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Phoenix Suns

Suns' pre-draft workouts again include Ďa test of physical and mental toughness'

PHOENIX, Ariz. -- It's back.

Much to the likely chagrin of would-be draft prospects who will be arriving at US Airways Center in the coming days and weeks ahead.

The Phoenix Suns are once again putting players through a three-minute conditioning run on the heels of a 60-to-75-minute workout.

"I feel like I was very, very, very much prepared for it, but it did kind of catch, I'm pretty sure, everyone in the workout off guard because the fact that we had to do it at the end of the workout," said former Michigan State point guard Keith Appling, who was one of six in for the Suns' first pre-draft workout on Tuesday.

"But it's great. It's good for the staff to see where everybody is as far as their conditioning."

The run, which tests how many times a player can race the length of the floor in three minutes, earned quite the reputation a year ago. Players, who had visited the Suns early on in the pre-draft process, began to tell, or perhaps better put, warn their fellow competitors of what awaited them when they worked out in Phoenix.

"It's something that if you don't train for it and kind of understand how fast you can go at certain times, you can burn out early, you can leave some in the tank," head coach Jeff Hornacek said.

Of course no prospect likes the run, heads drop, shoulders slump once Hornacek yells out, "Alright, line up on the baseline!" but it's an important part of the workout that is geared towards how the Suns play.

"If you're going to play like we play and try to lead the league in fast-break points, you're going to have get up and down," general manager Ryan McDonough said. "We try to simulate game action as much as we can while only having two-to-six guys on the court at a time."

Aside from evaluating the players' stamina after a difficult workout, there's also a mental element to the exercise.

"Other than being able to see the guys suffer for my own amusement?" McDonough joked. "No, you learn how the guys push themselves. More than anything, you want to see who fights through it, even when they're tired, even when their banged up. You also, obviously, want to see what kind of condition they're in.

"But more than anything, it's a test of physical and mental toughness and just to see how the guys push when they, frankly, don't want to do it and they are beat up at the end of a tough workout."

About the Author

School: Syracuse University, '96

When you started with Bonneville Phoenix: December 1, 1999

Favorite sports memory: Game 7, 2001 World Series

Least-favorite sports memory: Game 1, 1988 World Series

Favorite all-time athlete(s): Larry Bird, Don Mattingly

Favorite sports movies: Hoosiers, Field of Dreams


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