Boot camp 2021 gets under way for Kansas basketball program
The Kansas men’s basketball program’s famed boot camp began bright and early Monday morning, with the 18 players on this year’s roster running through the first day of two weeks worth of conditioning drills.
Senior forward Mitch Lightfoot, who has been through five of these before, announced the arrival of the end of an era on social media by posting, “Beginning of the end! Boot camp year 6! Let’s get it.”
Former Jayhawk Jamari Traylor, who went through his own round of demanding boot camps during his playing days, responded to the message with a little humor.
“The feeling of that LAST spring gonna be UNMATCHED,” wrote Traylor.
Before the whole thing got going, KU staff member Fred Quartlebaum hopped on social media, under the cover of darkness, to drop a little information on what the team tries to get accomplished during the 10-12 grueling, early-morning workout sessions that never feature a basketball and always feature players dripping with sweat and bent over in exhaustion.
“Time for some chemistry building, some culture building, some connection building, some caring building,” Quartlebaum said in his social media video.
While building those traits is the goal each year and with every team, it appears to be particularly important this year, with the Kansas roster featuring 10 new faces — eight new scholarship players and two new walk-ons.
Their first taste of boot camp will demonstrate that KU’s work in the preseason is as much about the mental side of the game as it is proper dribbling, shooting and defensive technique.
The Jayhawks are expected to host boot camp through late next week. After that, Late Night in the Phog arrives on Oct. 1, ushering in the countdown to the official start of the 2021-22 season.
KU’s lone exhibition game is slated for Nov. 3 against Emporia State at Allen Fieldhouse. The regular season opener will tipoff on Nov. 9 against Michigan State at the Champions Classic in New York City.