It's Been `In Season' for Greenawalt

Scott Greenawalt

Aug. 1, 2011

By Mark Janssen - K-State Sports Extra

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The majority of Wildcat Nation may be focused on the upcoming Kansas State football season, but that’s not the case with Scott Greenawalt.

To the Wildcats’ strength and conditioning coach for men’s and women’s basketball, this is his season.

“It’s a time when I try to get them leaner and stronger, but also working together as a team,” said Greenawalt of his summer sessions with the Wildcat hoopsters. “When those coaches roll the ball out there at the start of practice, if we’re not on the same page and not in a work mode, Frank (Martin) and Deb (Patterson) are going to look right at me. That’s not the time to try to establish a work ethic. That comes in the summer.”

Pausing, Greenawalt said, “Are we there yet? Are we ready for one of Frank’s three-hour practices? No, but we’re on the right track. We don’t concentrate on getting them in great shape now because they don’t play until November. But our focus is on getting everyone stronger and on a baseline conditioning program.”

The men’s team has been working out Sunday through Thursday, lifting four times and doing some type of conditioning on three days. The workout sessions can last anywhere from 30 to 80 minutes.

The women’s workload has been four days a week with the focus on conditioning as opposed to adding weight, as in some cases with the men.

For first-year players, Greenawalt gives a satisfying grin as to how rookie Wildcats handle his program.

“Some of these kids come in with a chip on their shoulder of knowing quite a bit,” said Greenawalt. “You sort of enjoy bringing them down to reality a little bit. (Grinning) But no, it’s not my main goal.”

With newcomers, he continued, “It can be a shock to them, but that’s where you need that leadership from upperclassmen in doing things the right way. We’ve had good vocal and by-example leadership from Rodney (McGruder), Will (Spradling) and Martavious (Irving).”

But in cases, it can always be trying.

Greenawalt lists Jacob Pullen as one who was slow buying into his program. In fact, the sixth-year Wildcat coach said, “He was a mess for the first two or three weeks … (Pause) … first two or three months. He didn’t understand how the program would benefit him, but he later became one of our leaders.”

With a star like Michael Beasley, Greenawalt said, “Michael was always great. He was a goofball at times, but still a lot of fun, and he liked being in the (weight) room. He worked hard at what I asked, which can be unusual for a super star.”

No one is a better example of what the strength and conditioning program can do for an individual than 7-footer Jordan Henriquez-Roberts. When he arrived from New York City, he bench pressed 135 pounds. Now, nearly two years later, he’s benching 225.

“J.O. is someone we’ve really worked with in terms of flexibility and lower body,” said Greenawalt. “He may not look like it, but he’s gained around 40 pounds. He weighed in at 244 the other day. He’ll never be that great big, strong kid, but he has matured physically.”

While the mission is to continue to get Henriquez-Roberts bigger and stronger, with 6-foot-7 newcomer Thomas Gipson, Greenawalt says, “He’s big as a door and not fat at all. We’d like to keep him down at that 275-280 range and have him in shape.”

Greenawalt says it’s easier to motivate a player like Gipson – “the bigger, stronger players” – rather than the smaller, leaner talents.

“If you’re not very good at something like lifting, you can struggle and lose your confidence,” said Greenawalt. “You have to handle them a little differently.”

Using Spradling as an example, Greenawalt says with appreciation, “He’s a tough kid who gets after it. He may vomit on himself, but he’ll wipe it off and get back at it.”

Several times a week, K-State workouts end with what Greenawalt calls “finishers,” or, “weird stuff.”

That can be flipping a 350-pound tractor tire (smaller ones for the women) either a specific number of flips or for a specific yardage, and on some days the tire flips can be mixed with jumping drills to a 48-inch box.

Another drill is hammering at that same tire with a sledge hammer weighing anywhere from eight to 16 pounds.

“It’s hilarious to see some of these guys who have never done manual labor smash at those tires the first time, but they then get to the point of pounding at it like they’re breaking concrete,” said Greenawalt. “It’s for grip strength, and overall conditioning and strength. You don’t just use your arms, but you come down with your abs.”

And, there’s full body workouts that involves waving a two-inch thick, 50-foot long rope.

With each drill, Greenawalt said, “We try to make everything competitive starting with who’s the first one, and the last one, through the door.”

Not to be forgotten is the importance of being nutritionally fit for the rigors of a basketball season that begins with full-scale practices in mid-October and through the 30-plus game schedule extending into the month of March.

“We know they’re college kids, so they’re going to eat fast food stuff, but we just ask them to make good choices,” said Greenawalt. “Instead of eating two Big Macs, a large fry and a big Coke, how about a grilled chicken breast sandwich, a fruit cup and a Powerade? Or, even a Big Mac and a grilled chicken sandwich. We ask them to make little choices that can help. We don’t expect them to eat just lettuce and carrots, but just to compromise some and make better choices in what they eat.”

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