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July 2, 2009

KMAN Q&A: Scott Greenawalt

Didn't get a chance to catch Scott Greenawalt on the radio? That's OK. The GoPowercat.com staff listened in as the Kansas State basketball head strength and conditioning coach appeared on 1350 KMAN's "The Game" on Thursday. Always entertaining and armed with his dry wit, Greenawalt's interview was definitely worth a reprint. Among the topics, Greenawalt talks about making players' legs burn and discusses his favorite fireworks entering the Fourth of July weekend.

Matt Walters: Scott Greenawalt, it's a pleasure, please don't break us in half this afternoon because we know that's what you're doing with the K-State basketball players.
Scott Greenawalt: "Hey, how are you guys doing? I'm doing great. Busy, but great."

MW: Can you describe how you design a program for each individual student-athlete -- man or woman?
SG: "We do a lot of stuff on an individual basis. I'm very hands-on with these guys. During the recruiting process, I'm always talking to whoever is recruiting the kid. He's going to let me know right away -- our coaches have watched him play for a number of years -- whether he's too skinny, he can't move his feet, maybe we need to shed some weight, maybe they're not strong upper-body wise. So, I kind of have an idea when they get here.

"On the first day, we do some testing, nothing big, but we do some parameters to see their speed, agility, footwork and strength, and then we sit down and say, 'You know what? This is how this kid has got to train.' So, one kid might focus more on strength. One kid might focus more on footwork. It's very individualized. Not to say everybody doesn't do the same thing at times, because we do a base program, but we take it a bit further and see what the kids' needs are."

MW: So what Jacob Pullen does is vastly different from what Luis Colon does? Yes or no?
SG: "Well, I would say especially conditioning wise. They're both pretty strong kids, so weight-room wise, they're going to be doing pretty similar things. Conditioning-wise, kids like Luis are probably going to do a little extra conditioning. We've got to watch his weight and his body fat. He's done a great job with his nutrition. Jake has had to eat more. We talked about that a few years ago when he got here. Now, Luis, we've got to tell him, 'Don't eat as much,' if that makes sense."

MW: The stories are legendary since your arrival here first under Bob Huggins and now under Frank Martin when it comes to what you do with these student-athletes. What I'm most interested in is when a recruit comes to Kansas State and gets here, like a Rodney McGruder or Wally Judge, and they dive head-first into your program, they literally run into a brick wall because they have not experienced anything like this before in their basketball careers. Is that right?
SG: "That's very true, but to be honest with you, the coaching staff that I'm around, I'm very, very fortunate because when a kid gets put onto campus here for his visit, I'm a big part of that visit, OK? That recruiting coach, every time he talks to that kid, says, 'You're going to be with Scott every day. These are things that are going to happen.' When the kids talk with me, I'm very upfront. I say, 'Look, you're going to come in and we're going to work extremely hard, you're not going to be able to walk for a couple days, and you're going to hate me.' And it's true. I don’t lie to these kids. I don't tell them it's going to be fun. But the bottom line is -- you know what? -- you're going to be better.

"When the kids talk with me, I'm very upfront. I say, 'Look, you're going to come in and we're going to work extremely hard. You're not going to be able to walk for a couple days and you're going to hate me.' And it's true."

-- Scott Greenawalt

"These five kids who are on campus now are starting to believe in that and they see that. It takes a couple weeks, but in the long run, they see that. What also has happened is we have some veterans, like Jacob Pullen, Denis Clemente and Luis Colon, who help these kids and say, 'Listen, just buy in and do it and good things will happen at the end.'"

Nick Ryan: Do players ever come in and take a couple sets off, or if they're doing a "failure" set and do a couple less reps than you'd probably expect, what's the protocol for that?
SG: "Well, I'm very hands-on, so guess what? That set doesn't count. And we'll do it until it's right. Hey, it's pretty simple, you know. It's my will against yours, you're probably going to lose. I don't say that to be a tough guy, I'm saying that because, hey, I want to get that kid better."

Scott Miller: You obviously take a different approach with every player because there are maybe some players that need to lose some weight and other players that need to put on weight, but what's the approach you take with each individual? Do you ask coaches or talk to the players about that, or do you instantly know what you want to do?
SG: "I haven't been doing this forever, but I've been doing it long enough to know that certain things get certain guys better. Whether it's footwork -- I have drills that we do for footwork. Whether it's upper-body strength -- I know how to do that. Each day, we sit down as a staff and talk about certain players. I'm fortunate enough to be at almost every practice, and even with the girls, I try to get to every practice that I can, so I can see, hey, he or she isn't moving laterally fast enough.

"A kid like Jordan Henriquez, who just got here, I want to hear now that he's getting pushed around by Curtis Kelly, which should happen because he's a freshman. I know every day when he comes into that weight room and we're training lower body, I'm in Jordan's ear about getting his legs stronger. If I know those things, which, again, the coaching staff and I probably see it, that helps me with my approach in training that kid."

MW: What's also interesting is during practice -- I haven't seen it at a women's practice, but I've seen it at a men's practice -- if, for some reason, somebody crawls into the doghouse or isn't having a great practice, guess who you're getting sent to? Scott isn't too kind to you when you come to the south end of Bramlage Coliseum.
SG: (laughs) "I don't enjoy it when kids get sent to me because I've got to look like Satan there, you know? You know what? I guess that comes with the job. I don't mind doing it. I tell the kids, 'Listen, it's not my fault you got sent over here -- but guess what? -- you're here and this is what we've got to do.' We'll do some things where it'll be a little reminder for them not to get sent back. Whatever that might be -- treadmill, bike, we've been boxing or running up and down the steps, just basically stupid things."

MW: Have they ever asked to box you?
SG: "Oh, there have been a lot of guys that have wanted to box me. (laughs) Haven't had that one happen yet, fortunately."

MW: On the flip side, what are some of the differences for the women's program?
SG: "You know, they train fairly similar, and I'm talking a broad view of it. My philosophy is the same whether you're a female basketball player or a male basketball player. It's very similar. The things that are a little bit different are the things between Coach Martin and Coach Deb Patterson. Coach Patterson might want a little extra conditioning, so we'll do a little bit more conditioning with our females, only because that's something that the head coach wants. So, that's what I do.

"Now Coach Martin, he wants his kids big and strong right now. That's something he wants. He wants our kids as big and as strong as you can get them. That's pretty simple. We're going to be in the weight room and we're going to be doing a lot of eating. With the girls right now in the summer, we're doing a little bit more running than the guys."

NR: If you look at the strength and conditioning program from where it was when you arrived to where it is now, how would you make those comparisons?
SG: "Well, both teams trained before I got here and they trained hard, and the transition was easy for me. Nobody ever shied away from working. It's a little bit different philosophy. Other than that, I do some different things than what they did before, and they probably thought it was a little bit crazy, but it's different and they all grasped it and didn't fight it. That was easy for me to do. It was smooth for me."

SM: Obviously, this is a key time to work out, but are there any success stories right now? Any guys that have really turned your head?
SG: "Well, there's been several. There's been a lot of kids. I hate to single out one of them because they've all done so well. Our veteran guys, heck, I bet Jacob Pullen couldn't bench 95 pounds but a couple of reps when he got here and now he's benching 250 for reps. I use that for an example.

"Luis Colon lost a lot of weight last year. He's gotten into great shape. Curtis Kelly, he sat out all of last season, so him and I did stuff every day and he's changed his body. He was at 265 when he got here. He weighed-in this morning at 238. These guys have bought in. The only thing is eventually getting to the goals that we've set and hopefully we'll win more basketball games."

MW: Your favorite fireworks? I picture you as a guy that would drop a little coin on fireworks.
SG: (laughs) "There is a little truth to that. We do set up a lot of fireworks. I like to do big bangs, and fires and stuff like that. I don't know if that's a good thing, but yeah, I've got a girl just over 1, so I've got to be careful with those things. If the wife lets me, we'll shoot off a couple. If she says no, then I guess I'll have to watch from a distance."

MW: But you haven't answered the question. What's your favorite fireworks of all time?
SG: "Of all time? What's my favorite single firework?"

MW: M-80s? Bottle rockets? What?
SG: "That's a good question."

MW: It's probably just those little snaps you throw on the concrete, right?
SG: "OK, yeah, that's a good one. (laughs) I always loved those, yeah."

MW: Other than basketball, what's Scott Greenawalt's favorite sport?
SG: "Football. It's a great sport."

MW: The sport Scott Greenawalt likes the least?
SG: "Ewe, probably polo, because I don't know anything about it."

MW: Your favorite Major League Baseball player?
SG: "Kevin Youkilis."

MW: If you put a goatee on Scott Greenawalt, he'd look a little bit like Kevin Youkilis…
SG: "I've got to be a little better looking than him."

MW: When it comes to the Fourth of July, what food does Scott Greenawalt want on the table?
SG: "Steak."

MW: Is there any leniency on what players can eat over the Fourth?
SG: "Yeah, I'm not really picky with guys. I don't stand above them and say, 'Hey, eat your peas and carrots.' It's, hey, you're a college kid, and you've got to teach them about what to eat and what not to eat. But, hey, let's be honest, they're going to eat some bad stuff anyhow. But we try to clean up their food. They do a pretty good job. It's something they have to do on their own. I don't walk up to them on campus and say, 'Hey, it's time to eat your turkey sandwich.' I educate them, get them to understand it, and then -- guess what? -- you're on your own. Fourth of July, I'm sure they'll be eating a lot of desserts and stuff like that.

"We'll get it all out of them on Monday."






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