RICHMOND, Va. (WTVR) - Before the VCU Rams raced to the Final Four last year, coach Shaka Smart helped prepared his basketball players for the season with some intense training from a former Navy SEAL. Friday, Smart graduated from the SEAL Team PT program.
CBS 6 News’ Greg McQuade tagged along with Smart, and other graduates, Friday morning.
It all started very early, at an hour when most people are still counting sheep, and long before sunrise.
McQuade spotted a few bleary-eyed students who would earn their diplomas, but found no caps and gowns at the ceremony.
These SEAL Team PT class 357 graduates spent two weeks filled with countless push-ups, laps and sit-ups.
"A good old-fashioned sit-up... you feel it through your entire body," said one woman.
Shaka Smart, accustomed to dishing out advice, followed orders. The instructors, who knew Smart was coming, said they did not play favorites.
"Our goal was to treat him like everyone else I think he appreciated that," said one SEAL team instructor.
Smart said the training has been a lot of fun and that he feels great.
"I’m not a morning person, but over the last few weeks I proved to myself that I can get up and work out.”
However, he admits that on a couple of the mornings, he thought about hitting the snooze button on his alarm clock.
Smart first introduced his VCU team to SEAL Team PT this Spring to push their limits.
"There is not a lot of rest time mentally, but that is great because that is what basketball is all about. You've got to go from one thing right to the next," said Smart, who admitted the training can be exhausting.
However, Smart said the training is very beneficial for both the mind and body. He also said his players in the Fall can expert to spend some early mornings with the SEALs.