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Early to bed, early to lift

In the dark of morning, the freshmen players on the Hawaii basketball team saw the light.

“Now I know what being a Division I athlete is all about,” true freshman Jordan Coleman said after one of the team’s early-morning workout sessions. “It’s not just basketball. You have to do all these other things to be ready.”

One of those things was 6:30 a.m. conditioning sessions. Some days featured muscle building in the weight room. Other days featured endurance building in the gym or on the track. There were no easy days.

“Man, I used to think we worked hard in high school, but that was nothing compared to this,” true freshman Bobby Miles said.

The training started in August, and strength and conditioning coach Kenny Esquivel said the improvement in the Warriors has been dramatic.

“Because so many of these guys are young, they didn’t even know how to lift (weights),” Esquivel said. “We had some of these freshmen who couldn’t even squat the (45-pound) bar eight weeks ago, and now they’re doing 235, so it’s nice to see.”

Hawaii head coach Gib Arnold said he liked the early-morning workouts for several reasons.

“Well, for one, we get it out of the way early and they get the rest of the day to focus on their classes,” he said. “And then getting up early means you have to get to bed early, and I like that.”

Players who showed up late for a morning workout paid the price of “five at five” – a 5-mile run at 5 a.m.

“I have three alarms, just in case” Miles said. “You don’t want to be late.”

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