Archive for Saturday, October 4, 2008

Jayhawks survive first week of Self’s Boot Camp

October 4, 2008

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After crawling out of bed between 5 and 5:30 a.m. for five straight days, Kansas University's basketball players were looking forward to sleeping in today and Sunday.

"I'm very happy to have the weekend off. My body is hurting right now," KU newcomer Tyrone Appleton said Friday.

The 6-foot-2 junior guard out of Midland (Texas) College was speaking after surviving the first half of his first Boot Camp - Bill Self's up-before-the-crack-of-dawn conditioning program, which will resume at 6:05 a.m. Monday and run through Friday.

"This weekend should give me enough time to rest up for next week," Appleton added.

Appleton was one of seven newcomers to experience hourly morning workouts that consisted of nonstop sprints, defensive slides and backboard touches.

"Getting up at 5:20 every day is kind of tough," said KU freshman Tyshawn Taylor. "We have to go to class right after Boot Camp. I think that's the toughest part of the whole thing."

The second toughest part?

"Just the running," Taylor, a 6-3 guard out of St. Anthony High in Jersey City, N.J., said. "We do a lot of drills, then we run, and we are supposed to make a certain time. If everybody doesn't make it, we have to run again. People are really tired.

"Some of the big guys don't make it every time, so we've got to push them. Running at the end every day is the toughest."

Taylor said Boot Camp is the toughest thing he's endured in his athletic career.

"No comparison at all. I played for a tough high school coach. He didn't run us this much," Taylor said.

"It's 20 times harder (than junior college drills)," Appleton noted. "The hardest thing is getting your body ready to start running. It's early, and you are just waking up. You haven't eaten yet. Once your body gets going, it's fine.

"The first week was good. I'm looking forward to next week."

Nobody has yet been late for a Boot Camp session.

"Thank goodness. Thank goodness," senior center Matt Kleinmann said, realizing a newcomer or veteran strolling in late would mean punishment for all.

"As far as overall enthusiasm, these guys have been great," Kleinmann added of the first-year players. "They don't want to be here, but they want to be here. They know this is good for them. They are working hard. Physically, some guys are on top of their game, too."

There haven't been any out-of-the-ordinary moments entering Week Two.

"I remember some funny things over the years with Darnell (Jackson) and 'Shady' (Darrell Arthur)," said Kleinmann, recalling Memphis Grizzlies rookie Arthur stripping down to his tights one day in trying to shed some weight in surviving sprints.

"It was funny how 'Shady' dealt with it. None of these guys are going to strip down. I don't have to worry about 'Q' running down in his underwear. I don't think he's going to go that far," Kleinmann added of 6-7, 240-pound freshman Quintrell Thomas.

As always, some Jayhawks lost their breakfast this past week at Boot Camp.

"Chase (Buford) is 2-for-5 and Marcus Morris ... he got one day in," Taylor said with a laugh.

"Markieff (Morris) threw up today. We've got three guys," Appleton added.

It's not funny at the time, but later ... "we tease 'em about it a little bit," Appleton said. "I guess when you work hard you throw up. That's the price."

Kleinmann says it's definitely no disgrace to fall sick at a workout.

"Some guys just get it naturally. Russell (Robinson) used to throw up before almost every game his freshman year," Kleinmann said. "Some guys it comes and some it doesn't. I guess I'm one of the lucky ones."

Taylor said Boot Camp actually might be a bit easier in theory this year considering the Jayhawks gathered for 10 grueling days of practice in August for pre-Canada trip workouts.

"I think if we hadn't gone to Canada it would be two times tougher," Taylor said. "We had 10 practices and three games. The twins (Marcus and Markieff Morris) didn't have Canada. It's been tough on them, but they are working hard and getting a lot out of it like all of us."

The freshmen and juco transfers can take solace in the fact it'll be easier next year.

"I'm not sure (it's easier) because it's my fifth year of Boot Camp," Kleinmann said. "It's from working out a lot more this summer, having a chance to get motivated with these guys, having a national championship. I think there's a lot more reward in there, too. It's mentally probably been a little easier for me this year."

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