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The Utah men's basketball team had their new gear on: camo pants, shirts, and boots. They had just run to the pool on campus. So far, so good with this Navy SEAL training.

Then, their instructors told them to jump. Hop right into that pool there.

"We had all of our clothes on, weighing us down in the water," junior guard Branyon Taylor said. "From that point on, nothing was easy. It was not a game at all."

The Utes spent last weekend living the lives of Navy SEAL recruits, or at least running through some drills perfected by the elite U.S. military force. Running through campus, crawling through mud, carrying logs above their heads — no, it was not a game.

From Friday through Sunday, the team plowed through the team-building exercises while coaches watched SEAL drill instructors push the players in ways they had never been pushed. It's part of Larry Krystkowiak's latest campaign to instill toughness into his team.

It was boxing in the spring, now SEAL training in the fall.

"Individual toughness was something we really wanted to focus on," Krystkowiak said in an e-mail to The Salt Lake Tribune. "These exercises helped improve our team work and communication. Any time you can do things together as a unit it helps form a brotherhood — a sense of togetherness and camaraderie."

One of the toughest challenges, Taylor said, was the log carry.

There were three groups carrying artificial, but still weighty, logs around campus. The chief rule: Don't let it fall to the ground. The drills focused on cooperation, which Taylor thinks will help translate to the court this season. One of his big takeaways from the training was a traditional military axiom: "Two is one and one is none."

"Basically everything we did made you depend on your teammates, because you couldn't do anything without them," Taylor said. "Them getting us out of our comfort zone and us being able to push through it was amazing. It's just like the season.

The season is tough, at the end of the day, you gotta push through it with your coaches and your teammates."

For Krystkowiak, the training was an important evaluation of the team's leaders. He also took away a few pointers from the instructors, he said.

"It couldn't have gone any better in my mind," he said. "It really brought a clarity to our areas of leadership. Personally, I took a lot away from the experience that will me improve as a coach. There are a lot of things I want to keep alive within our program."

Taylor called the SEALs "a great group of guys," but said he was glad he didn't have to run the full gamut of what recruits go through.

"Hopefully we can leave the rest of that stuff to those guys," he said.

Getting up to speed

The Utes are getting ready to run again. As the season approaches, here are dates to look for coverage:

Oct. 6 • Media day

Oct. 21 • Night with the Utes (open to public, 6:30 p.m.)

Oct. 23 • Pac-12 men's basketball media day