In a few short weeks, North Carolina basketball practice will begin, Late Night with Roy will take place, and the 2018-19 UNC basketball season will be underway. The Tar Heels’ first game is a Nov. 6 matchup at Wofford, followed by a Nov. 9 contest with Elon at the Phoenix’s new Schar Center.
In preparation for the season, Carolina began its offseason training and condition program last Thursday, Sept. 6. Adam Lucas of GoHeels.com documented a hill sprint and slide workout in the Meadowmont neighborhood. Senior forward Cameron Johnson, who had been sidelined following hip surgery, was a full participant and fellow seniors Luke Maye and Kenny Williams were consistently at the front of the pack during the timed sprints.
The hill runs are challenging. “Each player had to complete twelve 60-meter uphill sprints in a prescribed amount of time (perimeter players had to make it up the hill in ten seconds, post players 11 seconds) with a minute of rest between each sprint,” Lucas wrote.
The focus is power and endurance over a period of time. It’s about maintaining explosive movements while fatigued, something that directly translates to the game of basketball.
When push came to shove and the players were offered a reward for winning the 11th sprint (skipping the 12th sprint) the talented and highly touted UNC freshmen stepped up. Coby White won the perimeter group’s 11th sprint and Nassir Little took the 11th dash for the big men.
Lucas also detailed arecent combination sprint conditioning workout on flat ground that included 100-, 200-, and 300-yard sprints for time with little rest in between. One thing you always notice about UNC teams is despite the pace at which they play on offense and the intensity they bring on defense they are never out of shape. That is because of the work they put in during September and October, led by longtime UNC strength and conditioning coach Jonas Sahratian.
The UNC social media accounts have documented some of the work put in by the players over the last few days. Check it out below:
Here is the team doing winds sprints on the new Fetzer practice fields. North Carolina freshman Coby White comes into view halfway through and is followed by fellow rookie Nassir Little.
— Carolina Basketball (@UNC_Basketball) September 12, 2018
Here is senior shooting guard Kenny Williams accelerating at the beginning of a sprint. UNC will turn to Williams for leadership this season along with three-point shooting, transition offense, and perimeter defense. The 6-foot-4 wing established himself as Carolina’s best defender last season.