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Krumpos ready to prep Canes hoop team for Larranaga's demanding scramble defense

Sammy Hernandez can't remember everything he and his George Mason teammates did before the 2006 season to prepare for Jim Larranaga's scramble defense and a run to the Final Four.

He just remembers it being extremely demanding -- and well worth it in the end.

Jim Larranaga "It was constant training," said Hernandez, now a director for a local YMCA in Miami. "Weightlifting, running at 5 a.m. and a lot of time pedaling on those stationary bikes. It was pretty tiring, the hardest I've ever worked in my life. But it was good. By the time the season came around, a guy like Jai Lewis, who was 6-8, 290, was running up and down the court like nothing. We got in shape and we got it done."

Jim Krupos, hired in May to be the Canes' new strength and conditioning coach for basketball, will be the man in charge of getting Larranaga's newest group ready for his physically demanding defense before the team starts practicing in October. He said today would be the first time he works with the entire team.

Aside from a lot of "intense running" and "circuit conditioning," the 34-year old former strength and conditioning coach at Arizona, Cal State-Fullerton and UNC-Charlotte (where he spent two years working with UM women's coach Katie Meier) said Larranaga wants the focus of his next six-week program to be on building upper body strength and confidence. 

"One thing we're real big on is upper body strength numbers, bench press numbers," Krumpos said. "We're adding a white board to the weight room where all the lifting numbers of each player will be on display. We want improvement, so we're also going to list what guys in the NBA combine did.

"You might think 'Can the bench press have a huge carry over to basketball?' If guys know they can lift 30 to 40 pounds more on the bench after six weeks, they'll be a lot more confident on the court. And when they know they're stronger than your opponent, it gives them a mental edge."

Krumpos said he's already tested most of his roster in flexibility, strength and mobility over the last few weeks (the only player he hasn't seen yet is incoming freshman Bishop Daniels) and has established personalized programs for each. But for the next weeks, the team will work together five days a week, lifting weights four days a week and extra conditioning three days a week after weights.

"This is a little more intense than what I was doing at Arizona," Krumpos said. "Coach [Lute] Olsen had his style for many years. Coach Larranaga has his. What we're trying to establish here is not only a new style of play, but a new way of working, a new mindset and approach. The players so far have been real receptive. A lot of them are eager to get back in it. I see a lot of leadership from a fairly hungry team."

Krumpos said junior center Reggie Johnson, who battled weight issues in the past and tested the NBA waters before returning to UM, has displayed a good attitude thus far.

"You never know with a guy that big what you're going to get until he goes in the weight room," Krumpos said. "Reggie has been training hard. He's one of the guys I put in the category to have a really good year. His body fat is really what we want to cut down. What we care about is how he's moving up and down the court. He's just a thick guy. We've been working a lot on diet, trying to educate him on not eating a bowl of pasta at midnight. I'd like to have him under 300 [pounds], somewhere where he isn't losing strength and power and he's able to get up and down the court. I'd say around 275 to 290.

"Coach Larranaga has had some big boys at George Mason. As long as they're rebounding good, getting up and down the court and getting back on defense, he'll be happy."

One big guy coming off injury is senior Julian Gamble, who had minor surgery on his ankle after the season. Krumpos said Gamble (6-9, 258) will be 100 percent for the start of the season.

"Julian is changing his body very dramatically," Krumpos said. "He's already made some nice changes. He's leaned out and gained some muscle."

Krumpos said the guy he's been most impressed with is forward Erik Swoope (6-6, 230).

"Genetically he's very gifted," Krumpos said. "He's not only as strong as he looks. He's able to handle anything you throw at him. He has more potential in his little finger than I do in my whole body."

Other summer workout standouts: "DeQuan Jones is very fast off the ground, which is what we care about more than a vertical," Krumpos said. "Tre McKinney-Jones has a lot of nice potential as well."

LARRANAGA FINDS A HOME: Coach Jim Larranaga told ESPN 950 AM radio in Washington, D.C. Tuesday he finally was able to find a place to live in South Florida last Friday. 

Now, his goal will be to find some 2012 recruits during the July evaluation period. UM has three seniors on its current roster and two potential early NBA entrants in Johnson and Durand Scott.

"We're a little bit behind the traditional programs in the ACC trying to get commitments from juniors," Larranaga told the radio station. "We're not in that position yet where we can start working on 2013. We're looking to get commitments in September, then go after the junior class and get way out in front with the recruiting situation with the top prospects."

According to Canesport.com, UM could find out soon if 2012 point guard Kareem Canty, rated 15th best at his position according to Rivals, is headed to Miami or Xavier. Canty, who plays at North Bridgton Academy in Maine, was originally recruited by Frank Haith. Larranaga has stayed on him. Canty is friends with UM guard Durand Scott and is originally from the Harlem area in New York.

Larannaga has said he'd like to focus UM's recruiting efforts in the state of Florida. He told ESPN 950 he believes he can stock his team with players that live within two to three hours of campus. 


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The U B-ball team suddenly sounds like world beaters - make it so Coach Larranaga!

Great to hear. First the football team is working out more, and now the basketball team.

Looks like both coaching upgrades are paying dividends already.

Thanks for the news, Manny. Glad to see one school in this state moving in the right direction academically and athletically and financially.

Dare I say NCAA Tourny champs this year? Combine that and our 6th NC on football - THE U is back!!! Has any school every won the NC in football and the NCAA tourny in the same year? I think not!!

Go Canes!

Actually the Gators did back when they had Noah. They won the NCAA tourney, then the football team won the NC and then the basketball team came back and won their second NCAA tourney in a row or something like that.

Don't think I'm a Gators fan though, I'm a Cane through and through. I just lived in G'ville during that run and had to hear all about it.

Frank, that is just the obsessed gator troll stealing a UM fan ID, attempting to then attack him for being wrong. I am glad you coaught it before they frothed at the mouth over the straw man comment.

They like to steal IDs, steal bloody credit cards from dying girls, and steal from cars outside strip clubs, it's what they do.

yeah, that idiot Pig does the same thing over and over. He doesn't get a lot of intellectual stimulation at his job as graveyard shift Costco Security.

Officer Pig reporting for duty. Lead me to the roast beef. It will be safe with me.

You are so stupid, Pig. You are the blog punching bag. It's great.

I don't get that, was he hoping that someone would agree with him so he could use another name to make fun of that guy?

Pathetic. What a loser, and that has nothing to do with him being a Gators fan, there are plenty of Gators fans that aren't obsessed with UM.

He isn't a Gatard fan. He is an obsessed troll that comes on here only to rip the Canes and their fans. That is all. He believes one way to do it is appear to praise all things Gatard and SEC trash.

He is really a Costco security guard. A fat slob who is still a virgin. It is easy to spot his idiot posts because he will spew on and on and pepper his idiot posts with rhetorical questions and begin his phrases with "U..." and use the word clucks.

That sum it up, doesn't it, Pig?

He is the blog punching bag and prefers you refer to him as "the Pig."

UM has a basketball team?? Wake me up when it's time to talk football again.

Weak Sauce, you are right on both counts.

He is pathetic, and many Gator fans are not like that.

Unfortunately, if they are not like that, they are not likely to be here, either, so he skews the image of their fans. A real shame.

I am a Canes fan through and through - but get a life people. There are idiots on every sideline whose life hinges on whether or not "their" team wins. I certainly hope the new coaches bring the teams back, but not at the expense of class and integrity. Randy didn't get enough credit for football graduation rates and his impact on molding young men. I don't want The U to take the place of Ohio State in the headlines.

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