DURHAM – The summer workouts for the Duke men’s basketball team are more than just fundamentals. The entire first week of July was focused on education and analysis as the Blue Devils learned about their bodies, how to train, how to eat right and how to recover.
In conjunction with the Michael W. Krzyzewski Human Performance Lab ("K Lab") on campus, Duke's performance team worked with each player to establish baseline testing, identify any areas of concern, and develop comprehensive nutrition and training regimes to help maintain an elite level of fitness throughout the season.
"This was a big part of the recruiting process," said freshman forward Zion Williamson. "Because if you want a long career in the NBA, you have to take care of your body."
The Blue Devils underwent rigorous cardiovascular, biomechanical, visual and strength & conditioning testing, administered by the Duke Basketball performance staff of William Stephens (sports performance), Nick Potter (rehabilitation) and Jose Fonseca (sports medicine), in conjunction with the state-of-the-art K Lab. The players will be re-tested before and after the season to track improvement.
"We're very lucky to be at one of the great universities in the world, and within that university we have as good a medical center as there is," said head coach Mike Krzyzewski. "We've developed a great partnership with the K Lab, and it's gotten us better with injury prevention and performance enhancement."
In addition to the testing, Duke capped the first week with an NBA-style combine, similar to what players will face at the NBA Combine.
"We just want to make it more realistic for what the guys will be going through once they leave here as they get ready for NBA draft preparation," said Stephens.
The combine testing included the standing vertical leap, the max vertical leap, the shuttle run, three-quarter sprint and weight room testing.
“When a player comes here, we want them to be educated and be a professional on and off the court,” said Coach K. “A big part of that is knowing who you are, so we dedicate the entire first week to our performance team, which we feel is the best in the country.”
The Blue Devils are scheduled for three exhibition games as part of the Duke Canada Tour in August before officially opening the 2018-19 season on Tuesday, November 6 versus Kentucky in the Champions Classic in Indianapolis.