160728_CLS_BasketballOpenPractice-17.jpg

A Georgia basketball player takes a jump shot during practice at the Stegeman Coliseum Training Facility in Athens, Georgia, on July 28, 2016. Men's basketball head coach Tom Crean has not yet begun on-campus training in summer 2020. (Photo/Casey Sykes, www.caseysykes.com)

Head coach Tom Crean has not yet decided a schedule for basketball athletes to return for on-campus workouts.

The NCAA and SEC cleared all teams to begin face-to-face training on May 20 and 22 respectively, but while voluntary football workouts began in Athens facilities on June 8, basketball strength and conditioning coach Sean Hayes said he's still encouraging exercise from afar.

In a June 22 press conference via Zoom, Hayes — donning what he called his "quarantine beard" — outlined his approach to remote coaching.

"You just had to be creative," Hayes said. "I talked to [football conditioning coach] Scott Sinclair ... I talked to guys around the league. And it was all about imagination. It was what we have at home to use."

In frequent contact with team members, Hayes devised makeshift workouts when athletes said they were doing hill training or flipping tires. He said laundry detergent, water jugs and weighted backpacks helped prevent a total lapse in stamina over the 11 weeks Georgia players have been off the court.

According to NCAA rules, coaches can neither enforce nor monitor voluntary workouts. Hayes has to do his best to motivate his athletes and hope they're serious about staying in shape. 

"I filmed about 35 to 40 videos," Hayes said. "I wanted to film something to send out everyday. I also wanted to show the guys I was doing workouts too ... I always text them a picture of me working out and say 'I better not be in better shape when we get back.'"

Hayes highlighted rising sophomores Sahvir Wheeler and Toumani Camara and rising junior Tye Fagan as especially helpful in pushing their teammates.

Once back in Athens, sanitization and limited interactions will be key to take advantage of supervised training. Hayes said the plan is to split into two groups in the weight room to alternate workout spaces.

"Once everything is cleaned, we'll flip flop," Hayes said. "There's going to be constant cleaning. We're learning from how football is doing it ... I've never coached with a mask on before, so that's going to be interesting."

Similar to the recommendations outlined by senior associate athletic director Ron Courson on May 22, Hayes said on-campus training will develop slowly.

He and his staff can't begin at the usual mid-summer training level. Instead, they have to assess individual capabilities and recognize that the athletes have had different opportunities to workout at home.

With seven new Bulldogs joining the team next year, Hayes will have to help them adapt to Georgia's weight room culture, which he said mimics Crean's fast-paced style on the court. His experience assimilating ten players to the program last season offers a blueprint.

A crash course in both Crean's goals and Hayes' program await Georgia's returning players. It won't be business as usual, but it'll be the first step toward basketball's resumption scheduled for November. 

"Hopefully [we come back] soon," Hayes said. "I'm looking forward to it. It's been a long time."

Recommended for you

(0) comments

Welcome to the discussion.

Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
PLEASE TURN OFF YOUR CAPS LOCK.
Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article.