It has been a season in waiting for Marty Wilson.
The former basketball standout at Simi Valley High has spent most of his sophomore season at Pepperdine on the bench.
Wilson's role will probably be much the same Friday at 2:07 p.m. when the Waves (25-4) play Maryland (18-11) in a first-round NCAA Tournament game at Long Beach Arena.
But he hasn't stopped trying.
"Even going into a weekend where he knows he might not play five minutes in two games, he's the hardest worker we've got," Waves assistant coach Tom Asbury said.
Wilson is all but resigned to his fate--for now.
"I'm just trying to keep everybody up and keep my head into it," Wilson said. "And I'm trying to get ready next year for whatever playing time I do get."
This year, there wasn't much time to go around in the Pepperdine backcourt. Seniors Dwayne Polee, Jon Korfas and Grant Gondrezick combined to average 38.9 points, 8.4 rebounds and 14.3 assists a game.
The numbers on Wilson were more modest. He appeared in 23 of 29 Pepperdine games, playing less than five minutes a game for an average of 1 point, 1 assist and less than 1 rebound.
Forgettable totals, as far as Wilson is concerned.
"We thought about redshirting me, but Gondo's leg was bothering him at the time and we weren't sure if he was going to make it or not," Wilson said. "But I still thought I should have played more. It's just one of those things."
Wilson said he has no regrets.
"Dwayne, Grant and Jon are probably the best three-guard tandem in the nation," he said. "Dwayne is probably one of the best, and just going against him in practice everyday was good experience."
Next season, Wilson will compete with returnee Jim Harrick Jr. of Newbury Park, redshirt Craig Davis, junior college transfer Ed Allen and as many as two recruits for playing time. There are no guarantees.
"He's got a bright future with us," Asbury said. "But just because the three guys will be gone doesn't mean he can miss his wake-up call."
Wilson, fourth in career scoring and rebounding at Simi Valley, doesn't intend to.
"I think I need to play for some game experience, but this season I think I really learned how much I want to play," he said. "It will help me work harder in the off-season to make sure nobody comes in and takes my position."
Six other players from the Valley area will also participate in postseason basketball tournaments.
Kevin Holmes, a 6-8 senior forward from Cleveland High and Reseda, will provide inside strength for DePaul (16-12) in its first-round NCAA Tournament game against Virginia (19-10) Thursday in Greensboro, N.C.
Anthony Cook, a freshman out of Van Nuys High, will start at forward when Arizona (23-7) meets Auburn (19-10) in a first-round NCAA Tournament game Friday at Long Beach Arena. Cook, who averaged 6 points and 4 rebounds a game, set a school record with 49 blocked shots.
Pat Yerina, a senior from Thousand Oaks and Crespi, will lead Mid-Atlantic Athletic Conference champion Fairfield (24-6) against Illinois in a first-round NCAA Tournament game in Charlotte, N.C. The 6-5 senior forward led the MAAC in field goal percentage (.560), was second in rebounding (8.2) and averaged 15 points a game.
In the National Invitational Tournament, Loyola Marymount (18-10), with former Crespi High players Mike Yoest and Hunter Knapp, plays at California (19-9) tonight. Yoest, a 6-7 sophomore forward, averaged 10 points and almost five rebounds a game in a starting role. Knapp played in only nine games, averaging five minutes, two points and three rebounds.
Larry Middleton, a 6-3 guard from Valley College, will start at guard when Clemson (17-14) plays Middle Tennessee State (23-10) tonight in a first-round NIT game at Clemson.