November, and the official start to hoops season, is a ways off at present, but the FAU men’s basketball program recently welcomed five of its six signees to the Boca Raton campus for the second summer session, and is putting the finishing touches on the schedule for 2009-2010.
Off season workouts can make or break a team in the fall; especially if players get lax for the down months and don’t keep up their regular regimen. Having seen Carlos Monroe slowly make his way back last season after injury, it is apparent that only weeks away from the court can turn a valuable and established player into a winded specimen.
Thus, Coach Jarvis and staff are wasting no time getting them focused, and prepared for the transition from a High School player to that of a College player - both on and off the court.
Incoming freshman Ray Taylor, Greg Gantt, Darren Stewart, Jordan McCoy, and DeMonte Simpson are all at FAU now, and participate in weekly weight training with returning players Alex Tucker, Shavar Richardson, Brett Royster, and Sanchez Hughley. Meeting four days per week, they work various body segments for one to two hour periods, while learning the hows and whys of lifting.
But Owl’s Head Coach Mike Jarvis, having coached some great talent in his 20+ year career, had some solid handle to offer about what counts most during this time of transition. Accordingly, he places emphasis on his players addressing other elements which typically doesn’t lie on the surface while considering what successful athletes spend time training on in the off season.
“A lot of time is spent on technique, developing the fundamentals of lifting. Anytime we do anything, I want the kids to know exactly why they’re doing it so that they can become students of the game, or their body, or nutrition. With strength and conditioning, it’s one thing to lift and get stronger, but it’s probably even more important for these kids to start to understand that it’s going to be much more than that. It’s about what you eat, how much sleep you get, and even what you think about. We are trying to basically re-train or train the kids they way they should be trained”, said Jarvis.
Given that summer cafeteria summer hours are quite limited, nutrition is the area that Jarvis says is the most lacking and the biggest obstacle for off season conditioning efforts. Coaches make suggestions, and the players do the best they can with them. However, given limited hours on campus, off hour’s choices could include late night calls to Dominoes or the like.
But even the cafeteria isn’t Jarvis’ first choice, as it requires discipline. Most of the food choices are aimed at a typical college student and not an athlete in training. “Even with the cafeteria open…you have to know how to eat…otherwise you can get fat like the majority of people”, said Jarvis.
The player’s weight training efforts are followed by unorganized pick-up games to keep cardiovascular fitness in tact, and have recently included former Owls Jeff Parmer, who just got back from playing overseas, and Derrick Simmons.
While they do serve a purpose in conditioning, Jarvis is admittedly not a fan of pick-up games: “That is probably the least important thing for allot of reasons. Pick-up basketball is usually the last thing in the world a coach wants to be anywhere near…I don’t want to see them playing in the off-season because they are not going to be playing the right way.”
In our next segment of summer men’s basketball happenings, we’ll touch on scheduling strategies and efforts, and a welcomed change in the way the Sun Belt Conference is lining up road games.