Putting a bow on KU boot camp 2018: Self marvels at showing of 2018-19 squad
For seven days in September, Kansas basketball coach Bill Self watched a cast of newcomers and returning players run through everything boot camp had to offer without blinking.
That, Self will tell you, is rare.
Most years, there’s at least some kind of hiccup or adversity that adds to the challenge of what already is a tough and trying couple of weeks for the Jayhawks.
But this year, according to Self and others close to the KU program, the group was spectacular. From start to finish, the 15 Jayhawks who showed up bright and early every morning for the annual conditioning ritual did so with good attitudes, great energy and an unwavering willingness to work until the job was done.
“I don’t know that we pitted them against each other,” Self said recently when asked if the added depth on this year’s team showed up in the way of competition at boot camp. “I think we pitted them against me or against the clock and made them kind of bond together. But they did a good job.”
Year after year we hear that boot camp is a bonding experience for the Jayhawks. And this year was no different. With seven players experiencing boot camp for the first time and eight returners there to show them the way, the idea of bonding and coming together was more important than ever.
“(It was) a great bonding experience for the team, just like pushing everyone and making sure we get through everything together, not just surviving but getting something out of it,” freshman forward David McCormack said.
Rather than stopping there, McCormack followed up with how and when those bonds present themselves and are recognizable during the process.
“Some things are just kind of more unspoken,” he said. “Some things are very explicit, but other things are just kind of unspoken. You just kind of feel the energy and feel the family coordination between each other as far as cheering each other on and things like that.”
Self had no problem cheering this group on and said last month’s two-week grind was among the best boot camp showings he’s seen at KU.
“I was asking one of the coaches the other day, comparing this between when the (Morris) twins were here and Thomas, (Robinson) and, good gosh, it’s night and day,” Self marveled. “These guys do everything right.”
The response from his coaches offered a small reminder that it’s still so early in the season and a lot of work remains ahead.
“‘Which (group) would you rather have on game night though,’” one assistant asked Self.
“Hopefully these guys,” he said. “But it still remains to be seen. But they did exceptionally well.”
In case you missed it, here's Self talking a little about the origins of boot camp, along with some behind-the-scenes clips of this year's action.