Colorado hopes The Program pays dividends for 2013-14

SAN FRANCISCO -- What could hand-to-hand combat possibly have to do with basketball? A lot, if you ask the Colorado men’s basketball team.

For the second year in a row, Tad Boyle subjected his fellers to The Program, a company run by former military personnel that aims to foster leadership and team building. As the phrase “former military personnel” would suggest, things were a little intense for the two-day, well, program.

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For example, the Buffs had to do push-ups, flutter kicks and jumping jacks in unison in one exercise until it was deemed to have been done perfectly. In another activity, players had to move sand bags, medicine balls and other heavy objects 300 yards as fast as possible. And then there was the whole fighting soldiers one-on-one in hand-to-hand combat thingy -- don’t worry, head gear was provided.

What did the Buffs get out of all of this?

“You learn so much about your team: leadership, toughness, who wants to step up,” Boyle said. “I think we get a lot out of it. It’s no fun when they go through it, but I think there’s a sense of accomplishment when it’s done.”

“On our end as players, it brings us together as a unit and also makes you do some self-reflection,” junior guard Spencer Dinwiddie added. “It also makes you look at yourself individually because there is nowhere to hide.”

And in a conference where there is nowhere to hide as far as opponents are concerned, mental toughness will be key for Colorado and every other squad hoping to get itself a conference ‘ship.