Kansas University’s basketball players needed some time to get over their shocking season-ending loss to Northern Iowa.
“I don’t want to sound cheesy, but there was a dream that died there in the locker room. It was brutal,” Andrea Hudy, KU’s assistant athletic director for sports performance, said, referring to the tears that flowed after KU’s 69-67 second-round NCAA Tournament setback in Oklahoma City’s Ford Center.
Young hearts are resilient, of course, and Hudy is happy to report the Jayhawks were back in the weight room for the start of offseason lifting just three days after the loss that ended a 33-3 campaign.
“There wasn’t intense stuff going on, but everybody came together and we got our team workouts in,” Hudy said. “It was general technique lifting and development and flexibility. They were more recovery workouts, but the guys really came together.”
Hudy — who along with Andrew C. Fry (KU’s chairman of the department of health, sports and exercise sciences) this weekend co-hosts the second-annual Midwest Sports Performance Conference — says the Jayhawks have been lifting a minimum of four days a week the past seven weeks.
Following the lead of the Morris twins, several players have convinced Hudy to work with them a fifth day — Saturday mornings.
“They are great. They are locked in. They have goals,” Hudy said of the returning Jayhawks. “I think it hurt everybody that we fell short of our goal this year.
“I think it still hurts when people think about it. I’m going to use it as motivation all year because nobody will forget how it felt in that locker room.”
Hudy said several Jayhawks — Tyrel Reed, the Morris twins, Conner Teahan, Tyshawn Taylor, Thomas Robinson, Brady Morningstar, Mario Little and Travis Releford — either are at the coveted 300-pound mark in the hang-clean or right around that standard.
“Tyshawn has been the most consistent that he’s been with me since he’s arrived on campus. He’s pretty focused,” Hudy said of sophomore guard Taylor.
She noted that 7-foot freshman center Jeff Withey is at 228 pounds, with the goal in the 235-240 vicinity.
“We have to see how he plays with that before we come down with that goal weight for him to maintain,” Hudy said.
Another notable is 6-foot-9 Markieff Morris, who weighed in at 245 the other day.
“If we remember his all-time low here was 208, he’s about 35 pounds heavier than what he was,” Hudy said.
She is enthused about KU bringing in several accomplished speakers for the upcoming two-day national conference at the Anderson Family Strength and Conditioning Center.
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 workshop will offer a combination of theory and practice presented by many of college athletics’ top sports science professionals.
“I think it is important to hold this conference at KU because we are in a good location for people from the east coast and west coast to come and see some of the best presenters in the world,” Hudy said.
Included: Meg Stone, two-time Olympic discus thrower from Great Britain who will discuss how to train the female athlete; and Doug Edwards, director of sports performance and work conditioning coordinator at the Athletic and Rehabilitation Center in Kansas City, who will host the hands-on demonstration, “It’s never ‘just a lunge.’’’
“The presenters are at the top of the strength and conditioning field. We have two tracks. One is a theoretical track with researchers and the second track is bringing the theory to practice,” Hudy said.
“We have over 400 years of knowledge and experience coming from some of the best people in the world. To have this in Lawrence at the University of Kansas is a great thing.”
Other presenters include: Randy Bird, Avery D. Faigenbaum, Scott Greenawalt, Gregory Haff, Brady Holt, Jay Hoffman, Darric Honnold, Lance Hooton, William J. Kraemer, Dan Lorenz, Molly McKinnon, Patrick Moodie, Mike Nitka, Jimmy Price, Jeff Reinardy, Whitney Rodden, Michael Stone, Doug Stull, Phillip Vardiman and Gary Winkler.