Search This Blog

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Evans working on endurance

Evans working on endurance

By Dan Wolken
Sunday, May 25, 2008

At the insistence of his older brother and legal guardian, incoming University of Memphis freshman Tyreke Evans began working with a personal trainer when he was just 13 years old. Since then, "Team Tyreke," has grown to include a footwork specialist and a chiropractor.

Now, Evans is planning to spend the next several weeks working with a track coach to help build his endurance and ability to run in Memphis' fast-paced system.

"That style is like a track meet," said big brother Reggie. "His ticker isn't exercised to do that type of running. We're going to get him doing track drills on how to pace yourself and how to breathe correctly."

When it comes to laying the groundwork for an NBA career, Tyreke Evans is impressively ahead of the curve.

While he may not have quite as many athletic gifts of Derrick Rose, who looks like he's going to parlay his only season at Memphis into the No. 1 overall pick in the upcoming NBA Draft, the two players are at completely different ends of the spectrum when it comes to physical preparation for their basketball careers.

Whereas Rose never lifted a weight before he got to Memphis, Evans has been training with Lamont Peterson for practically all of his teenage years. Whereas Rose's famously bad diet included copious amounts of Twizzlers and Gummi Bears, Evans regularly consults with a nutritionist.

And whereas Rose had a tendency to tire out at the end of big games in which he had to play almost all of the minutes, Evans is already preparing to go the distance.

"We saw that game against Tennessee," Reggie Evans said, referring to the Tigers' 66-62 loss last season. "Derrick and (Chris Douglas-Roberts), those two guys look healthy enough to run all day, and they were out of gas. 'Reke would be in big trouble."

Though some criticisms of Evans may be legitimate -- the most obvious is how often he shot the ball in high school and in the various all-star games -- even his biggest detractors can't question his work ethic.

Not when you consider he's putting up 1,500 shots a day, plus a daily lifting program, speed drills and everything else he's doing five months before his first college basketball game.

"Everybody's telling me Tyreke is working harder than they've ever seen him work, and he's really excited about being here and playing for us," coach John Calipari said. "It's absolutely driven him to another level."

There's also a sense, according to Reggie Evans, that Tyreke has been a bit undervalued in some circles, perhaps as a backlash to how long he's been in the spotlight., for instance, ranked five players in the 2008 class ahead of Evans, who was named MVP of both the McDonald's All-American game and the Jordan Brand Classic.

"Here's a kid who is still, to himself, trying to keep proving everybody wrong," Reggie Evans said. "He's a forgotten kid. He's old news because he's been around for a while. ... You're kind of like old talk. That's what keeps him working hard. People are saying he can't play Memphis' style. That's crazy. He's like, I want to go to Memphis and prove everybody wrong. I love that about the kid."

No comments: