Former Bison stars staying fit for prosFARGO — They’re no longer college kids playing a game. Basketball is a business now for Ben Woodside and Andre Smith. This summer, they’re investing in their livelihood by reuniting with their old strength and conditioning trainer from North Dakota State.
By: Jeff Kolpack, The Dickinson Press
FARGO — They’re no longer college kids playing a game. Basketball is a business now for Ben Woodside and Andre Smith. This summer, they’re investing in their livelihood by reuniting with their old strength and conditioning trainer from North Dakota State.
Brad Nordstrom has been putting the two through the workout wringer. On Thursday, it didn’t take Woodside long before he was dripping perspiration like a leaky faucet.
“Now we’re having fun,” Nordstrom shouted to Woodside.
Smith took the morning off to rest a sore back. He’ll be playing for Krasnie Krilya Samara in Samara, Russia, next year — his sixth year in overseas pro ball since leaving NDSU in 2007. Woodside signed a contract Wednesday with Optimum TED Ankara, which plays in the top division in Turkey.
He played last year in the country of Georgia with BC Armia and spent the previous two years in France.
“Turkey is a great league with great teams,” Woodside said. “The competition compared to last year in Georgia will be a lot different and will be better for me.”
Both Woodside and Smith are 27 years old. That’s where Nordstrom and his Maximum Performance & Fitness facility in south Fargo factors in. Both players contacted him last winter saying they were looking for the optimal combination of offseason strength and agility.
“It’s not like my first two years (in pro ball) where every day of the year I would come in for 8 a.m. practice, grab a ball and starting dunking no problem,” Smith said. “Now I have to warm up to do the warm up in March and April.”
The 6-foot-7 Smith was about 205 pounds when he left NDSU. He’s now around 250. The 5-11 Woodside made tremendous gains in strength in his five years at NDSU, but that slipped in Georgia, where weight training wasn’t a priority.
“When I first got here this summer, Brad looked at me and he wasn’t used to me being that skinny compared to college,” he said.
So Nordstrom had a three-phased workout plan that started with mostly strength training. Plus, unlike being a college trainer, he doesn’t have to deal with class schedules.
“So when they both come in here, it’s time to work,” he said. “These guys come in and they know what they’re trying to accomplish this summer and I know what I want them to accomplish. And we don’t have many outside distractions.”
It appears both are in Europe to stay. Smith was invited to the Golden State 18-man summer league roster and attended the mini camp in Oakland for two days. But he signed his deal with Russia at about that time so there was no reason to continue.
Woodside said he considered playing in the NBA summer league, but then he would also have to go through training camp to make a team.
“I would have to make those cuts,” he said. “But I think it’s a better fit to just focus on playing in Europe and trying to financially get the most I can in Europe. I love playing over there.”