By Aaron Mansfield
You wouldn’t know it's summertime based on La’Trice Hall’s demeanor. By 5:57 this morning, the time I arrived at Cutting Edge Sports Training in Amherst, Hall was halfway through her active-stretch warm-up routine.
The recently graduated Sacred Heart guard/forward is at midseason intensity right now, and her conditioning appears to be on the same level. Her work ethic should come as no surprise to Buffalo hoops fans who have seen her dominate on the court in helping the Sharks win back-to-back Monsignor Martin girls basketball championships as a starter.
Hall will move into her dorm at the University of Hartford July 7, and she wants to be in the best shape of her life when she arrives.
She allowed The News to sit in on today’s workout with trainer Frank Colavecchia, who has been working with her for two years. In that time, she has lost 18 pounds. The 5-foot-9 Hall was an All-WNY first-teamer after averaging a double-double last year.
The Cutting Edge philosophy is emphatic, followed by three exclamation points in its logo: “Revolutionize Your Game!!!” That’s exactly what Hall is trying to do.
Tuesday was heavy-weight day and today was rep day for Hall, who did a lot of explosive lifting and resistance drills in addition to some fast-twitch cardio movements, including one-leg hops over 18-inch hurdles and hammer swings on an oversized tire, and core-tightening exercise-ball movements. It was like a scene out of a movie as Hall did defensive slides with the distinctive voices of Rick Ross and Lil Wayne coming through the overhead speakers.
Hall works out at Cutting Edge every Tuesday and Thursday and has been working with a skills coach in addition to playing a lot of pick-up basketball. She started 6 a.m. workouts over a year ago when Hartford informed her the team sometimes does morning runs as early as 5 a.m. and she decided she ought to get her body used to that type of early-morning challenge.
What gets her out of bed? “Not having to listen to my alarm clock,” she smiled. “The hardest part is just waking up. Once you get here, it’s easy. Well, not easy, but not as bad as you’d think.”
Hall sat down with a protein shake after her workout and chatted with The News about Hartford.
“You’ve got to be dedicated,” Hall, who is entering school as an undecided major and is considering business and psychology, said. “It’s a lot of hard work. I’m excited to take my game to another level.”
Hall, whose Sacred Heart team finished 25-3 in her final season, most looks forward to playing for Hartford coach Jennifer Rizzotti, who recently agreed to a contract extension through 2017-18, which will be Hall’s senior year.
“Being able to play for her and be around girls who love the game of basketball just as much as you do, it’s just tremendous,” Hall said.
Hartford finished 21-12 last season.
Colavecchia said he is working on improving Hall’s speed, acceleration and power, and he’s also focused on keeping her injury-free – which is one reason he doesn’t recommend young athletes do high-strain workouts like Crossfit.
Colavecchia has been training for 24 years.
“My philosophy is just work hard, come in and give 110 percent, and listen to what we’re telling you to do,” he said. “She listens and goes out and performs. La’Trice, I love her passion. She wants to get better and I want to make her better.”
Hall scribbles down every move Colavecchia teaches her so she can do the workouts when she’s away at school. Motivational quotes are interspersed in the workout log. At the bottom of today’s workout sheet, Hall had enscribed, “The difference between who you are and who you want to be is what you do.” Sage advice for any high school athlete who wants to play big-level college sports, to be sure. Hall, who had over 12 Division I offers, implored those preparing to enter their senior seasons in WNY to put in the work now in order to flourish in the winter.
Canisius, Daemen and Buffalo State were the local schools that recruited Hall.
Hall is a dedicated NBA fan, and asked who she’s picking for Game Seven of the Finals tonight, she sided with the veteran road squad led by Tim Duncan and Tony Parker.
“I’ve got to go with San Antonio,” Hall said. “I respect LeBron; he’s a great player, but he’s not passionate. You can just tell, in the game, he’s not into it. You can see it in his interviews. He’s a freak of nature. It’s crazy how a bad game to him is 25 points, but if you’re LeBron James and they’re saying you’re the best, then you need to show people you’re the best. It’s the Finals. This is it.”
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This interview is part of a story on Western New York’s four Division I-bound basketball players that will appear in The News within the next couple weeks. The Prep Talk blog will briefly highlight each interview before the full story appears in the paper. Here is a link to yesterday’s blog about Canisius College guard Adam Weir; The News will interview Niagara Falls grad and Canisius-bound forward Jermaine Crumpton next week. Grand Island’s Cassie Oursler, who is headed for Robert Morris, has not yet responded to interview requests.
taggedBasketball | Sacred Heart