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Back to the court

Back to school and back to work with coaches for members of the men's basketball team on Monday.

NCAA rules prohibit coaches working out with players during the summer. But with school back in session Monday, players had individual drills scheduled with coaches on the court.

The women's team is scheduled to start their individual work on Thursday.

There is little time to relax for college athletes, even in the offseason, and much of the men's team was on campus over the summer taking classes and working out on their own.

Coach Matt Painter said last week he was eager to see how players have developed since April.

"There's no doubt once the season starts, you can gain in edge by coming early and staying late, putting in some extra time on your game, but it doesn't really compare to the edge you can get if you just flat outwork people from April to October," Painter said. "That's what we kind of see when we start individual workouts the first day of school. You see some guys that make strides. You see guys that sometimes don't make strides."

Painter said the first week, players will lift weights twice a week. By the second week, that's pushed to three or four times a week. In the third or fourth week, conditioning is added to that mix. That includes plyometrics, core work and agility training.

All while still doing individual workouts.

"Can you get something done in your individual workout after you just got done lifting and running. That's kind of the telltale. Young guys struggle with that," Painter said. "We're trying to encompass all (the conditioning) and to really evaluate what guys have done the past four months comes into where they get pushed and once they hit that wall. If they continue to fight once they hit that wall, then they're going to continue to get better.

"That's what we try to do as coaches, keep being positive, keep pushing them and keep getting them to push that wall back a little bit. When you get guys who have been through it, you know they're going to do it because if they don't do it, they just get passed up. The younger guys have to get that figured out because if they don't, then they won't play."