Dana Altman is a show-me guy.
The Creighton basketball coach has heard that his players have taken to the new conditioning program run by strength coach Zach Duval. He gets progress reports and sees an extra muscle or two on some of his players when they stop by his office.
“I like what Zach did in the spring with the guys,'' Altman said. “I think Zach and his staff have built a relationship with the players that has everyone feeling good about what they're doing. It looks like we're on the right track.
“But you never know what the final results are going to be until you get on the court next fall.''
Translation: You can have the best conditioning program in the world, but it's all about what each individual puts into it.
The players, for their part, are saying they're putting their all into it.
“The good things we're seeing mostly come from the work in the weight room,'' Justin Carter said. “Guys are playing with more explosiveness, more confidence. Guys aren't getting pushed around when they go to get rebounds and box out. And we're running hard.''
Teammate Cavel Witter agrees.
“Everyone is getting stronger,'' he said. “The program is grueling, it's making us work and we're feeling it. Myself, I love going to the rack (hoop) now and taking bumps and contact.
“I've gained a little bit of weight, all muscle, and I'm feeling stronger.''
Players continue to work four days a week with the strength staff and play pickup games on their own. Most Bluejays, including incoming recruits Wayne Runnels, Ethan Wragge and Andrew Bock, have been together since reporting back to campus in early June.
Two recruits — Darryl Ashford and Greg Allen — have yet to report as they take care of academic issues. Both said when they committed to Creighton in the spring that they hoped to be in Omaha by mid-July.
Altman declined to comment when asked if he's concerned that either Ashford or Allen might not be able to clear all of their academic hurdles.
“That's their business,'' he said.
Altman did say he is in the final stages of putting together the nonconference schedule for next season. He said Creighton has one game remaining to schedule.
“I'm hoping it's just one,'' he said, “but you're never 100 percent sure until you get everything signed.''
Altman said Creighton has not received any word on its schedule for the Old Spice Classic. The tournament takes place in late November in Orlando, Fla., with a field consisting of the Bluejays, Florida State, Baylor, Alabama, Xavier, Marquette, Michigan and Iona.
ESPN, which broadcasts the tournament, is heavily involved in setting the pairings.
Asked if he has a preference for a first-round opponent, Altman replied, “I don't know if it really matters. We have played Xavier in the past, so I know our fans would prefer that we play somebody else.''
Creighton and Marquette were once regular opponents, but the two Jesuit schools have not met since the 1998 National Invitation Tournament.
“Getting a chance to play Marquette would be nice,'' Altman said, “because I know how much that would mean to our fans.''
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