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BOWLING GREEN You hear it at the start of every basketball season.
Some player became really dedicated to the weight room over the summer, gained an unrealistic amount of weight, and supposedly looks as though he is cut from stone.
Then the warm-up pants and top come off moments before the first game and a familiar physique is revealed.
But Joe Jakubowski isn t duping anyone when he says he gained 11 pounds of muscle since last season ended. The Bowling Green State University sophomore point guard is noticeably bigger particularly in his arms and shoulders after his first ever offseason committed to lifting weights.
I would stand in front of the mirror and say, oh wow, Jakubowski said, laughing. I was getting bigger and it was exciting to see progress.
Outsiders can witness those strides tomorrow when BG plays its first exhibition game of the season at 2 p.m. against Ashland in Anderson Arena.
Jakubowski, like many high school basketball players, spent more time at open gyms and AAU tournaments than on the leg press while at St. John s Jesuit. But college ball is a different game, especially playing for Louis Orr, who preaches toughness and rebounding to no end. So depending on the week, Jakubowski was in the Sebo Center weight room four days under the watch of strength and conditioning coach Rick Court, who heads a staff that Jakubowski believes is one of the best in the nation.
It shouldn t come as a surprise that the photo accompanying Court s biography in BG s media guide is of Court observing Jakubowski heaving a medicine ball.
Don t tell the coaches, Jakubowski said, but I actually look forward to lifting.
Jakubowski (6-foot-2, 191 pounds) and BG coach Orr discredited the notion that building strength can have a negative effect on one s shooting form. To them, such an opinion is an excuse for players not wanting to hit the weights during June and July.
That s a myth, Orr said. You lift, but you also get out and put up a lot of shots. You still play the game of basketball. You kind of work out the stiffness.
And Jakubowski did just that in the summer, upholding his reputation as that of a gym rat. Specifically he focused on ball handling and becoming more poised, which are two areas he believed he lacked during a solid freshman campaign when he averaged 7.8 points and started in the final 22 games.
Jakubowski had noticeably improved by the end of the season when most of his teammates had begun to lose steam. He became deft at lowering his head and getting to the bucket, and often went to the free-throw line in that scenario. In an upset win over nationally-ranked Kent State on March 1, Jakubowski was superb, accounting for season highs in points (22) and assists (12). He did most of his damage dribbling to his dominant side, the left, and Kent never adapted.
Jakubowski has since tried to become more diversified in using both hands, according to Orr.
I feel definitely a lot more confident than last year coming in, Jakubowski said. I feel like I ve done the work. I have the confidence and we should have a big year.
Should his confidence falter, Jakubowski needs only to look in the mirror for a boost.
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