The differences between high school and collegiate sports are intensity, tenacity and, most importantly— year-round training.
Here at ORU, basketball is nonstop. The regular basketball season is a crucial time when players showcase their skills and abilities.
Every fan inAmerica impatiently waits for nights like Midnight Madness and conference play. However, what most people never realize is that the most important time in a player’s year is the off season.
Everything that is done during that time determines how ready you’ll be when the regular season comes.
Sophomore forward, Brandon Conley, had a very productive summer. Being a part of the ORU program for two years now, he has begun to take on somewhat of a leadership role.
Conley expects to have more responsibility than last year.
“Especially since we lost two of our main post players,” Conley said. “I have the most experience at those positions.”
The 6-foot-6 forward averaged 2.4 ppg and 2.4 rpg last season as a freshman playing behind the then senior center, Damen Bell-Holter, who is now playing overseas.
He may have big shoes to fill, but is expected to play way above the expectations.
DJ Jackson, a red-shirt sophomore point guard for the Golden Eagles, played an integral part in the offensive scheme last year.
He averaged 4.2 ppg and 1.7 rpg. He also led the team with 91 assists putting his average at 2.6 per game.
Of all the positions on the court his is the most important, being the “on the court coach” during a game.
Jackson said each player had an individual workout session with a coach breaking down specific skillsets.
“A typical day in the summer consisted of classes, weights, open gyms and a few food breaks in between to refuel,” Jackson said.
The returning players were in the gym and weight room during the summer season, along with many incoming freshmen recruits.
Dederick Lee was one of the three freshmen recruited.
This 6-2 guard from Arkansas is expected to make an immediate impact on the program.
Lee echoed the hardships of his fellow players and said he was “waking up really early to lift, working out and still having to maintain good grades in class.”
Lee said that high school was a lot easier than college.
“Here they push you to your limits every single time you hit that court,” Lee said.
The Division 1 level is not for the weak-minded. It’s imperative that every player prepare for every task physically, and most importantly, mentally.
All of the workouts and training done in the summer create muscle memory, endurance and stamina to handle the length and wear-and-tear of the body during the regular season.
With Jackson being one of the elder players on the team, he will be looked at by the coaches to bring leadership.
“I hope to get better every day,” Jackson said. “Everything else will take care of itself.”