Challenges Ahead

Cam Thoroughman isn't sure which one is tougher – the WVU basketball team's new workout regimen or running the scorer's table at an AAU tournament event after the power has gone out.

"I don't know – that last game was tough," a laughing Thoroughman said after a thunderstorm knocked out all but the emergency lighting at the WVU Recreation Center during the Triple S Harley Davidson Jam Fest. "That was pretty wild. But I know the workouts are tough, and they are only going to get tougher."

The power outage left the people at the scorers' tables keeping time with stopwatches in dimly lit conditions, but Thoroughman was only joking when he compared that task to West Virginia's new workout routines – which are only part of the new regimen being put into place by head coach Bob Huggins.

"It is definitely longer and harder," said the redshirt freshman. "You don't think about it, because you think you body can only be pushed so far. Last year, we thought it was difficult to work as hard as we did, but now this year, it doesn't compare at all. You don't understand that until you get pushed harder. Looking back on last year, as far as lifting weights go, it's two totally different worlds."

Thoroughman, who certainly has the body frame to become one of the menacing forwards that are the hallmarks of Huggins teams, believes he has the opportunity to fit right in with the new system.

"Two things that I think fit me are toughness and rebounding," Thoroughman said when asked what aspects of Huggins' style fit his game. "I pride myself on those two things, and I think all of us as a team are going to have to pride ourselves on that, because defense is a big thing with Coach Huggins. We'll all have to do that to be successful."

A straight shooter who replies quickly and directly to questions, Thoroughman can be counted on to provide an unvarnished view to just about any query. He knows that while workouts have been ratcheted up a few notches, he and his teammates haven't seen the top end of the scale.

"We all think we know what's coming, although it will probably be even worse than what we think," he said with what appeared to be equal traces of humor and trepidation. "We know it's going to be tough, and we need to be in the best shape we have ever been in to handle it.

"We played the Pittsburgh Summer League, and we are working out three days a week, we're conditioning, we are doing a lot of things different this year."

Thoroughman's summer has been a good one, however, as he and teammate Joe Mazzulla romped through the competition in the Steel City.

"Our team was undefeated until last week, when we lost a game by one point," said Thoroughman. "But we enjoy playing together, because we play like a real team. We don't have any individuals up there. It's a lot of fun.

"It's really good for me to play against some other people, because redshirting last year I didn't get to play against anyone else other than my teammates. Believe it or not, you don't think about that, but you get in a comfort zone doing it. I was just used to playing against West Virginia guys. So going up there was a whole different world. I'm still getting used to playing against different guys.

"It's definitely helped playing with and against different players. It has helped me to understand the game more, and it's challenging to get to know some guys and play with them and play against a different set of players."

Up next for Thoroughman and the 2007-08 Mountaineers are more workouts, then the start of the fall session and full immersion in Huggins' style of play. And after many questions and interviews about adjusting to the new system, he's ready to get down to it – no matter how tough it may be.

"I think we are all thinking that way – we just want to get started and go get it done. I think we are going to have a great year this year – it's going to be a tough road, but in the end it's all going to be good."


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