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AP: Meeks Working On Conditioning


A little basketball nugget totally unrelated to rental cars and what not.

From the AP's Aaron Beard on freshman Kennedy Meeks and what he is doing to improve his conditioning in the offseason.

Team strength and conditioning coordinator Jonas Sahratian said he is working with Meeks on everything from what to do in the weight room to changes to his diet. During Meeks' first month at UNC this summer, Sahratian said he got numerous text messages a day from the freshman asking whether it was OK to eat certain foods.

Nakhia Meeks, Kennedy's mother, said her son even took time to call Sahratian before ordering a steak while out at dinner with her cousin.

So far, she said her son is down about 20 pounds.

"This is the road we've got to try to take," Sahratian said. "You've got to make little turns here and there. There might be detours and roadblocks. We've got to find things to overcome some things. But I think if the kids work hard and they're dedicated and do everything you ask of them, they'll get there."

Meeks sounded eager to put in the work.

"I think I can be polishing everything," he said. "Nobody's a perfect player. But I think once I get my conditioning in check, then I think my moves will be there. I'll be able to run the floor just like everybody else, and faster. As far as coming in the post, I think I'll be stronger. I'll be thinking faster, reaction time will be faster. I think all of it will come once I work with Jonas."

If Meeks has indeed already list twenty pounds taking him from 285 to 265, that would be great news for the Tar Heels. It should be noted that "down about 20 pounds" came from Meeks' mother so it remains to be seen what he actually weighs in once practice opens up.

Meeks also represents a rather unusual case for strength and conditioning coach Jonas Sahratian. Most of the players weight issues lately have been centered on not enough bulk. John Henson, Tyler Zeller, Brice Johnson, J.P. Tokoto and Marcus Paige have all been on programs to gain weight. UNC has not had many players who needed to trim weight in an effort to be effective in recent years.

One distinct advantage Meeks has over any of the potential candidates for the center spot in the Tar Heel lineup is he might be the most skilled of the big men UNC has on the roster. His ability to rebound and throw outlet passes would be a nice fit into Roy Williams' up-tempo offense. However Meeks has to get his conditioning in order so he can be on the court long enough to be effective.

Right now it sounds like he is heading in the right direction.