Andrews Going To PUMP... Up Bearcats!

The Bearcat basketball program would like to return to the days when it was difficult to tell the football players from the basketball guys, and Dave Andrews believes those days aren't far away. Bearcat Insider spent a few hours on Tuesday morning with the enthusiastic Andrews and his "projects." No "girly-men" allowed!!!

Mick Cronin has made no secret of his desire to return to the old winning ways of the Bearcat basketball program, and Coach Cronin believes that path leads through the Cincinnati weight room with the expertise of Dave Andrews, the basketball squad's strength and conditioning coach. 


In 2000, Andrews graduated from Miami Trace High School as an accomplished football player and decided to walk-on at Ohio State.  He played well enough for the Buckeyes to letter for two seasons and earned himself a scholarship primarily due to his physical play on special teams.  But an injury (multiple concussions) shortened his playing career and after graduating from OSU in 2004, Dave followed Mark Dantonio to Cincinnati as a grad assistant.  After one year with the football staff, Dave matriculated to the weight room as Tim Swanger's assistant and was eventually promoted to his current position after Scott Greenawalt left the Bearcats to follow Coach Huggins to Kansas State.  Now Andrews brings the same fire and determination that once made him an excellent wedge buster into the Bearcat basketball program.


A Dave Andrews workout with the help of assistant Paul Ivkovich is high energy with very little down time.  Players receive loud, enthusiastic encouragement throughout the 50-60 minute workout, and both Andrews and Ivkovich are very hands on as they assist their athletes through their final (failure) lifts.  After two hours of closely monitoring two sessions of athletes, both Andrews and Ivkovich deserved a short break.


Bearcat basketball players report to the weight room in groups of four.  The early session included the rookies: Alvin Mitchell, Larry Davis, Rashad Bishop and Kenny Belton.  The late morning group had Deonte Vaughn, Marvin Gentry, Adam Hrycaniuk and Branden Miller.  The afternoon group would include Mike Williams, Marcus Sikes, John Williamson and Jamual Warren.  All the players would later have a basketball game in the Deveroes Summer League, but Mitchell and Bishop said the morning workouts don't hurt their play at all since they have plenty of time to physically recover.


The biggest difference I saw between the youngsters' and the veterans' demeanor was the newcomers are still learning the ropes.  Mitchell requested to sit down at one point, and his request was quickly and emphatically denied.  Gentry seemed to keep the veteran group smiling as he constantly bumped into his teammates and told Hrycaniuk it was time for a hair-cut.  Although Gentry is slender, he's surprisingly strong.  As the group prepared to workout on the bench press, Gentry handled 225 pounds.  Branden Miller and Adam H. peaked at 245 pounds while Deonta "Bulldog" Vaughn pumped 220 pounds.  This was not a maximum lift but a workout weight.


One of the more interesting exercises use by Coach Andrews were chin-ups with a twist.  Each player had assigned weights attached by chains to a weight belt.  Before grabbing the chin-up bar, players would put the weight belt around them as the weights dangled between their legs.  It certainly made the chin-ups more challenging.


Coach Andrews said his work week will vary, but it's not uncommon for him to spend at least 60 hours a week working with his athletes.  The thirteen month husband says he's lucky to have an understanding spouse.  "My wife knows the situation.  I'm training these guys twelve months a year.  There's no season for me.  When I get home, I try to separate my work from my home life.  Any coach's wife has to be very understanding to put up with what we do."  Andrews' wife is a kindergarten teacher in Wilmington, and he lives in the Kings Mill area.


Sometimes the work day can start very early for Coach Andrews and his athletes if they run afoul of the rules.  "If they miss a class or are late for a class, they come to me at six in the morning.  Actually, if they're late for anything like a tutor, weightlifting or even wearing clothes different from what the team rules are, they come to me at 6 a.m.  I usually have them running 7 or 8 miles an hour for 25 minutes straight."  As you can imagine, not many players are late.  Dave estimated that it's happened only once or twice all summer.


The ultimate goal for Coach Andrews with his kids is to give each one of them an NBA-like physique.  "Absolutely.  You'll see especially with our freshmen kids that they've already put on 10-15 pounds in three weeks.  I want them NBA ready.  That's what we aim for physically.  Anything less is not acceptable.  I may not be able to get a kid to shoot the ball right, but I can get him to the rim quicker and get him to jump higher and battle harder.  I think they've bought into this because they would impress anybody with their work habits."


Beginning next week, the Bearcat basketball players will workout in some fashion Monday through Friday.  Previously they had Wednesdays off.


After three weeks of weaning the freshmen into the program, Coach Andrews feels the youngsters are now ready to take on the task of a full workout, but they still look to the veterans for leadership.  "Deonte Vaughn and Mike Williams are looked to for leadership.  Those guys take control when I have something going on.  Deonte was quiet today, but when something needs to be done, Deonte knows and he'll get it done.  I think the kids look to Deonte and Mike Williams for leadership at this point.  Adam Hrycaniuk should also be mentioned, but sometimes he struggles with his English, but that guy is a machine.  You don't have to get into him, he'll do his whole workout, and you don't even have to be out there."


Coach Andrews identified his two leaders as his biggest success stories to date.  "I would say Deonte and Mike.  Deonte's down from 219 pounds to 193 pounds, and his body fat has probably gone down 10-12 percent.  Mike Williams was 224 pounds when he came from Texas.  He's 250 pounds now.  It's as strong as he's ever been.  I want them to put on good weight.  I'm into their body composition and not necessarily their body weight."


During the season, Andrews has his guys lifting twice a week but never on game day.  "The intensity level is different, and I'm always adjusting that.  I want them to be strongest at the last game of the year and not the first game of the year."


On game day, Dave's role sounds pretty simple.  "I'll stretch them before the game and make sure they're drinking and eating oranges at halftime.  Then I just make sure the team is together.  If I see guys at the end of the bench not getting up when the team is doing good, I slap ‘em in the head and make sure they're staying in the game.  I want these guys helping each other.  We had some trouble with some guys cramping last year so I make sure they're drinking.  I don't give them a choice."  When asked if he ever makes comments to officials from his courtside seat, Dave laughed.  "No!  I know better than that.  They might put me in the tenth row if I start talking to officials."


For any competitive situation, give me a walk-on wedge buster.  They have no fear and will do anything for the team.  Fortunately, that's exactly what the Bearcats got when they hired Dave Andrews.


Here are some photos taken during the Bearcats workout...


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