Distance not a problem for AAU teams

By: Matt Barnes Email
By: Matt Barnes Email

Monday, July 13, 2009.

More than 2,200 miles separate Oakland, California and North Augusta, South Carolina, site of the 2009 Nike Peach Jam. It was a more than 6-hour trip for the Oakland Soldiers but maybe more tough than the travel may be the 3-hour time difference.

"When they're on the floor, they should be prepared to play," said Soldiers head coach Mark Olivier. "But I agree, it's tough. I mean, I even had a tough time getting up."

These teams are used to traveling though. The I-15 elite from Portland, Oregon has been playing east of the Mississippi all summer, so blaming losses on lack of sleep isn't an option

"We just try to get them enthused, get them going, encouraging each other," said Elite head coach Kimbero Memory. "Bring energy right away instead of coming in asleep."

Playing basketball all summer though does take its toll though on the body..

"Yeah, it's a little wear and tear," said Soldiers guard Nick Johnson. "Time is not a big factor for me. It's the fatigue on my body. You just gotta fight through it. You want to win the game so you gotta do what you gotta do."

"I think you've got to be in shape, you've got to be smart and just can't let stuff get to you," said Elite forward Jordan Railey. "You have to fight through things. You have to be prepared mentally and physically."

And while their high school friends may be relaxing at home or on the beach, these guys have no problem spending their summer break, traveling around the nation playing hoops.

"It's fun to get out and see different states so it's not that difficult,' said Railey.

"This is what i want to do," said Johnson. "Basketball is my life so that's all I do."


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