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Monday, September 12, 2011
Santa Clara takes weight issues seriously

By Diamond Leung

Robert Garrett is a freshman center at Santa Clara who goes by the nickname "Big Rob," and there's a good reason for that. On the roster, Garrett is listed at 7-feet, 255 pounds.

And when his weight threatened to sideline him from a team activity during the Broncos' recent tour of Canada, Garrett sprang into action to slim down his figure.

The team went to go ziplining, but due to regulations that required participants to weight 250 pounds or less, Garrett would not have been able to participate because he was a couple of pounds overweight.

Cue the "Chariots of Fire" music.

"I see Rob doing wind sprints outside a check-in booth," director of basketball operations Jesse Pruitt said.

"We start doing sprints and jumping jacks. He starts taking off clothes, taking off his socks."

Eventually, Garrett weighed in at 249.8 pounds and got to go ziplining and make memories with his team after all.

"I initially didn't even want to go ziplining," Garrett said. "I was actually kind of scared out of my mind."

The whole weight loss episode probably brought a smile to coach Kerry Keating, who will need more out of his young big man after top rebounder Marc Trasolini was lost for the season with a torn anterior cruciate ligament during the trip.

It was Keating last fall who threatened to hold leading scorer Kevin Foster out of practice if the all-conference player did not make weight.

But now Santa Clara appears to be a better-conditioned and better-prepared team after the trip to Canada. The Broncos certainly hated to see Trasolini go down, but the silver lining was that they played in three overtime games that included big shots down the stretch.

Foster, who led the nation last season in made 3-pointers, hit a turnaround 3 to beat the buzzer and send a game into overtime. Redshirt freshman Julian Clarke coming off a summer in which he played for the Canadian Under-19 team hit a 3-pointer of his own with a second left to send a game into OT. And Ray Cowels, whose playing time should increase this year, won an overtime game with a buzzer-beating 3.

Add in a little inspiration from Garrett, and it should be interesting to see if team chemistry can help overcome the significant loss of Trasolini.