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Examining Tiger Basketball’s “Offseason”

April 15, 2011

CLEMSON, SC – The 2010-11 Clemson men’s basketball season ended on March 17, just 29 days ago. That does not mean the hard work has come to an end. In fact, for the seven players off last year’s team that will compose the majority of the 2011-12 roster, the work is just getting started.

As you will see in the video below, has covered a handful of individual workouts and strength training sessions that have been ongoing since the players returned from spring break, the week after their season ended.

The NCAA allows two hours per week of individual instruction with each player. Head Coach Brad Brownell has his assistants divide up the work into three 40-minute sessions or two one-hour sessions. Each workout features an assistant coach working one-on-one with a player, while two or three managers are present to assist the process.

In terms of strength training, coach Preston Greene works out the Tiger guards three days each week – Monday, Wednesday and Friday – and the post players four days each week – Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday. During this time of year, Greene says the focus is on weight and strength gains for the post players and what he terms “metabolic circuit” training for the guards, meaning quick station-to-station lifting.

On Fridays, the post players enjoy a grueling test of will against one another with Greene’s “Strongman” training. Players flip large tires, push trucks, and pull machines in a competition against one another. If you’ve seen ESPN’s “World’s Strongest Man” competitions, the general idea is the same, obviously on a much smaller scale.

Individual workouts range from shooting drills, dribbling exercises, to agility and quickness tests. Brownell and his staff outlined several goals they hope to reach with each returning player’s individual workout, and he relayed those goals to

Catalin “Bobo” Baciu – “We need him to spend extra time in the weight room to add strength and increase his size. We’re working on improving his coordination, catching the ball, and finishing around the basket. We’re working on making him a more confident, physical player. We would like to get him up near 265 pounds (he currently weighs 256 pounds after weighing just 224 two years ago at this time). He’s made a lot of progress in that area. Bobo was working out in the weight room four times a week all season long, because he was behind when we got here.”

Devin Booker – “We want him to finish plays and score. He’s continued to work on his jump shot, and he’s getting better at shooting the ball. We want him to get comfortable with a couple of moves with his back to the basket. He’s working on his face-up game from off the lane by being able to drive the ball from the high post. Scoring in a variety of ways has been our big emphasis with him.”

Milton Jennings – “He’s working on being consistent. He needs to be a better ball-handler and more consistent shooter. We want to increase his strength and also get his weight up around 230 pounds. He’s done a good job of putting extra time in the weight room.”

Bryan Narcisse – “We’re trying to improve his shooting and finishing plays in the lane and around the basket. We want to work on his passing as well.”

Tanner Smith – “The top priority is to get him to be a more consistent shooter. Some of it is stationary; other times it is on the move. He also needs to learn to play off one or two dribbles and get into position to score.”

Cory Stanton – “Ball-handling and decision-making are two big priorities for us. He has to continue to get repetitions with his shot to become a better shooter. We’re pushing him to be in better shape, so he can play harder and sustain effort for longer periods of time.”

Andre Young – “We want to continue to improve his ball-handling and decision-making. We’re working on floaters and runners in the lane, so that he can score more effectively by getting into the paint.” sat in on four different individual workouts on Tuesday and Wednesday, with an overview of each workout below.

Tuesday, April 12, 3:00 PM – Cory Stanton • Worked with Assistant Coach Earl Grant for 40 minutes • Focus was on length of the floor ball-handling, stationary power dribbling, speed dribbling with both hands, and keeping the dribble away from defenders (managers, Coach Grant) • Highlight was one exercise where 16 cones were placed outside the boundaries of the main floor and he was asked to do a series of between-the-legs dribbles and behind-the-back dribbles around each set of cones in one lap around the court; Stanton did six attempts at this drill at full speed and his final one was the fastest at 25 seconds (Brownell had his assistant coach and a manager also participate in this drill)

Tuesday, April 12, 3:30 PM – Devin Booker • Worked with Assistant Coach Mike Winiecki for 40 minutes • Focus was on putting up all types of different shots (during warmups Brownell instructed Booker, “Don’t pull the ball back over your head, keep it more toward your forehead.”) • Had to make 10 shots from each spot: jump hooks from right block, left-handed hooks in the paint, right-handed hooks in the paint, jump hooks from left block • Had to make two apiece as he was defended by his 6-foot-8 position coach, Winiecki: jumpers utilizing ball fakes, middle drives, jumpers in the paint with contact, face-up drives and finishing in the paint • Was challenged to make five straight in one-on-one setting with Winiecki fouling him hard (which prompted Brownell to yell “You’re about to make history, `Debo.’ Nobody’s ever made five in a row on Coach Winiecki!”); Booker made four straight, but missed his fifth attempt

Wednesday, April 13, 9:00 AM – Tanner Smith • Worked with Assistant Coach Rick Ray for 40 minutes • Focus was on shooting drills, from various spots on the floor • He was timed 60 seconds at seven different spots and the target was to make 15-18 shots from each position; the spots were right baseline, right elbow, left elbow, left wing, top of the key, right wing, and again the right baseline • Most successful spot on the floor was the top of the key, where he had 18 makes; also made 17 from the right elbow and 16 from the left elbow • Was asked to make seven out of 10 from four different spots and if he missed his goal, he was required to run one length of the floor up and back while dribbling heavy yellow balls (twice the weight of a normal ball) without taking a break • He met his goal at each spot on the floor, with the exception of the right baseline where he made six out of 10 on two occasions but was unable to make the seventh; he later returned to the right baseline after succeeding at the other spots on the floor and promptly hit seven out of 10 on the first attempt

Wednesday, April 13, 2:45 PM – Andre Young • Worked with Assistant Coach Earl Grant for 40 minutes, shortly after a one-hour strength training session • Focus was on shooting and dribbling skills • Utilized cross-over, between-the-legs, and behind-the-back speed dribbles around four cones which were set out in the middle of the main floor (eight different sets) • Dribbled with left hand only versus defenders (managers, Coach Grant); after seeing a frustrated Young unable to get by Grant on one attempt, Brownell responded, “I know…it’s a tough drill. Fight it while you’re tired, it builds toughness.” • From half court, he dribbled with his left hand past defenders inside the arc, then switched for a right-handed layup, sprinted out to the top of the key for a three-pointer; did this 10 times and then switched it to the other side of the court and to his right hand • Shot 15-foot pull-up jumpers after using a screen (folding chair) to elude defenders; he did this from both the right and left sides of the floor