One of the more interesting tidbits in all things Carolina athletics yesterday was a piece by Adam Lucas at GoHeels.com about the first day of UNC's preseason basketball conditioning:
Nate Britt had just completed six 50-meter sprints up a hill at the outdoor rec center on the Carolina campus. With the 2015 Tar Heels broken into groups by height, Britt had dominated his group of fellow guards, going 6-0.
It was the first day of preseason conditioning, and the sophomore was feeling pretty good about himself. Hey, this wasn't too tough. He'd survived.
And then someone told him he wasn't finished, that this was just the start.
"Hold up," Britt said, the smile melting from his face. "There's more?"
"That was just the warmup," came the reply.
"Awww nahhhhhhh," Britt said.
Sahratian wasn't going easy on the first day, either:
Indeed, the six uphill sprints were just the start. They were followed by six uphill sprints of twice that distance, plus six more of three times that distance. The final tally was nearly a full hour of running, all of it uphill and often mixing in defensive slides just to make it a little trickier.
Sahratian has developed quite the reputation for player development at UNC. His current masterpiece has been the physical transformation of Kennedy Meeks, as Lucas notes:
The most unusual sight for the Frisbee golfers who happened to play through while the Tar Heels were sweating across the hills was Kennedy Meeks wearing a hooded sweatshirt. The Carolina big man adopted the habit from Marvin Williams, who spent most of this summer doing his offseason weightlifting with Sahratian in a hoodie.
Meeks believes it helps with weight loss--and with the sophomore currently weighing 271 pounds, after arriving in Chapel Hill at 317 pounds, whatever he believes clearly works. As he panted just slightly after moving on to the second set of six sprints, which came with a 50-meter sprint plus approximately 50 meters of defensive slides (all uphill), he said, "I'm going to be 263 when this workout is over."
Most important it seems Sahratian has the team focused on why they need to be in great condition:
Sahratian adjusted his intensity as the workout progressed, varying between encouraging and challenging. (Brice) Johnson began to flag during the second set, offering an exhausted, "I'm tired."
"You're going to be tired at Cameron, too!" Sahratian bellowed, and Johnson trotted back to the starting line for another repetition.
Make sure you take a read of Lucas' full article for some great commentary from the players. It looks like this is going to be a fun team to watch, and it certainly sounds like they will be in great shape.