Saturday, September 22, 2012

Universally reviled Boot Camp awaits KU hoops


For former Kansas University basketball player Tyshawn Taylor, the best day of Boot Camp was his last day of Boot Camp, 2011.

“I walked in the locker room, and these guys are passed out, dead tired, 7 o’clock in the morning. They’re laying around, and I’m up, shirt off, running around the room (saying), ‘I don’t have to do this (bleep) any more.’ I was so happy, so happy,” Brooklyn Nets rookie guard Taylor said of the conclusion of the 10th and final Boot Camp conditioning workout his senior year.

Taylor is long gone, having graduated last May, but for the 2012-13 Jayhawks, KU coach Bill Self’s 10th-annual preseason Boot Camp will begin at 6 a.m. Monday in the squad’s hoops practice facility adjacent to Allen Fieldhouse.

The 60-to-90-minute up-before-the-crack-of-dawn sprints, defensive slides and backboard touches will continue daily until Friday, then after a two-day break, will resume until Friday, Oct. 5.

“It’s literally two weeks of hell,” said Taylor, who survived four Boot Camps. “It’s not so much the workout stuff ... it’s the getting up every day at 6 in the morning. It’s added to the already-hectic schedule that we have. Nobody wants to do that for 10 days. It just sucks. It wears on your body, because you still have regular weights. You still have to do individuals (drills). You’ve still got to play pick-up. You’ve still got to go to tutoring, then do it all over again for 10 days in a row. It sucks.”

If a Jayhawk player is lucky, he’s able to sneak in a nap at some point in the early-afternoon hours. If not, he’s off to bed after early-evening tutoring in an attempt to get a good night’s sleep before resuming the drills.

“I’m looking forward to it being over with already, and we haven’t even started,” said KU senior forward Travis Releford, about to embark on his fifth Boot Camp thanks to a red-shirt season. “I’m just going into it telling our young guys how much they have to be motivated and have energy for it. That’ll make things a lot easier, I’ve known from my past experience.”

Releford said he doesn’t really have any secret tips to pass onto KU’s nine newcomers besides stressing they better arrive on time. Self has no patience for those who happen to be tardy.

“I try to get up a little early so I can grab something to eat like an energy bar,” Releford said. “I try to drink a Gatorade, nothing heavy, because it’s a lot of running.”

KU freshman guard/forward Andrew White III said he’ll be setting two alarms for himself and roomie Zach Peters in their Jayhawker Towers apartment.

“I always set two just to go to class and practice,” White said with a smile. “I definitely won’t be waking up late. I’ll go in there (Peters’ room) and make sure he’s up. We’ll figure it out.”

White said there hasn’t been a lot of discussion about Boot Camp since the start of the semester.

“Everybody has had it in the back of their mind just because you know this is when it’s time to really get going, and the season is right around the corner,” White said of the Oct. 12 Late Night in the Phog. “I know everybody has mixed emotions about it, but we’re ready for the season to get going, so I think everybody is looking forward to it in a way.

“I don’t dread it,” he added. “I think even when it’s over I’m not going to dread it because I know the feeling will be like, ‘You just accomplished the biggest goal possible up to that point.’ If that’s what we have to do, and that’s how coach gets the best response out of his players, I won’t dread it at all.”

Self said his players can draw from Boot Camp experiences, “all year long. It provides leadership, unity and toughness.”

The players certainly will feel a sense of accomplishment when it’s over, especially the seniors.

“I feel I’m going to be like Ty. After my last suicide (sprint), I’m probably going to be happy. I’m probably going to run it the fastest I’ve ever run it since I’ve been here since I know it’s my last one,” Releford said.

After all ... “There’s nothing better than being a senior and finishing Boot Camp. That’s what I hear,” senior center Jeff Withey said.


TexasHawk44 10 years ago

Can"t wait for the season to begin.

Ted Hume 10 years ago

TT's got to be careful, saying "you still have play pick-up". If I'm an NCAA [or KU] compliance officer reading this, I'm probably thinking that daily pick-up scrimmaging is required by the coaching staff, which is clearly forbidden...right?

Marcia Parsons 10 years ago

As far as I know, the coaches just can't be there while they play. It probably isn't required, but not going is probably frowned upon.

KUsmoothies 10 years ago

Ok it's official, White is going to be my favorite new player this yr

Michael Luby 10 years ago

Yes! I knew this was coming up soon. Ive been waiting to see this post all summer. Now it begins. Basketball time!

Im at work and Ive got some free time on my hands. Who will start? Who will see the most minutes? Who will be the most impressive out of our huge freshmen class? Obviously (to me) EJ, Releford and Withey will start. If Ben Mac is healthy and ready to go then I think he starts. If not, then it'll be White. If Traylor can play solid D and take pressure off of Withey in the post then I think he will start too. Both of those guys were here last year, they know the system better than the other freshies. I think they start based on that alone. But who knows, maybe Ellis starts or Young. I dont really know if Peters would or not. I read that both Lucas and Peters played well at times overseas this summer, so im not sure. Most likely both will come off the bench. Tharpe will sub for EJ, White will sub for Releford and/or Ben Mac, and our 4 bigs will rotate out like seasons past. We wont have to be as worried about foul trouble this year I think. I also think that a freshmen will be our leading scorer this year. I just dont see Elijah taking over a game like Collins did. Instead he will be more of a pass first guy. Thats not to say he wont get hot from time to time and drop 20+ points but, it wont be on a regular basis. Withey and Releford definitely can score but I dont see that being a focus for them either.

milehighhawk 10 years ago

Can we make Dayne Crist join them?

kellerman411 10 years ago

How dare you taint this discussion with such blasphemies. :)

tk19581ku 10 years ago

It would be awesome to have some football players at boot camp!! Get a little of that winning attitude spread through other programs.

Andy Godwin 10 years ago

Based what we saw in Europe, the true freshman who will likely make the biggest impact this year will be Ellis, Peters, and White. Ellis is the real deal and Peters has a motor that doesn't stop. He appears to have a knack for rebounding and getting those 50:50 balls Bill stresses. If Peters keeps improving Self will have the option of sitting Withey against the quicker and stronger post players. White can flat out shoot the three. He is probably the best outside shooter on the team (although that may be overstated since Ben Mac was not able to play much in Europe), so if he can play some defense on the wing then he will get some meaningful minutes. It will be a fun and challenging year watching this team continue to gel.

Kyle Neuer 10 years ago

Aaah, the first harbingers of my favorite season. Boot camp and barf buckets. Go get'em, guys.

UncleMiltyN 10 years ago

It's really hard to explain to somebody who doesn't know first hand how puking your guts out after being forced to run stairs is good for you, but it is.

I'd say the biggest benefit I received from two-a-days and really tough practices was knowing what I could survive. Once you've learned to push yourself past those mental and physical barriers, it's amazing how easy so many things in life become.

.....I think I need to watch the 08 overtime period today when the Chiefs game starts to go the way I think it's going to....

Mel Clare 10 years ago

Yeah.............went through military bootcamp for 9 weeks..............throwing up is a good thing sometimes! ;-)

Curtis Stutz 10 years ago

I think all of Jayhawk nation should get up and work out at 6am! I'm sure all of us need it just as bad as these guys do. Unless you've got a job that doesn't allow it, it'd be awesome for Kansans to use boot camp as motivation to stay/get fit. I'm on the east coast so I don't have to get up 'til 7 right?

Appreciate the work guys like Releford put in, 5 years of it, good on ya.

hawk316 10 years ago

I take a brisk walk at 6:00 AM nearly every morning. Does that count? I haven't had to puke yet, though, so maybe I'm not pushing it enough...

Marc Frey 10 years ago

I swim three days a week at 6am, and run 5M at 5A on T and R. Boot Camp would kill me.

Justin Daniel 10 years ago

Sounds like Demetrius Jackson is going to announce his choice this week. Did he ever take a visit to Kansas? I am afraid it is down to Illinois and ND.

Tan Hong Woon 10 years ago

That is why the Hawks are able to survive the Purdue, NC State, UNC, and Ohio games in the last NCAA. If not the 18 points deficits in the first half, KU might pull up another big upset in the final. The boot camp defines the toughness of KU basketball. Keep it up Hawks!

Rock Chalk!

chriz 10 years ago

Gosh, I'm just not as excited about the season since we're not playing MU. Kidding. Muck Fizzou.

mikehawk 10 years ago

The basketball team members get sick to their stomachs at boot camp, and I get a little quizzy watching the football team. Such is life in the two major D-1 sports at KU.

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