Boot Camp prepares Men's Basketball team for rigors of the season

    Hunter Gibson needs assistance during Boot Camp.

    Hunter Gibson needs assistance during Boot Camp.

    Oct. 3, 2013

    By Chase Heins

    CARBONDALE, Ill. - It's that time of the year - the weather is getting cooler, the leaves are changing colors, and Saluki basketball has started practicing for the upcoming season.

    Although we all look forward to it, for the players, there is a short period before the season starts that we all dread. It's a little thing known as Boot Camp.

    Boot Camp is an intensive bout of conditioning that pushes you to your breaking point and beyond. It's what separates the men from the boys, and the dawgs from the pups.

    Beginning at 6 a.m. every day for a week, there are drills on top of drills. Drills that make your legs burn, and more drills to make your legs burn. Then there comes the running. Running that can make you slump over a trashcan. Running that plays tricks on your mind. You get the feeling as if it's just never going to end, and it makes you question yourself.

    There's a good reason for having Boot Camp. At the end of the game, when it all comes down to you finishing strong, you have to know who you are. Boot Camp makes you stronger and pushes you harder than you ever thought possible.

    The players no doubt have their own thoughts about Boot Camp and the effects it has on them throughout the week. I talked to some of the new players to see how they were holding up. I asked Hunter Gibson and Marcus Fillyaw to answer a question, "What word would you use to describe Boot Camp?" I can't even print their first reaction. For Hunter, it was too much to describe with just one word. He called it, "the most challenging thing I've ever done." Fillyaw simply said, "mental."

    Both their answers are right on. It takes a lot of resolve to get through Boot Camp in the morning and then go to class and go through the rest of the day's workouts and demands. If you don't have your mind right coming in, it can knock you down and keep you there. It's a team effort to get through, everyone makes it and there is no one left behind. You will hear coaches constantly yelling "help each other!" Boot Camp makes us stronger, and looking back on it, everyone will agree it was worth it when we are cutting down the nets. Go Salukis! Hoorah!