Carlton Bragg’s second Kansas basketball Boot Camp figures to be a lot less stressful than his first.
“Just going through it once makes it a little easier … not worrying about it this year. When you worry about it, it makes it a lot harder,” Bragg, KU’s sophomore forward from Cleveland, said Monday after surviving the first early-morning conditioning workout of the 2016-17 school year.
“It was hard as usual,” Bragg quickly added, “but we got through it. Day One is over. Now we’re going on to Day Two. I’m looking forward to it.”
Bragg tackles coach Bill Self’s two-week Boot Camp a bit older, wiser … and bigger.
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He’s put on 26 pounds since the end of his freshman season and now stands 6-feet-9 and a well-sculpted 247 pounds.
“I feel a little heavier. I’m adjusting to it … not in a bad way though,” Bragg said.
Asked to identify obvious differences, he added: “My legs … they kind of get heavy at times.”
Bragg, who can play both inside and out, said he feels more comfortable in the paint during pick-up games now than his freshman season.
“I hold my ground a lot better,” he said, that notion seconded by 6-10, 242-pound senior Landen Lucas.
“He’s put on some weight and that’s good,” Lucas said, noting Bragg “definitely does (push back now) and that’s good.”
Bragg briefed reporters on how he put on so much weight in a relatively short period of time.
“It’s been tough,” he said. “I’m not big on eating. That’s the big part, just eating right. I had to eat way healthier than I was and eat more. I had to eat breakfast, lunch and dinner. It was kind of hard, because I usually skip those.”
Sitting down for three meals a day instead of snacking has obviously helped, as has his work in the weight room.
“(Strength coach Andrea) Hudy is one of the best. She keeps going at it and challenging me every day. It makes me even better,” Bragg said, noting a pair of teammates also have inspired him.
“Frank (Mason) and Devonté (Graham) set the tone each and every day,” Bragg said of leading in the weight room. “Just going in there and challenging us.”
Bragg was happy to report Monday that his added weight hasn’t affected his ability to jump rope in a negative way.
Boot Camp begins daily with jump-rope exercises.
“I can say I’m pretty decent, pretty decent,” said Bragg, who said he liked to jump rope as a youth.
“It is a big challenge for everybody,” he added of teammates not used to the activity. “First day back at Boot Camp we had a tough struggle. I won’t name names, though. It was tough. It’s tough going that early. We’ll be ready to go tomorrow.”
Boot Camp ran from about 7 a.m. to 8 a.m. Monday. It’ll start at 6 a.m. Tuesday through next Thursday or Friday, with the weekend off.
As far as how KU’s freshmen fared Monday, Bragg was complimentary.
“I think they handled it pretty well,” he said. “They had their ups and downs. That’s the whole thing about it, just being mentally tough and challenged.”
Bragg was out of town last weekend, representing KU at the NCAA Leadership Development’s Elite Student-Athlete Symposium in Indianapolis.
“That was the best experience I ever had going to things like that,” Bragg said. “Power points the whole day, giving you points of life, the next level, college, agents. It was a lot.”
The highlight, Bragg said, was “Antoine Walker talking to us, how his whole life experience was, his whole journey. He gave his life as an example, to learn from it.”