Marcus Garrett on first impression of new KU strength coach
Marcus Garrett rolled out of bed at 6 a.m. Monday without assistance from his alarm, which was set for 6:30.
Garrett, Kansas’ 6-foot-5 junior guard from Dallas downed a banana and “a little multigrain,” then made the short walk from McCarthy Hall to Allen Fieldhouse, arriving a half hour before this year’s 7 a.m. start of coach Bill Self’s two-week Boot Camp conditioning program in the Jayhawks’ practice facility.
“Every year you feel you’ll be ready for it just because you know it’s about to happen. (Then) it just kills you every year,” Garrett said Monday afternoon, serving as team spokesperson regarding the first session of Boot Camp.
“It went great. Everybody made it through,” Garrett stated. He noted the first hour-long set of sprints, backboard touches and defensive slides normally ranks as the toughest of 10 morning workouts over the next two weeks, some sessions starting as early as 6 a.m.
“I feel once your body gets used to waking up that early and you get used to the drills, you can find ways around it,” Garrett said.
As one of KU’s more experienced players, Garrett had been approached for advice by KU’s newcomers on days leading up to Monday’s Boot Camp opener.
He said seniors Mitch Lightfoot and Udoka Azubuike also have taken on leadership roles entering the 2019-20 season.
“I basically tell them (freshmen) there’s no way you can prepare for it. You are going to be tired. It’s going to be hard no matter what you try to do before,” Garrett said.
KU has roster newcomers in grad transfer Isaiah Moss, plus freshmen Christian Braun, Tristan Enaruna, Michael Jankovich, Issac McBride and Jalen Wilson.
“They (felt) pressured about the situation. They didn’t know what to expect,” Garrett said. “Once they finally got out there you could tell they were shocked at all the running we’ve been doing.”
Asked which newcomer impressed him the most, Garrett said “all of them.”
He quickly added: “Isaiah (Moss) … he can really shoot the ball.”
One KU staff member also was a Boot Camp newcomer on Monday. He’s strength coach Ramsey Nijem, the former Sacramento Kings strength coach who replaces Andrea Hudy, who on Aug. 15 accepted a job at Texas.
Monday was Nijem’s first day at his new job in Lawrence.
“He came in there … he was energetic,” Garrett said. “He came right in there and said, ‘Don’t look at me crazy. We’re family now.’’’
Garrett said he was shocked when informed Hudy was leaving KU after 15 years.
“Hurtful,” Garrett said, asked how he initially felt about Hudy departing KU. “We all had a great relationship with Hudy. Knowing it came out of nowhere … I was actually playing my video game when it happened. I couldn’t believe it.”
On a personal health note, Garrett said he’s 100 percent recovered from a lingering left ankle sprain sustained Feb. 1. The injury affected him all of February and March, into the summer.
“Three weeks ago,” he said of the day he felt completely healed. “Certain things I still couldn’t do I ended up doing three weeks ago. I was, ‘OK it’s good it’s back to normal.’’’
Self conducts Boot Camp, hits road
It was a busy start of the work week for 17th-year KU coach Self, who conducted the Boot Camp session, then hit the recruiting trail. Monday is the first day of the current open recruiting period in which coaches can make in-home visits with prospects.
“Great first day. All participated and did well. No surprises,” Self said in a text message to The Star.
Self was headed to Tulsa, Oklahoma on Monday for an in-home visit with Bryce Thompson, a 6-4 senior shooting guard from Booker T. Washington High School.
Thompson, the No. 18-ranked player in the Class of 2020 by Rivals.com, visited North Carolina last weekend.
“Kansas and Oklahoma will be in the gym later today,” Rod Thompson, Bryce’s dad, told Jayhawkslant.com on Monday afternoon. “After that, Kansas is coming back to the house for an in-home visit. Kansas wanted to be the first school to come to our house, so the staff is coming by later today.”
Thompson has a list of KU, UNC, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Arkansas, Michigan State and Texas.