Media Day 2008 is in the books and Training Camp is officially underway.
This year’s Media Day on the practice court felt a lot different than last season’s as a rookie. I was more relaxed and more comfortable because I knew what to expect. I still came in with a lot of energy and because I’m so much more accustomed to speaking with the media, I was able to relax a little bit more. Best of all, I wasn’t the butt of all the vets’ jokes like I was last season. This year I was even able to joke around with some of the young guys myself.
Speaking of, this year’s crop of Suns rookies have been asking me a lot of questions. I understand where they’re coming from. It’s tough coming into this league not knowing what to anticipate. I remember last year at Media Day kind of feeling in awe of everything, a bit in shock that I was attending my first NBA function. So I’ve been giving as much advice to the guys as I can, both good and bad. I’ve probably scared them a little bit more than anything else though.
They’ve really been asking a lot of questions in regards to what kind of hazing might go on at Camp. I keep telling them it changes every year, so I really can’t help in that department. Last year the guys made me sing and dance at the restaurant where we had our team dinner. I’ve got some creative ideas for things we can do this season, but I can’t actually take place in any of the hazing myself. The veterans on the team say I’m still a rookie until our first game of the season. At the same time, though, I won’t have to take part in any of the rookie activities myself, which is good.
I like that this year’s rookies have been coming to me with questions and are really wondering what to expect. They probably see me as someone who has gone through the process recently and figure I have a few things to offer. I’m still not going to tell them what to expect at the team dinner, however. I went into last season not knowing what to fully expect and think it should be the same for them. I’ll help out as much as I can and understand what it’s like not knowing what could end up happening at the team dinner. I remember leading up to it last year the guys on the team kept trying to figure out what they could possibly do to embarrass me. I don’t embarrass to easy, I’m usually easy going and having a good time and the guys picked up on this pretty quickly. They kept asking what they could do that would actually embarrass me but there was no way I was going to tell them. The one thing I do keep telling guys like Robin Lopez and Goran Dragic is not to stress and to take whatever comes their way in stride.
As far as how Robin and Goran are doing otherwise, they’ve fit in just fine. That’s what this organization looks for, guys who are going to fit in and work hard, and that describes those guys perfectly. I’ve really been spending a lot of time with Goran working out on the court and he’s really willing to learn which is going to get him ahead.
I’m eager for camp and am ready to learn the new system. I feel more comfortable and confident than I did last year which is really important. As far as knowing what to expect, I kind of have an advantage in working with the system during the Summer League in Las Vegas. Both Igor Kokoskov and Dan Majerle coached the team up there so I kind of had a sneak peak. It’s been interesting having some of the veterans like Grant Hill asking me what to expect.
I just say that the coaching staff expects the guys to work hard and that’s going to be apparent as soon as Training Camp. That will all get started tomorrow so I better get some rest. I’ll be sure to check back in soon and let you know exactly what takes place at Thursday’s dinner.