot Camp was over it was a big joke,” Markieff said of his getting chased from the floor. “Man ... my legs got tight, my back got tight, and I got to the point I couldn’t run any more. I was making the guys run 'em over and over (as a penalty) so I guess coach got tired and said, ‘Kieff, you go sit down.’ Coach made me do them later when my legs felt better.”

Just a freshman, guard Elijah Johnson gained respect for Morris for completing his work later that day.

“I think it was more so a mental thing. Coach wants to see what people have got mentally, so he challenges them,” Johnson said. “It was nothing Kieff couldn’t do. He came back later and finished up strong.”

Johnson’s lasting moment of his first Boot Camp came on the first day.

“The funniest thing I saw was all the garbage cans lined up around the court. That was pretty funny to me, until I had to use one,” said Johnson, who barfed into one of the “Chase cans” — named for former walk-on Chase Buford, whose picture appeared on each of the bins.

They were in “honor” of Buford, who tended to throw up on a regular basis in his three Boot Camps.

“The hardest thing was just trying to make sure my teammates and I stayed on the same page because it can get frustrating sometimes,” Johnson said. “It’s just intense. You get to see what people got, see if people are really ready for the season or not, see how excited people are for it.”

Tough on everybody, Boot Camp is most difficult on the freshmen.

“They are hearing a lot about it now. We just got done talking about it,” soph Travis Releford said, continuing the tradition of educating/scaring the freshmen about Boot Camp.

“It always kills the freshmen because coach has his eyes on them,” Morningstar said. “As you get older, you’ve been there so coach doesn’t look at you as much, which I might be telling myself right now.

“They don’t know what to expect. But it’s just getting up in the morning and working out, nothing different that you do.”

Newcomers Woolridge, Josh Selby, Niko Roberts and Justin Wesley figure to get through it.

“It’ll definitely be hard to get up that early, especially running because my legs will be all tight. It’s something I’ll get used to,” Woolridge said.

After two weeks (the players get Saturday and Sunday off), the players will taper for a week prior to the Oct. 15 season-opening Late Night in the Phog.

“This is probably more mental than anything,” Self said, summing up Boot Camp, which he has held at all his coaching stops. “This is great for team unity, knowing they can get through and do something they didn’t think they could do. This adds an extra element of toughness they can draw from and during the season say, ‘This isn’t so hard, remember when we did this (at Boot Camp)?'’’


ParisHawk 11 years, 9 months ago

This is the kind of story I like: guys working hard as a team and storing up good memories. The way Self leads is somewhere between interesting and fascinating.

Winning starts today.

KU_FanSince75 11 years, 9 months ago

I used to coach boys middle school and our tryouts were tough---lots of running. We had guys throwing up all the time. It provides the coaches a good picture of who is mentally tough---separates the pretenders and the contenders. Good luck to the basketball Jayhawks during "Boot Camp."

jaybate 11 years, 9 months ago

"Gauging Toughness for Hoopah's Who've Died, Died"

Gauging toughness by inducing suffering is kind of a lame way to coach IMHO. When I was in high school, most football coaches believed that the way to gauge toughness was to have two, or three a days in August heat and not give the players fluids. The guys that dropped from heat exhaustion and dehydration were judged to be wanting in toughness. This was stupid for many reasons. It tended to drive away talented players with sufficient insight and talent to know how dumb it was (alas, I was not one of the insightful at that age). But worse, each year some players died of this sort of thing. As George Patton said, "You don't win a war by dying for your country. You win a war by making the other poor, dumb bastard die for his country." Feed your soldiers well. Never make them make sacrifices you would not be willing to make. Train them impeccably. Give them the best weapons. Put them in the best positions to fight and win. Only a really stupid horse trainer takes a stable full of potential Kentucky Derby winners and withholds fluids from them in order to see which ones get dehydrated first. Inducing puking by players will also almost certainly one day be revealed to be as counter productive in the pursuit of athletic excellence, as inducing conditions for some to have heat exhaustion once was. Once there was a heat exhaustion cult among coaches. It passed, once they fully understood the stupidity of inducing heat exhaustion and the risk of criminal culpability for having created such conditions. Now there is a puking cult among coaches. It too will pass one day. The puking cult is just bullimia with jocks.

Jim Carroll, the late poet, rocker, and proto albino gangsta hoopah from the Big Apple, called playing hoops and puking, taking drugs and puking, and doing both hoops and drugs and puking, as purifying and the pursuit of extreme unction. Basketball Diaries, or not, Jim was sick. How tough was that? To modify his lyrics, this post's for hoopahs who've died, died.

Martin Rosenblum 11 years, 9 months ago

Since Withey wasn't eligible to play at the first of the season last year, did he go through the "boot camp"? If not, this will make two that he was unfortunate enough to miss out on!

khummel60 11 years, 9 months ago

It has Begun! LOVE this time of year. Won't be long now before the rafters of the old field-house are rattling once again. Excellence, Tradition, Winning, Championships - it all starts at the "Chase Can". Mmmmmm... I can almost smell the vomit from here.

Tony Bandle 11 years, 9 months ago

1] This article partially explains why walk on Chase Buford walked off

2] Would have been nice to know what Josh is doing.

Is he watching? Is he even allowed in the building? Is this considered "non-practicve" so he is running?

3] Do other schools do this type of conditioning?

4] ! wonder if they wait to tell the recruited seniors about this until after they sign!! ?? :]

Chicago_JHawk 11 years, 9 months ago

Article last week indicated that Selby can participate in everything except games at this point, so I would assume he's participating.

Marcia Parsons 11 years, 9 months ago

Unless it was added after your comment, you must have missed the place in the article where it lists Josh among the "newcomers" who will be going through it for the first time.

jaybate 11 years, 9 months ago

Response to Q4:

No, Oak, Self is honest and tells them before that; that's why so many like Turner opt out. :-)

jaybate 11 years, 9 months ago

Response to Q4:

No, Oak, Self is honest and tells them before that; that's why so many like Turner opt out. :-)

REHawk 11 years, 9 months ago

I'm sitting here chuckling, picturing the bewilderment of Marcus being forced to the bleachers alongside his brother Markieff. Bill Self has a great sense of humor. I imagine that the best thing to come out of these toughening ten days is the great sense of bonding among players, esp. the rookies. By Late Night the group will be well on the road to becoming a TEAM. Sad that Withey won't be in the mix. There will be some matchups this year when that kid's shotblocking skills will save the bacon, and that pretty hook shot from eight foot in the paint will give opponents fits.

John Brown 11 years, 9 months ago

Chase Cans with his photo pasted to each can! That's not how I want to be remembered when I die.

khummel60 11 years, 9 months ago

Poor Chase. I wonder if these B-Ball players will instinctively get sick to their stomach now every time they see Chase Buford. Seems like a classical case of Pavlovian conditioning.

jaybate 11 years, 9 months ago

During the summer, when Hudy is praising you for getting big for her, nothing seems better than being a prison body.

During boot camp, about 30 minutes into the first session, you wish you were a whippet.

WDC_Jayhawk 11 years, 9 months ago

I would just like to say: That's hilarious.

MrPilot 11 years, 9 months ago

Your dedication is an inspiration to us all.

Martin Rosenblum 11 years, 9 months ago

Don't pull a hammie bending over to steal that newspaper!

When it's all over, maybe you'll be able to go 5-6 slices of bacon like a real man.

REHawk 11 years, 9 months ago

...wish you were a whippet. O jaybate, that is deluxe!!!!!!!!!!!!

Matt Bowers 11 years, 9 months ago

As a high school soccer coach in NC, I will say that you figure out a lot about your team by what they are able to handle mentally. Who gives up, who looks to mom to bail them out, who is a team player, who steps up, and who makes excuses? These are all the things you take into consideration when developing or maintaining a program. Keep up the good work HCBS.

Rock Chalk

Mark Wooden 11 years, 9 months ago

Withey is a practice player just like Kleinman. Thomas Robinson is the man that needs to explode this year.

Martin Rosenblum 11 years, 9 months ago

You can't be serious! Withey, a practice player only? Kleinmann was just what we needed for all of his years as a role player. Withey is a project with more potential than Matt could have had if Danny had taken him under his wing for another four years. Didn't you see him play against Iowa State last year? He needs to overcome his injuries and play to his potential in practice and he'll be a sleeper by January.

jaybate 11 years, 9 months ago


he's not serious. he's wizbuc. :-)

I also expect Withey to be a player sooner or later.

Woody Cragg 11 years, 9 months ago

I played football for Bill Freeman before he coached at Lawrence High way back in the 60's. He was pi$$ and vinegar. Been there done that, but that's what it takes to compete. It's part of it and you can't get there without it. But it IS a b*tch! So suck it up men, at least you have warm ups (sweats) to wear when it's freezing rain and the wind's blowing about 40mph. We ran in white gym shorts and T-shirts and froze our butts off.

jaybate 11 years, 9 months ago

And I, for one, walked buck naked for six miles in blizzards to a mule stop and then rode on a brass saddle that my you know whats froze too before I got to school each morning! :-)

jaybate 11 years, 9 months ago

"Some Other Ways You Know Slayr Is In His Own Private Kansas Boot Camp"

~Street his domicile is on is lined with 146 step-to-open waste baskets; each lined with haz mat bags.

~Slayr's usual impeccable basketball judgement becomes warped into a parallel dimension by fantasies of bench pressing a new, partially naked cheerleader each day of boot camp.

~Reports circulate that Slayr has joined The Company to get a new identity and four more years of D1 eligibility. His new identity is Kareem Chamberlain and The Company has surgically installed shin extentions that make him 7'9" tall. Assistant Deputy Director for Midwestern Operations William Self has also comped him a new birth certificate indicating he is age 18. Self has offered Slayr an OAD slot and a life time membership in the Don't Ask/Don't Tell Hair Cooperative for men, if and only if Slayr will attend KU and not challenge the NBA for being an unconstitutional cartel.

~The new Grand Ma Maison's Michellin 5-star rated restaurant on Mass Street featuring "European Union Cuisine" and the new to Kansas two hour lunch aka "eating light and having a flesh siesta" suddenly closes its doors while the mystery owner, Mr. XTReme X, rumored to be Slayr, takes a holiday to suffer in what is rumored to be gastronomic boot camp for gourmands aka Hell's Kitchen on the Kaw, but which is really a relentless, two-week slide into doing the sweet nothing, while Federico Fellini's 8 1/2 plays an endless loop on Slayr's new crimson and blue iTablet.

~Five Mossad agents posing as carpet cleaners sit atop their carpet cleaning truck on Slayr's Lawrence street and claim in Yiddish to anyone who will listen that they are Muslim terrorists. While operating joy sticks that guide six UAV's marked with Iranian insignias into the Daisy Hill dorms, which then become the first seven dormitories based on Le Corbusier's worker housing, to fall entirely within their own footprints--even Templin Hall which is hit by nothing but a flying frisbee, they cheer and shout, "Cous cous and Lanie Kazan, er, Iran forever!"

~Hundreds of young women with silicone and silicon breast implants suddenly begin converging on Slayr's domicile claiming he and only he will be the father of their children until Slayr's dog Heidegger accidentally yanks from the socket the power cord to the microwave mind control, er crowd control, device under Slayr's domicile, put there by none other that Vladimir Putin, who is reputedly so pleased with the play of Sasha Kaun that he is trying to use mind control to make all future KU players pass up the NBA to play Russian professional hoopskies.

~Lots of low tech, 1980s athletic supporters hang out to dry on a line after Slayr's bi-annual mass washing.

(Note: Of course, all of the above is fiction and without malice.)

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