Aug. 27, 2012
By Stephen Trembley
FRESNO, Calif. --- The Fresno State men's basketball team fought through the pain and grew closer as a team on the first day of a week-long boot camp with the university's Army Reserve Officers' Training Corps (ROTC) program.
The boot camp was specifically designed by the Army ROTC to teach leadership skills, physical conditioning and mental toughness.
"The ROTC is the No. 1 leadership program on campus," Fresno State head men's basketball coach Rodney Terry said. "So, having a chance to work with them, and having them reiterate to our guys the importance of teamwork, being a disciplined person, communication, and helping a teammate out is critical."
The Bulldogs got out to the track before the sun rose and began stretching at 0550 hours. Fresno State cadets in the Army ROTC under the director of Master Sergeant Donald Spock, a senior military instructor, started the camp promptly at 0600 hours with a mile team run around the track at Warmerdam Field on campus.
After the warm-up, the camp moved inside the oval to the grass where the 'Dogs continued the physical and core value training with a series of push-ups, over the head hand claps, flutter kicks, sit-ups and mountain climbers.
The cadets then turned up the dial by guiding the team through a life-saving military drill that featured a low crawl followed by a three-to-five second sprint and then a higher crawl. The situational scenario is part of military training when there is limited cover in a hostile environment and potential for sniper attacks.
The next session continued to push the Bulldogs' mindset and bodies by challenging the team through 30-yard crab walks - both frontwards and backwards - and 30-yard three-part jumps that started from a squat before moving to a push-up position and then straightening up for the final leap.
As the Bulldogs moved quickly through the one hour session, the team's communication steadily became more vocal and teammates helped push each other through the different challenges.
Later on Monday morning, the Bulldogs split into smaller groups for individual conditioning and weight training to wrap up their pre-class schedule.
"It's been a great start to our season right now in terms of what we want to do," Terry said. "Mental toughness, teambuilding, communication, discipline, all the things that we incorporate on a daily basis, we're getting off to a good start with it today."
The five-day camp is just part of the preseason conditioning for the Bulldogs' squad that features three returning starters (Kevin Olekaibe, Tyler Johnson and Jerry Brown), three other returners (Kevin Foster, Garrett Johnson and walk-on Brad Ely) and the addition of at least eight newcomers (Aaron Anderson, Braeden Anderson, Tanner Giddings, Marvelle Harris, Allen Huddleston, Broderick Newbill, Robert Upshaw and recently added walk-on Blake Williams).
Fresno State is in its first year as a member of the Mountain West, which sent four teams to the 2012 NCAA Tournament. The Bulldogs will open on the road at Texas and host a total of 14 home games during the season.
Fans can secure their 2012-13 men's basketball season tickets for as little as $149 by contacting the Bulldog Foundation at 559-278-7160.
To view all pricing and priority seating locations, please visit www.bulldogfoundation.org.
To learn more about the Fresno State Army ROTC Bulldog Battalion, please visit http://www.fresnostate.edu/ROTC/home/index.html.
"Discover Fresno State Athletics!" - Remember to vote every day for Fresno State at www.ESPN.com/CollegeColorsDay and wear your Bulldog red on Aug. 31 for College Colors Day.
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