Rifle Training, Leadership Highlight End to Boot Camp

Aug. 31, 2012

By Stephen Trembley

FRESNO, Calif. --- On the last of five days of their special boot camp, the Fresno State men's basketball team were handed rifles for their final morning of training with the university's Army Reserve Officers' Training Corps.

While holding the 7.5-pound dummy rifles that were similar to a M-16, the Bulldogs pushed through a series of superman holds and lifts, including up and forwards, up and squats, up and presses, arm kicks, sit-ups and overhead stationary conditioning. The tests were designed to build strength, character and continue the mental training to fight through any challenge.

"This gave us a great opportunity to get a chance to reinforce what we talk about on a daily basis in terms of leadership, the mental side, teamwork and discipline," Fresno State head men's basketball coach Rodney Terry said. "We appreciate being able to work with the ROTC, who is the No. 1 leadership program on campus, to try to embody how they conduct themselves."

Following the boot camp, Lt. Col. Lorenzo P. Rios, who commands the Army ROTC Bulldog Battalion that developed and ran the training all week, gave the team some final thoughts about teamwork and leadership that he learned leading Army troops in Afghanistan, Iraq and the Balkans.

"There is a special character that is found in young men and ladies who take on their fears and don't let their fears dictate what they do," Rios said. "There is a special character in accepting sacrifice when everyone else doesn't.

Rios also commended the Bulldogs for their commitment, work ethic and taking the time to learn critical skills to come together as a team.

"Our Fresno State family got stronger this week," Rios told the squad. "Your coaches are teaching you to think outside the box. There is a battlefield that we all are on at every point of our lives - on the basketball floor representing Fresno State and in your hearts. You are instruments of leadership. I'm very proud at what you have accomplished this week."

Rios is a naturalized United States citizen born in Tecoman, Colima, Mexico. He was a migrant farmworker who initially enlisted in the Marine Corps. Among his medals with the Army, Rios has been awarded two bronze stars: one for combat leadership in Iraq and one for leading a special inter-agency coordination cell in Afghanistan.

Rios concluded the camp by giving Terry and each of the members of the team a special Bulldog Battalion medallion.

The coaching staff then thanked Rios, Master Sergeant Donald Spock and the Fresno State cadets. Terry then gave them a special camouflaged "Boot Camp 2012" t-shirt with the Bulldog logo on the front and the team's phrase for the 2012-13 season, "Compete! Grind! Defend the Valley!" on the back.

"I learned this week never to give up and that you can get through anything if you work hard," senior forward Kevin Foster said. "I knew they worked hard in the Army, but I didn't know they worked that hard. This just put icing on the cake and let me know that you have to appreciate everything."

Fresno State continues their individual and strength and conditioning workouts leading up until mid-September, when limited team activities are expanded. Official practice will begin in mid-October. The Bulldogs will play a single exhibition game on Nov. 2 against Fresno Pacific.

The 'Dogs will then turn their full focus to the Nov. 9 season opener at Texas, with the first regular season home game slated for the following Friday, Nov. 16 against Pacific.

For fans looking to secure their 2012-13 men's basketball season tickets and support Fresno State student-athlete scholarships, packages are available starting at $99 for Level 7 season tickets (plus a minimum donation of $50) through The Bulldog Foundation at 559-278-7160.

To view all pricing and priority seating locations, please visit: www.bulldogfoundation.org.

To learn more about the Fresno State Army ROTC Bulldog Battalion, please visit: http://www.fresnostate.edu/ROTC/home/index.html.

• Monday (Aug. 27) - DAY 1: 'Dogs Start Week of Boot Camp with Army ROTC
• Tuesday (Aug. 28) - DAY 2: Mind Over Matter Pushed
• Wednesday (Aug. 29) - DAY 3: Ownership, Teamwork Key
• Thursday (Aug. 30) - DAY 4: Lower Body, Core Worked

"Discover Fresno State Athletics!" - The flagship radio stations for the Fresno State men's basketball team are KMJ 580 AM (English) and ESPN Deportes 1600 AM (Spanish).