Men’s basketball pumps up

Basketball season may be two months away, but for the Marquette men’s basketball team, preparation has been under way since the beginning of summer.

Strength and conditioning coach Todd Smith has been working around the clock with the team since they arrived on campus this summer and has them in prime condition for another year in one of basketball’s toughest conferences.

Smith noted center Chris Otule, forwards Erik Williams and Joe Fulce, and guards Junior Cadougan and Dwight Buycks as the five players who showed the most improvement .

After missing the majority of the last season with a broken foot, Otule posted impressive numbers, including a 300-pound lift, a conditioning program record. He also showed the biggest improvement of any player from last year’s lifts in both power clean lifting and squat. Smith said that success has translated onto the court.

“I knew Chris was going to get stronger [in the weight room],” Smith said. “He’s probably one of our best lifters, but his confidence that he got out of this room that he’s using now on the court is the big deal. He’s been one of the brighter stars on the court the first couple weeks, and a lot of it has to do what he did this summer.”

In addition to the returning players’ successes, Smith noted that the newcomers have shown promise as well. Those praises included Reggie Smith’s agility and athleticism,Vander Blue’s on-court workouts, and Jamail Jones’ marked improvements from earlier in the summer.

“There’s a lot more time that goes into it in the summer that people don’t understand,” he said. “And it’s all voluntary. They do it because they want to get better. Summer’s all up to what they want to do.”

Overall, Smith was pleased with the work ethic and results from the players’ summer workouts.

“There’s a lot more time that goes into it in the summer that people don’t understand,” he said. “And it’s all voluntary. They do it because they want to get better. Summer’s all up to what they want to do.”