A Day In The Life

For Terrence Roberts, it starts with food. For Jeremy McNeil, it starts with 100-pound weights. For Billy Edelin, it starts with a 20-minute struggle to get out of bed.<br><br>

For all of them (the entire Syracuse men's basketball team, that is) it includes working out and practice and class and meals and study table and autograph seekers.

It's the typical day. Except, if you walk through it with them, you'll see that it's anything but typical.

Wake up with Billy Edelin. Or, more appropriately, help him hit the snooze button.

It's 8 a.m. or four hours earlier than Edelin would like to wake up. His legs ache from a late night practice and his mind's still spinning from an hour spent plodding through a textbook. What's another 10 minutes?

It's 8:10 a.m. and still far too early. It's cold outside and it's warm in bed. Edelin won't be back to this apartment for another 12 hours. So, he figures, he might as well enjoy his little free time and snooze for another 10 minutes.

When Edelin finally does get up, his morning routine looks like it moves in fast forward. He brushes his teeth, showers, shaves (sometimes) and gets dressed-all in about 20 minutes.

"If I take any longer than that," Edelin says, "I'll be late for class. I always push it to the last second before getting up. That's just the way it's always been."

Can you blame him? Edelin (who covets his sleep) won't get another moment to relax until he returns home well after dark. Even then, he'll have homework to do and, hopefully, some time to relax with McNeil, his roommate.

So, over the last few years, Edelin's developed a strategy: Sleep whenever possible at whatever cost.

"Our days are so busy and so exhausting that you got to get the sleep when you can," Edelin said. "It might seem like a really small thing, but the extra sleep can make a big, big difference in getting through the day."

Even if it's only an extra 20 minutes.

Hit the weights with Jeremy McNeil. Actually, don't go near the weights. Don't lift them yourself. Don't even spot for McNeil. These exercises are not for amateurs.

The only reason McNeil can lift this much is he's been doing it for so long. Every day, he needs a workout. Today he's doing it in the morning. Other times, he'll work out at night-after practice or even after a game. There's just one stipulation:

"I've got to work out, and I've got to go hard," McNeil says. "I don't do it any other way."

Perhaps that's why, in four years at Syracuse, McNeil has morphed from a bulky, slightly-overweight teenager into a hulking man. Now, at 6-foot-8, he weighs 253-pounds. His muscles tear at his jersey. They help him throw around other Big East centers.

He gets faster and quicker during these workouts, too. He rides the stationary bike, which has helped boost his endurance. He works on his lateral quickness, making him one of SU's fastest in the shuttle run.

But glory (even in the shuttle run) seems pretty far away right now. It's just McNeil and the clang of weights. He's silent as he lifts them. Save the healthy glow of his skin, you wouldn't even know he was struggling.

"Watching Jeremy lift weights is just crazy," says Roberts, the freshman. "He's an absolute beast, man. The guy is so big it's crazy. His arms look like my legs."

After an hour, McNeil's satisfied. He wipes off with a towel and walks out of the room. He'll grab a quick bite to eat. Then it's off to class.

Eat lunch with Terrence Roberts. This will be fun. It's like watching the Fourth of July Hot Dog Eating Contest on Coney Island. Six times a day, Roberts turns into a one-man eating machine.

For Roberts, lunch is usually at Goldstein Auditorium. So are breakfast and dinner. And three daily snacks.

In fact, Roberts is in Goldstein so often he chats up the people who make his food. They know him by name now. That's the way it goes when you're trying to put on weight, as Roberts has desperately done since his first day at Syracuse. And it's worked. He's up to 230 now, a jump of 25 pounds.

How does he do it?

"I lift a lot of weights," Roberts says. "But, mostly, I just eat, man. I eat a lot of stuff. Cheese steak, pizza, calzones, Chinese food. I'll eat anything. Put it on my plate and I'll eat it."

That's what's happening now. Roberts just finished up a 7-inch cheese steak and he's eyeing a piece of pizza. Three 20-oz. bottles of juice sit on his tray, ready to be devoured.

If that sounds fun, think again.

"At first, it's great," Roberts says. "But eventually, eating becomes a job, too. You just have to eat however much you're supposed to so you can gain the weight."

That's why Roberts looks a little bit relieved when he finally finishes off his pizza and dumps the trash off his tray. Lunch is finally done. Too bad Roberts will be back here for more in just a few hours.

Walk to campus with Hakim Warrick. Good thing you're with him because otherwise, you might not find him. Warrick wears a hooded sweatshirt on campus and he almost always keeps the hood over his head. That way, he might not be recognized.

But usually he's not so lucky. A stroll across the quad tends to entail a dozen stares, a high-five and maybe even an autograph request. Warrick takes it in stride. He's gotten used to having the most recognizable face on campus.

"I know people look at me," Warrick says, "but I don't even notice that anymore. People are usually cool about not asking for autographs on the way to class or nothing. So, really, it's not a big deal."

Neither is class. Warrick grabs a seat toward the back of a lecture and slouches in his chair. Even then, he's still the tallest, most recognizable person in the room. But the lecture passes quickly enough. Soon, Warrick's back on the quad joking with teammate Andrew Kouwe.

"We're just like normal students," Warrick says. "You have busy days. You have to go to class and everything else. It's pretty stressful."

Especially when followed by a two-hour practice.

Practice with Josh Pace. He's a good person to tag along with: a quiet kid and a relentless worker. He's smart enough to stay out of head coach Jim Boeheim's way.

Still, it's already been a long day, which only makes a 2-hour practice seem longer. Pace shoots nearly 100 outside jumpers. He defends point guard Edelin and then power forward Warrick. When Warrick scores, a coach shouts Pace's way:

"Come on, Josh. Play a little defense."

"That's just the way it works," says Pace. "You're going to get yelled at every once in a while. It's tough, but you learn how to deal with it. You go on and use it as positive motivation."

Pace doesn't seem to need much motivating during the end of practice sprint drills. Roberts is always Pace's toughest competition. Today, Roberts is off his game. Pace wins three full-court sprints in a row, and comes off the court to a gigantic high-five from assistant coach Mike Hopkins.

"You take the good moments with the bad," Pace said. "You just have to kind of enjoy the good ones, because it can be a roller coaster. There's a lot of responsibility around here. Every day has its ups and downs."

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