Fatigue A Factor

LOS ANGELES--The players at the Best of Summer tournament are tired. Not just tires from the games in Los Angeles, but tired from over a month of basketball. With the college scouts watching, it is hard for a player to take a much needed rest.

It has been a long summer for many of the nation's brightest basketball prospects. Camps and tournaments have filled the past few months and even the most hearty players are feeling the effects. The players have played in tournaments and participated in camps for the majority of the summer. With very little time to rest and recuperate, the effects of a very long summmer are taking their toll.

"I'm very tired," said Omar Wilkes. "I just want to rest up and relax."

Wilkes caught a cold while in the Las Vegas tournament and is still feeling the effects. With no time to rest up, the illness has lingered. Wilkes has sat out the End of Summer Tournament in attempt to get healthy. His best friend David Padgett competed for Team USA, but Wilkes is not jealous of the big center from Reno.

"I'd probably be even more tired if I went down there." Wilkes said of the event in Venezuela.

Wilkes isn't the only player missing time to rest up after a long summer. Players like Trevor Ariza and Mustafa Shakur cut their tournament schedules short to heal minor injuries.

Even players who aren't hurt or sick are ready to take a little break.

"He won't admit it but he's tired," said Damon Farmar, father of Jordan Farmar a junior point guard recruit. "I'm going to make him take off the month of August and get him worn out in September."

"I'm tired," Jordan Farmar admitted. "I've played in Fresno, Las Vegas and here. I could use a short break, but it's fun."

One of the toughest results of the fatigue factor is what it means in evaluating talent. Coaches have to take tiredness into effect while looking at players. A player may look worse this week than he did at the beginning of the month at one of the camps. Coaches realize this, but it does make it much tougher.

Arizona recruit Ekene Ibekwe is a perfect example of how fatigue affects an elite player. The 6-9 bigman was considered a top flight recruit but has been less and less consistant as the summer has progressed All Ibekwe has done is play his regular season, played in some tournaments, attended the ABCD camp, moved on to Las Veagas, then piggy backed the Fairfax and the Best of Summer camps in the last week. No wonder he has been inconsistant the past few weeks.

In the end, a summer of hard play will pay off. The players are young and will recover quickly. The exposure more than makes up for a little bitof fatigue. By the start of their high school seasons these elite athletes will forget about how worn out they were at the end of July.

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E-mail Brad at Heymtymte@cs.com

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