MBB: Boot camp prepares Mavs

Karol Gruszecki and the Mavericks participate in boot camp.

Oct. 4, 2012

By Melissa Cebold | UTAMavs.com

ARLINGTON, Texas - By definition boot camp is "a disciplinary facility or program in which young offenders are forced to participate in a rigidly structured routine."

All 15 members of the UT Arlington men's basketball team have begun their own version of boot camp this week. The team is divided into four smaller groups that compete against each other in various tasks and competitions.

The morning portion of boot camp beings at 5 a.m. and consists of five team 20-minute challenges. Tuesday each team had to carry one barbell and run the Maverick Mile, which is a path around Maverick Stadium, up and down the stadium and around the track. This exercise requires each person of the four-member team to work together and communicate with his teammates.

Other boot camp activities include relay races, running with sandbags, burpees and several other challenging tasks that head coach Scott Cross has come up with during his time at UT Arlington.

This is a new experience for UTA's newcomers, and the challenges have forced everyone to step up and grow as an athlete.

"Boot camp has been hard, but it's getting easier as the week goes on," freshman guard Drew Charles said. "You just have to be mentally prepared."

In the afternoon, the team meets up again for a series of defensive drills. The drills consist of four stations of eight-minute drills and the team completes each day with a small amount of conditioning.

So why a boot camp?

"It's mental toughness and team unity," Cross said. "The guys have had a lot of enthusiasm and I've been happy with that. It's hard. It's demanding on their body. We want to toughen them up mentally as well as physically and get them ready for the season."

Each team is given a certain amount of points based on how they perform in each competition. First place receives 40 points, second gets 30, third earns 20 points and last picks up 10.

One team has stood out so far. Jamel Outler, Vernell Blackman, Stuart Lagerson and Karol Gruszecki are leading boot camp after four days with two competition days left.

Cross praised the work of Senior Karol Gruszecki in boot camp.

"Karol really stepped up and showed his toughness," Cross said. "He has separated himself."

Gruszecki is one of four seniors on the men's basketball team this year and has proven to be a fierce competitor during the offseason.

"I feel our teammates are stepping up from the first day when it was more mental and guys were not ready and they didn't know what to expect," Gruszecki said. "The guys have been making transitions and now they look good."

The men open their home season at College Park Center on Friday, November 16 against Big 12 opponent Oklahoma as part of Homecoming Weekend. The women's team plays at 2 p.m. that same day at CPC against Oral Roberts.

For information regarding season tickets for the upcoming men's basketball season log onto UTAMavs.com or call 817-272-6319. Season tickets start as low as $66 and include all 14 home games.

UTA students don't forget to log onto your MyMav account to purchase your All-Sports Pass for $50 this gives you entry into all home UTA Athletic events. For more information call 817-272-6319.





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