Updated: February 21, 2011 at 12:00 am
There’s a love-hate relationship between Adam Brakeville and the Air Force men’s basketball team.
You can’t expect Brakeville’s Air Force teammates to love him all the time. He’s usually the model teammate. During practice he is a pain in the behind.
If the Falcons want to take a play off in practice, Brakeville won’t allow it. The sophomore forward’s job most days is to simulate what the next opponent will do, and he takes it seriously. He goes full speed all the time.
And so, there is a flip side of that love-hate relationship.
“I love him,” Air Force coach Jeff Reynolds said. “If everyone came and brought his energy every day, we’d probably not be able to practice but about 35 minutes because everybody would get hurt. I love that. I love that competitive edge in him.”
His teammates might not enjoy practicing against him every day, but they appreciate him.
“In practice, Adam is the hardest-working guy on the floor,” senior forward Derek Brooks said. “He goes out and plays 100 percent – practice, games, whatever it might be.”
Brakeville doesn’t play much. He still, admittedly, has a lot of work to do on his offensive game – which he plans to refine this summer. He has logged 44 minutes all season. But when coaches summon him they know exactly what they’re getting, so they weren’t surprised when Brakeville gave them 14 energy-filled minutes against San Diego State on Saturday. He battled for rebounds and was physical with the Aztecs forwards on defense.
Brakeville said he wanted to let the Aztecs know the Falcons wouldn’t be pushed around. The opponent might have gotten agitated, but he’s used to that. He said last year he watched senior Saj El-Amin play the high-energy role for the Falcons and many players got upset with him, even the ones wearing Falcons uniforms during practice.
“A lot of people hated him,” Brakeville said with a smile.
Brakeville is fine with his role. He has played in just 13 of Air Force’s 25 games. That can be frustrating, but he is determined to make the most of his time as a college basketball player, even if for now it is mostly just making his teammates better in practice.
“You only have a certain amount of time to play,” Brakeville said. “Every day is a day less that you get to play basketball. I have four years, then it’s over. I try to maximize it every day.”