Once again, VCU took to Navy SEAL training this offseason in the lead-up to the start of practices. The team endured pre-dawn and early morning workouts of swimming through ice baths, doing scissor lifts, crabwalking with sandbags, pushups until their arms failed, lifting each other on one and other's shoulders, sit-up competitions and a bunch of other activities I can't possibly identify. They even got their Oregon Trail on and forded a river! At the 5:45 mark you can see a muddy VCU coach Shaka Smart.
This is the third time in as many years that Smart has sculpted his team in such an exhausting way. It's become rite of passage to be a Ram, really.
You might think the training goes hand-in-hand with VCU's trademark HAVOC defense, but Smart told me this week that actual basketball training and practice does much more for that than the SEAL workouts. This is more about team bonding, building mental toughness and developing a sense of accomplishment and pride before official practices even begin. You can look at a batch of great photos from their week of hell and bonding here.
In related and non-coincidental news, VCU is likely to be picked to win the Atlantic 10 this season.
So what would you rather do: weeks of hot yoga like Iowa State, or a few consecutive days of this?