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June 29, 2012

Mustang Men’s Basketball Summer Journal Series: Drake U’u

PREVIOUS ENTRY: DYLAN ROYER

EDITOR'S NOTE:
Senior guard Drake U'u, who averaged 6.1 points per game and started during 18 of 33 contests last season, checked in June 29 with the latest entry in the Cal Poly men's basketball program's summer journal series. Highlighted by a career-high 13-point performance during a 72-55 victory against NCAA Tournament qualifier Mississippi Valley State – a win that clinched Cal Poly its bracket championship at the 2011 Las Vegas Invitational – U'u totaled five double-digit scoring games a year ago.

Overall, Cal Poly is expected to return two starters and six letterwinners from last year's squad that reached the Big West Tournament semifinals and won 18 games – the second-highest total during the program's Division I tenure. One of the NCAA's top defensive programs during the previous two years, Cal Poly finished the 2011-12 season ranked sixth nationally in opponent rebounds per game (29.1) and 24th in opponent points per game (60.5).

June 29, 2012


I couldn't be any happier right now. Why, you might ask? Going into each quarter, coach Callero has us run the mile to test our conditioning level. For the guards (and any big man that enjoys shooting three-pointers), coach requires a time of five minutes, 30 seconds. For the post players, coach expects a six-minute mile. As of today, each member of the team made his time. As you might imagine, this is not the most anticipated event of the offseason. While some teammates feel sick at the thought of running the mile, I have also heard of others having nightmares or losing sleep the night before the test.

Going into my senior season, I only have a limited number of mile runs remaining before I graduate and I'm learning to cherish them. And by cherish, I mean I'm really looking forward to the mile runs being over. I will always remember my former teammate, Amaurys Fermin, hanging up his running shoes in his locker immediately after his last run and writing on one of the soles with a Sharpie, "Last mile run ever." His excitement was classic. While the mile is a physical test, it is even more of a mental challenge – which is why I know coach Callero enjoys putting us through it. In order for us to be successful this season and accomplish our goals, it is critical that we are just as strong mentally as we are physically.

With the second week of summer workouts nearly complete, I feel that we're beginning to mesh well as a team. On the court, guys are competing and playing hard. Off the court, the returning players and freshmen are bonding and getting to know one another. This summer I have the pleasure of rooming with redshirt freshmen Joel Awich and Reese Morgan and true freshman Zach Allmon. I have really enjoyed getting to know them on a personal level. Reese and Zach share a room, are always together and constantly blast Justin Bieber's "Boyfriend" throughout the house. Joel, on the other hand, may be the funniest person that I know who uses the least amount of words. While he is no competition for me when playing video games (such as FIFA or Mario Kart), he is very fun to be around and a great addition to the house. He also is very good at making scrambled eggs with ham (his dish is legit). Needless to say, I'm enjoying the time with my teammates and looking forward to living with them through the rest of the summer.

This summer will be highly beneficial as we have a plethora of young and talented freshmen that, I feel, can contribute immediately. Having these eight weeks of summer school and workouts allows us to get a head start on the season and introduce the new players to the culture that we have established at Cal Poly. As a senior, it is my job to lead by example, both on and off the court. I know that we have the talent to do special things this year and I'm excited for what is in store. I can't wait to get back on the floor and compete for a Big West Conference championship in front of our fans.

Drake U'u