April 19, 2010
2:28 p.m.

CHARLOTTESVILLE — Spread over a 7-0 frame, 234 pounds isn’t much for a basketball player to carry. That was Assane Sene’s listed weight in 2009-10. If Sene is still that light next season, Mike Curtis’ message will not have gotten through to the rising junior from Senegal.

Curtis is UVa’s strength-and-conditioning coach for men’s hoops, and Sene poses a particular challenge.

“He doesn’t eat,” Curtis said.

The former UVa guard is exaggerating, of course, but Sene hasn’t shown much of an appetite, and that has limited his growth as a player.

As a sophomore this season, Sene started five of the 25 games in which he appeared. He played about 13 minutes a game and posted modest averages of 1.6 points, 3.6 rebounds and 0.8 blocked shots.

He shot only 33.3 percent from the floor and struggled to finish inside. In part that was because Sene doesn’t have especially sure hands, but also because he lacked bulk and strength.

Curtis’ plan for Sene this offseason?

“First and foremost, his thing is going to be a commitment to nutrition,” Curtis said. “That particular strategy has to start with him. In terms of getting stronger, he’s got to commit himself to taking in calories. The strength-training program will be there for him, but until he can put the right fuel in his body to get the most out of that training system, we really can’t go anywhere.

“He’s going to have to make that commitment to eat whenever he sees food in front of him, for the most part, and then make sure that he adheres to the training, even during those periods of time when we have one or two or three weeks off and the kids are allowed to go home. He’s not going to be able to take off any days, in eating or training, during this journey.”

Jeff White