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Old August 18th, 2017, 01:08 PM   #41
The Oracle
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Good(long) read on Sanderson.....

When you enter Jon Sanderson’s office, adjacent to a weight room and overlooking practice courts at the Michigan Player Development Center, you come face to face with a towering photo collage. The photos depict action shots of NBA players or well-dressed young men shaking the commissioner’s hand on stage at the NBA draft. Centered in the upper half of the structure is a mirror, with a question posed underneath: “Who’s next?”

For the recruits and current Michigan players who see their reflection, the message is clear. More importantly, given the program’s success in turning even average high school prospects into lottery picks, it’s believable.

“Whatever it is Jon’s doing, clearly his recipe is working,” says Cleveland Cavaliers assistant GM Mike Gansey of Michigan’s strength and conditioning coach. “Guys add 10 pounds of good weight. They’re bouncier, they’re quicker, they’re more athletic. If you talk to others who have been around the program or scouted the program, they’d say the same thing.”

You may be familiar with the results:

Trey Burke, ranked 93rd in his high school class in 2011, was the ninth pick in the NBA draft two years later; Nik Stauskas, ranked 97th in 2012, was picked eighth in ’14; Caris LeVert, ranked 233rd in ’12, became a first round pick; D.J. Wilson was ranked 146th in 2014 and was taken 17th in June’s draft. In total, eight Wolverines have been drafted since Sanderson arrived in Ann Arbor in 2009.

Here’s the process:

Incoming players are measured—height and weight but also wingspan and body fat percentage—and undergo movement screening, often with motion capture technology, to determine ankle, hip, and spine mobility. Does the athlete have valgus—also known as knock-kneed—tendencies? Does his landing allow for proper dorsiflexion? The issues exposed here could lead to ACL tears, sprained ankles, or other injuries, as well as restrict performance.

Next, Sanderson puts the players through the same drills they hope to see at the NBA Draft combine: vertical jump, lane agility, three-quarter-court sprint, and some weight lifting.

When Stauskas showed up on Michigan’s campus, he was 6’6” and 190 pounds. He possessed excellent joint mobility and was cleared of any mechanical flaws related to jumping and landing. He demonstrated average speed and agility. Most notably, he needed to gain 10 to 15 pounds of lean muscle mass and learn to embrace contact.

So when the skinny kid who had never lifted weights saw the collage of players Sanderson had trained—mostly Wolverines, but some from his time at Clemson and North Carolina—and told Sanderson his photo would appear there one day, the Sand Man was blunt: “You’ve got to get a lot stronger, a lot more explosive, and tougher. If you don’t get tougher, I don’t think you can play in the NBA.”

By the time Stauskas left Michigan, after winning the Big Ten Player of the Year award and leading the Wolverines to a regular season title as a sophomore in 2014, he was up 18 pounds to 208. His in-game dunks were proof of the Sanderson motto that is painted on the weight room’s walls: “Squat goes up, bounce goes up.” Stauskas’ vertical leap improved nearly six inches thanks to a 60 percent weight increase in his squat (up to 300 pounds).

“I probably wouldn’t have made it to the NBA if it wasn’t for those summers I spent with Sanderson,” says Stauskas.

It all started with the evaluation, which provides Sanderson a unique profile for each athlete and allows him to create an individualized training regimen. “That is the process that separates us from everyone,” Sanderson says. The goal is for every player to improve in many areas, but athletes don’t have unlimited energy nor time.

Up until about 15 years ago, there was an attitude in many strength and conditioning programs that bigger was better. This is sometimes called a “football mentality,” though that is misleading because even in a collision sport like football there are downsides to adding girth at the expense of mobility, especially at skill positions.

The Michigan basketball program Sanderson entered in the summer of 2009 may have deviated too far from that approach, going all in on functional training—movement screening and mobility exercises.

“We definitely overhauled from what was being done before,” Sanderson says. “We had to start over.”

The returning players Sanderson inherited, including Manny Harris, DeShawn Sims, Zack Novak, and Stu Douglass, had to “learn a whole new system,” according to Sanderson. “They were doing a lot of the movement screening but not lifting very much weight.”

At Camp Sanderson—the name Michigan head coach John Beilein originally coined for early-morning punishment workouts but has since evolved into a moniker for the entire training program—athletes will lift weights. “We’re ground-based. We’re going to squat, do Olympic movements, utilize barbells, dumbbells. We’re going to get really strong on our own feet,” he said.

The squatting and Olympic lifts—variations of lifting a barbell from the ground to different positions—are staples of the program. “Those Olympic lifts were key, because they give you the power and explosiveness you need to play basketball,” Stauskas says. “I had never done any of those exercises before I got to Michigan. I noticed the results very quickly.”

All players are going to do those lifts, but not everyone will do them at the same intensity or frequency. “My philosophy is so dependent on the assessment,” Sanderson says. “We will utilize a lot of different methodologies to get to our destination.”

(It should be noted that there are factors outside of exercise that contribute to physical performance, including sleep and diet. Sanderson acknowledges this—“You’re not changing bodies if you’re not eating right”—and while he does work with the athletic department’s three-person “performance nutrition” staff to make dietary recommendations to players, it is not his focus. Just keep in mind Jordan Morgan, a Wolverine from 2010-2014, didn’t go from 30 percent body fat to under 7.0 percent solely through exercise.)

Stauskas needed to add muscle. So did LeVert, whose before and after photos—part of another collage in Sanderson’s office—appear to depict a bully and the kid whose lunch he steals. Burke came to Ann Arbor with a strong upper body but weak legs and poor hip mobility.

“If your hips are tight, it makes a direct impact on your ability to sit down and stride laterally,” Sanderson says. “He was taking short, choppy steps instead of using his length.”

Like many of Beilein’s recruits, Burke could dribble and shoot at a high level. The goal was to make him more explosive, add some “pop” to his game. Through dynamic stretching, use of foam rollers and resistance bands, and other mobility exercises, Burke added enough pop to earn National Player of the Year as a sophomore in 2013.

Joint mobility was an issue for the tall, thin Wilson, in that he had too much of it. Think of your body like a rubber band—you want it to stretch and, at a certain point, become taut. “D.J. was like the inflatable tube man at a car dealership when he came here,” Sanderson says. “He needed to be more rigid and stable.”

Stretching was deemphasized for Wilson so he could spend his time on areas of need. Sanderson says that any 15-man basketball team in the country probably has three or four players with a history of valgus knee. Wilson’s was “extreme, really bad,” which not only increased his injury risk—and he did redshirt his first year due to a knee injury—but restricted his performance.

Jumping starts with how much force you apply to the ground. If the mechanics are poor, as they are in a knock-kneed athlete, leaping is limited. “I would guess that out of D.J.’s eight-inch improvement in his vertical jump over his three years, a lot of it was getting in a better position to apply the force he has to offer. And we reduced the likelihood of an ACL injury.”

The mental aspect of training is sometimes just as important as the physical, though Sanderson notes they are always connected. Michigan labels players as either contact seekers or contact avoiders. “We get so many skilled guys that are skinny and not very strong,” Sanderson says. “They’re not used to contact and not that good at it, so they avoid it.”

Stauskas and Wilson, for example, were among that group. Sanderson would find creative ways to challenge them, whether it was using a medicine ball to try and knock them off balance or having them push a sled. Stauskas kept a “toughness calendar” during his sophomore year in which he graded himself daily on, among other things, how well he maintained composure through adversity.

Michigan’s point guards for the last six years—Burke and Derrick Walton, Jr.—were not natural leaders in the way that Tim Hardaway Jr. or Zak Irvin were. “Trey wouldn’t say a word his freshman year,” Sanderson says. Burke would give full effort in his workouts but not encourage his teammates. Like he’d done with Stauskas, Sanderson pinned a calendar above his desk for Burke, this one measuring leadership. He eventually replaced it with one for Walton, starting with end-of-semester workouts at the conclusion of his junior year in 2016.

The well-chronicled transformation Walton underwent the second half of last season was years in the making. The constant prodding from Beilein, Sanderson, and others finally clicked. “He wanted to do it, but there was a disconnect,” Sanderson says. “I provided the stimulus of a constant reminder for something he wanted to do.

“I don’t think anyone can take credit for what Derrick did for the last six to eight weeks of his senior year except for Derrick. We all communicated how important it was for him to lead and play his game. At the end of the day, he just kind of let loose. It was his legacy, and he decided to do something about it.”

The relationship between coach and player—and perhaps any authority figure and pupil—is inherently delicate. “The connection (Sanderson) has with players makes him elite,” says Josh Bartelstein, a former Wolverine who arrived in Ann Arbor the same time as Sanderson and was the team captain as a senior in 2012-13.

“The first thing he does is take the athlete part out of it and gets to know you as a person. He knows if he’s going to get you to buy in and succeed, you’ve got to believe he cares about you beyond how many squat reps and dumbbell curls you can do. He’ll stay after practice and eat dinner with you at training table, pick you up for morning workouts if you don’t have a car, check up on your family.”

Sanderson doesn’t yell often and rarely swears, so any stereotype of a red-faced drill sergeant doesn’t apply. He has to be demanding but understands when to tweak a workout if a player is not operating at full strength. This is especially important in-season, as Beilein’s preference for a short bench leads to heavy minutes among the top players.

Erik Helland, the strength and conditioning coach at Wisconsin, has known Sanderson since he’s been at Michigan. “When I see him interact with his athletes, I see it being done the right way,” Helland says.

He notes that an experienced strength coach—Helland has worked in the field since 1985—can learn a lot about a coach-player relationship simply by observing a pre-game warmup. “You watch how precise the kids are; how well they respond to direction; their physical reaction to him. It’s not something you can fake. A coach has to be completely invested in his people, and that’s what I see when I watch Jon work.”

At 6’7” and still in good shape, Sanderson, who turns 39 later this month, will occasionally jump into drills with both current Wolverines and those in the NBA who regularly return to Ann Arbor. He says he does it to keep the workout fun and to fuel competition. That may be true, but it’s also the continuation of a fire first ignited at Lexington High School in north central Ohio. Sanderson was a 6’4”, 165-pound freshman who realized he needed to transform his body in order to fulfill his dream of playing Big Ten basketball.


“I fell in love with the weight room,” he says. “I loved the process of training and seeing the fruits of my labor.” He was 55 pounds heavier (and three inches taller) by the time he showed up at Ohio State on a hoops scholarship. He played two seasons there, starting 30 games as a sophomore for a Buckeyes squad that went to the 1999 Final Four, before transferring to Ohio University.

That’s where Sanderson got his Master’s in recreation and sport sciences before landing an internship in the strength and conditioning department at North Carolina. He worked at Marshall and Clemson, overseeing the men’s basketball teams at both places, before coming to Ann Arbor.

While Sanderson was the type of player who would rather lift weights than work on his ball-handling skills, Beilein’s players don’t have the luxury of choosing. Beilein is among the best in college basketball at identifying talent that other coaches seem to miss and equally good at developing that talent. Combine that with Sanderson’s methods and you’ve got success for both the team (the 2013 NCAA Tournament runner-up, Big Ten regular-season championships in 2012 and 2014, and a 2017 conference tournament title) and individuals (the eight aforementioned NBA Draft picks, plus countless conference and national accolades).

Gansey played for Beilein at West Virginia. He attends 20 college practices or games a month during the season and estimates he’s seen Michigan in person at least 10 times a year since joining the Cavs front office in 2012. He says that, as much as any program in the country, Michigan can transform players both physically and skill-wise by their sophomore years.

“I think it’s catching on,” Gansey says in regards to Michigan’s player development generating buzz around the NBA. “People are intrigued because of the success. They get the best out of guys.”
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Old August 18th, 2017, 01:08 PM   #42
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Like all redshirts, rising sophomore Charles Matthews—who sat out last season after transferring from Kentucky—has had many one-on-one sessions with Sanderson. Matthews weighed 178 pounds when he got to Ann Arbor in the summer of 2016 and is up to 200. “He’s really blossomed in the last year,” Sanderson says. “He’s strong and explosive and I think he’ll be a good player for us, but obviously he’s got to prove it on the court.”

Several other Wolverines, including Ibi Watson, Xavier Simpson, and Muhammad-Ali Abdur-Rahkman, have posted impressive numbers at the summer session of Camp Sanderson.

Rising junior Moritz Wagner has bulked up from 205 pounds (when he visited Michigan in 2015) to 245 without losing any stamina on the court. Some of that is simply luck of the genetic draw. Although Wagner’s conditioning was deemphasized as he got stronger in preparation for last season, it never suffered. Glenn Robinson III is a more extreme example. He was lean yet powerful, requiring minimal effort to propel himself forward and upward. Robinson destroyed Sanderson’s conditioning tests without much preparation. Mitch McGary is another former Wolverine who stepped on campus ready to compete in the Big Ten.


That is not the norm. Beilein, more so than most other coaches, recruits skill and length at the expense of a developed body. “We’re not depending all our success on ‘one-and-dones,’” Beilein said at a press conference in May. “Our success is dependent on, ‘Can we get good players that will develop going on the upside?’” He has always believed he and his staff can coach up the physical side and toughness.

Sanderson has gone as far as suggesting to Beilein that he take a chance on a player who is physically underdeveloped. “I see that as a huge positive and so does Coach Beilein. He knows what they’re going to blossom into when he gets them here. We use that as a strategy in recruiting. When there’s a kid who is really developed and really strong and explosive—you look at him and don’t see as much potential to grow.”

Correcting technique, stretching ligaments, building muscle. To an outsider, those are the important elements of a strength and conditioning coach’s job. To Sanderson, they’re secondary. “I love being around young kids,” he says. “I care about them. I take the part of developing them and helping them reach their goals very serious. But the relationship piece—if that’s not right, it doesn’t matter what you’re doing in the gym.”

When told that Stauskas says he wouldn’t have reached the NBA without his help, Sanderson smiles.
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Old August 18th, 2017, 06:51 PM   #43
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JB and his coaching staff are really good at what they do, you'd hope more recruits notice how much their players develop into NBA draftees. M finishes as the bridesmaid for way too much blue chip recruits.
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Old August 20th, 2017, 11:50 AM   #44
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Interesting. Caris is knock-kneed. The injury-prevention aspect didn't turn out for him.
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Old August 21st, 2017, 08:29 PM   #45
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No torn ligaments in his knees.
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Old August 21st, 2017, 08:47 PM   #46
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Does the athlete have valgus—also known as knock-kneed—tendencies? Does his landing allow for proper dorsiflexion? The issues exposed here could lead to ACL tears, sprained ankles, or other injuries, as well as restrict performance.
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Old August 21st, 2017, 09:13 PM   #47
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I was just saying Silver-Lining. He's still got a shot at a great NBA career. Ligament damage would've been worse.
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Old August 21st, 2017, 09:39 PM   #48
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Gotcha. Agreed.
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Old September 7th, 2017, 06:02 PM   #49
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shaddup
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Old September 10th, 2017, 08:32 AM   #50
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Here's the schedule with times and TV info. Strange that they have a couple of B1G games in early December. Is that fallout from moving the B1G Tourney to a week earlier?


DATE OPPONENT TIME/TV LOCATION

Fri, Nov. 3 Grand Valley St. (Exh.) 7 p.m., BTN+ Ann Arbor, Mich. (Crisler Center)

Sat, Nov. 11 North Florida¹ 7:30 p.m., BTN+ Ann Arbor, Mich. (Crisler Center)

Mon, Nov. 13 Central Michigan 7 p.m., BTN+ Ann Arbor, Mich. (Crisler Center)

Thurs, Nov. 16 Southern Miss 7 p.m., BTN+ Ann Arbor, Mich. (Crisler Center)

Mon, Nov. 20 vs. LSU² 11:30 p.m., ESPNU Lahaina, Hawai’i (Lahaina Civic Center)

Tues, Nov. 21 vs. Notre Dame or Chaminade² ESPN/2 Lahaina, Hawai’i (Lahaina Civic Center)

Weds, Nov. 22 vs. TBD² TBD Lahaina, Hawai’i (Lahaina Civic Center)

Sun, Nov. 26 UC Riverside 4 p.m., FS1 Ann Arbor, Mich. (Crisler Center)

Weds, Nov. 29 at North Carolina³ 7:30 p.m., ESPN Chapel Hill, N.C. (Dean Smith Center)

Sat, Dec. 2 vs. Indiana 12:30 p.m., CBS Ann Arbor, Mich. (Crisler Center)

Mon, Dec. 4 at Ohio State 6:30 p.m., FS1 Columbus, Ohio

Sat, Dec. 9 UCLA Noon, CBS Ann Arbor, Mich. (Crisler Center)

Tues, Dec. 12 at Texas 9 p.m., ESPN2 Austin, Texas (Frank Erwin Center)

Sat, Dec. 16 vs. UDM TBD Detroit, Mich. (The Pizzarena)

Thurs, Dec. 21 Alabama A&M 9 p.m., ESPNU Ann Arbor, Mich. (Crisler Center)

Sat, Dec. 30 Jacksonville 6 p.m., BTN Ann Arbor, Mich. (Crisler Center)

Tues, Jan. 2 at Iowa 7 p.m., ESPN/2 Iowa City, Iowa (Carver-Hawkeye Arena)

Sat, Jan. 6 Illinois Noon, BTN Ann Arbor, Mich. (Crisler Center)

Tues, Jan. 9 Purdue 9 p.m., ESPN/2 Ann Arbor, Mich. (Crisler Center)

Sat, Jan. 13 at spartie Noon, FOX East Lansing, Mich. (Breslin Center)

Mon, Jan. 15 Maryland 6:30 p.m., FS1 Ann Arbor, Mich. (Crisler Center)

Thurs, Jan. 18 at Neb 9 p.m. BTN Lincoln, Neb. (Pinnacle Bank Arena)

Sun, Jan. 21 Rutgers Noon, BTN Ann Arbor, Mich. (Crisler Center)

Thurs, Jan. 25 at Purdue 7 p.m., ESPN2 West Lafayette, Ind. (Mackey Arena)

Mon, Jan. 29 NW 7 p.m., FS1 Ann Arbor, Mich. (Crisler Center)

Sat, Feb. 3 Minny 2:30 p.m., FOX Ann Arbor, Mich. (Crisler Center)

Tues, Feb. 6 at NW 7 p.m., BTN Rosemont, Ill. (Allstate Arena)

Sun, Feb. 11 at Wisconsin 1 p.m., CBS Madison, Wis. (Kohl Center)

Weds, Feb. 14 Iowa 6:30 p.m., BTN Ann Arbor, Mich. (Crisler Center)

Sun, Feb. 18 Ohio State 1 p.m., CBS Ann Arbor, Mich. (Crisler Center)

Weds, Feb. 21 at Penn State 7 p.m., BTN State College, Pa. (Bryce Jordan Center)

Sat, Feb. 24 at Maryland Noon, ESPN/2 College Park, Md. (Xfinity Arena)
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Old September 10th, 2017, 08:37 AM   #51
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How stupid to move everything around just to play early second fiddle at MSG
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Old September 10th, 2017, 09:36 AM   #52
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Yup. I went to the Big Ten Day at MSG last year, in which M and PSU played each other in basketball and in hockey. Didn't sell out.
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Old September 10th, 2017, 10:55 PM   #53
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Both Lindy's and Athlon Magazines pick Michigan to finish 5th in the B1G.
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Old October 3rd, 2017, 09:45 AM   #54
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MAJOR NEWS!!!!


Xavier Simpson now spells his name Zavier Simpson. Apparently, that's how it was originally spelled.
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Old October 3rd, 2017, 10:28 AM   #55
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Olajuwon had his best years after the spelling change. It will be interesting to see if the prognosticators update their predictions given the new realities.
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Old October 3rd, 2017, 11:22 AM   #56
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Zavier makes more sense when you think about it.
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Old October 3rd, 2017, 11:26 AM   #57
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Tell Xerox that.
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Old October 3rd, 2017, 12:15 PM   #58
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Too late but if he were older he could have played for the Jugoslavian team.
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Old October 3rd, 2017, 08:14 PM   #59
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Quote:
Originally Posted by The Oracle View Post
Tell Xerox that.
LOL!
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Old October 5th, 2017, 12:56 PM   #60
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