Most mornings last summer, Mike Groselle rode his bike to Johnson Hagood Stadium, stood at the bottom of the stairs and took a deep breath.
And then he started running.
Up the steps to the top of The Citadel's football stadium, then back down. At the bottom of the stairs, Groselle would jump rope 100 times, then do 10 situps and 10 pushups. Then it was on to the next staircase, up and down, 100 jump ropes, 10 situps and 10 pushups.
"There are 10 staircases on the home side and eight on the visiting side," said Groselle, who should know.
That's thousands of steps, 1,800 jump ropes, 180 situps and 180 pushups in the morning -- followed by lunch, then a strength and conditioning workout with The Citadel's basketball team, then a pickup game and a 5 p.m. engineering class.
All of which begs the question -- why?
"I was really disappointed with last season," said Groselle, a 6-8, 238-pound junior center from Plano, Texas. "So I decided to stay here all summer and work out. I want to win, and that's all I care about."
The Bulldogs are 2-2 heading into tonight's game at High Point, and it's plain to see that Groselle's grueling offseason workouts are paying off double.
Groselle's 19 points and 11 rebounds in Monday's 97-44 win over Florida Christian marked his fifth straight double-digit performance in points and rebounds, making him the first Bulldog since at least 1974 with five double-doubles in a row.
For the season, Groselle is averaging 19 points and 10.8 rebounds while shooting 69 percent from the field. At the All-Military Classic at Air Force to start the season, he put up two double-doubles in one day, playing 68 of a possible 80 minutes -- at altitude -- while scoring 25 points with 11 rebounds in a loss to VMI, and 16 points and 10 rebounds in a win over Army. He won the Southern Conference's first player of the week award of the season.
"I can tell a difference from last year," he said. "I think I'm a little quicker at getting rebounds, maybe from all those stairs and the jumping rope. Last year, I could play about two minutes in a row. Now I think I can play eight solid minutes without needing a sub."
Clemson coach Brad Brownell was impressed after watching Groselle make 7 of 13 shots in 37 minutes against his Tigers.
"He's a tough-minded kid," Brownell said. "There's a lot to like with him. He gets the most out of his ability. He proves you don't have to be a great athlete to be a good player.
"He posts very hard and demands the ball, he plays with good poise around the basket and he is a relentless rebounder. He makes a lot of plays below the basket."
Citadel coach Chuck Driesell said the Bulldogs should have gotten the ball to Groselle more often against Clemson.
"We have to do a better job of getting Mike the ball," he said. "Clemson broke us down and didn't let us get into position to get the ball to him. But Mike was out there battling every minute of the game. He's really good around the basket, and he'll continue to get better."
Who: The Citadel (2-2) at High Point (1-3)
When: 7 p.m.
Where: Millis Center, High Point, N.C.