In the eyes of new UH Assistant Director of Sports Performance Bryan Lewis, if the Cougars want to become tougher on the basketball court, it will begin with early morning weight lifting sessions and will not end until the conclusion of agility drills after practice.
At Coastal Carolina, Lewis held the title of golf strength and conditioning coach. Lewis also spent time at Florida, where he received his bachelor’s and master’s degree. At UH, he will also be assisting the golf and football programs.
“The opportunity came open at the University of Houston and I just knew the right people,” Lewis said. “It was the right timing and it looked like a great move from a recruiting standpoint with (UH) moving into the Big East in a year. It was very enticing and very attractive.”
Lewis said he hopes to bring a movement-based system with unique attentiveness to each athlete.
“The movements in the basketball court resemble a lot of stuff that we are doing in the weight room,” Lewis said.
For young players, like Danuel House and Valentine Izundu, strength and conditioning are essential to their development as players.
“It’s serious,” House said. “You actually have to get your reps and your work in. In high school, you take breaks because not many people are that strong so contact is not as physical as in college. It’s a new level.”
For House, building strength will be key to a successful 2012-2013 season.
“I’m just trying to gain weight and gain a little bit of muscle so I can control the ball a little bit better,” House said. “Stop getting pushed around, so I can have a solid base and core on defense.”
Izundu has plenty of room to grow because he has never been through a strength and conditioning program, but every player on the team can improve, Lewis said.
“Valentine, for him, it’s going to be a footwork standpoint, getting him comfortable with his body,” Lewis said. “Danuel House needs to be a little more tough. He knows his body pretty well, but he needs more size to be able to finish in the paint. Then we have other guys who just need better conditioning.”
For veteran Joseph Young, it is about setting the standard and becoming a leader for the team.
“You have to come in with your intensity and, like coach Dickey says, you have to be an everyday guy,” Young said. “Even on the days that you are sick or hurt, you have to give 100 percent. I get up at 5:30 a.m., get a little extra work in the weight room, then come to practice.”