Needing to shed some baby fat, 16-year-old Kansas freshman Udoka Azubuike has dropped 27 pounds since arriving on campus for summer school in June.
In need of some bulk, fellow frosh Josh Jackson has gained 17 pounds in the same time frame, while svelte sophomore Carlton Bragg has added 26 pounds since the end of the 2015-16 season.
Those are some of the more dramatic results made by KU basketball players in the training room/weight room in a relatively short period of time.
“These guys have goals. They come here in part because we have the resources to help them attain their goals,” said Andrea Hudy, KU’s 13th-year assistant athletic director for sports performance. “They want the challenge and want to become better people, better basketball players and better athletes,” she added.
Hudy, who plans and conducts workouts, is known not only as a tough taskmaster, but one that believes in positive reinforcement.
This week, she tweeted a 10-second video of 7-foot, 275-pound Azubuike doing reps on the “10-foot plyo pull-up” in which he leapt to a bar 10 feet off the ground, did a chin-up, returned to the floor then repeated the motion several times.
“If we had a normal person standing next to him trying that, it wouldn’t look like that,” Hudy said with a laugh, referring to Azubuike’s fluid motion in conquering the “plyometric exercise for power pull-up” bar.
“He makes grabbing 10 feet look easy. What’s impressive is he’s lost 27 pounds and increased his strength. He’s becoming more athletic. We just need to keep increasing strength."
The 6-foot-8 Jackson now “fluctuates between 202 and 207 (pounds),” Hudy said.
“I wouldn’t mind him putting more weight on,” Hudy said, noting improved nutrition has been the key for the Jayhawks in sculpting their bodies. “Once the season rolls around, there’s a lot of running. There’s a lot of travel and some guys tend to lose a little bit of weight.”
Bragg’s new 6-10, 247-pound frame may take care of any problems he had holding his position on the block last season.
“Carlton is elastic,” Hudy said, grouping him with athletic players Jackson, Lagerald Vick and Malik Newman.
“Guys that are elastic put a little bit of effort into an explosive output. Those longer, leaner guys are a little bit more efficient. Movement tends to be easier for them. Guys like Frank and Devonté are a little bit more ‘strength guys,’ ” she added of senior Frank Mason and junior Devonté Graham, guards praised by Hudy for their “competitiveness and leadership skills” in the weight room.
She said sophomore guard Vick “feels good about his body. He’s pretty motivated.”
The 6-5 Vick now weighs 183 pounds, up from 176 a year ago.
“He’ll probably tell you he’s 192,” Hudy said with a laugh. “Everybody on the team is motivated. It’s just maybe he’s a little more vocal about it I guess."
Junior guard Svi Mykhailiuk — he spent the summer playing for Ukraine in the FIBA Under 20 European Championships — left campus at 212 and reported back seven pounds lighter.
“He lost some strength. He’ll get it back pretty quickly though. In a trained athlete it comes back a little faster,” Hudy said.
Junior forward Dwight Coleby, who sat out last season following ACL surgery, recently weighed 250 after reporting from Ole Miss at 240 a year ago.
“It’s hard having to sit out because you transfer, then you get hurt and have to sit out more,” Hudy said. “He’s mature. He knows where he stands. We just have to get him up to game speed.
“Lower-body strength is pretty important. If these big guys can’t handle their body weight when they land from a jump, it’s hard. We’re just trying to increase lower body strength in Dwight and reactivity.”
Senior Landen Lucas, who stands an inch taller than Coleby at 6-10, weighs 242 after being 239 in June, Hudy indicated. Three years ago he weighed 233.
She said the players’ schedule since reporting to school for the start of first-semester classes includes “some type of performance training four days out of the week, five if they want to.”
Some of the Jayhawks have requested they work overtime.
“I went on a bike ride with Carlton and Mitch (Lightfoot, freshman forward) Saturday. We went about 17 miles,” Hudy said. “We went around the bridge in north Lawrence down the levy around the farms. We have bikes here and guys ask because they know I ride a lot.”
Hudy has had bike rides with Mason, Graham and Lucas as well. On Monday, during a ride with another athletic department staffer, Hudy saw something out of the ordinary.
“There was a cropduster out there today. I thought we were going to get hit by a plane. I was ready to duck in cover,” she said with a laugh, noting she took a video of the plane flying overhead, which figures to appear on her Twitter account before long.
Brown to visit this weekend
Chaundee Brown, a 6-5 senior shooting guard from First Academy in Orlando, Fla., who is ranked No. 64 in the recruiting class of 2017 by Rivals.com, will make an official recruiting visit to KU this weekend, Rivals.com reports.
Brown’s list on interested schools includes KU, Florida, Maryland and Wake Forest. He will be joined by Marcus Garrett, a 6-5 senior from Dallas Skyline who has committed to KU.
Garrett will be on his official visit, then plans on attending the Oct. 1 Late Night in the Phog on an unofficial visit, Rivals.com reports.