September 22, 2008
With Charlotteís 2008 Training Camp on the horizon, the players canít wait to get things going as the franchise enters its fifth season, and first under new Head Coach Larry Brown. Over the course of the summer, the Bobcats commitment to improving has been evident at Time Warner Cable Arena, with all 14 players under contract having been seen in the weight room and out on the practice court getting a workout in. Through it all, bobcats.com has been there catching up with the players as they prepare to head to Wilmington, NC, on September 29 for training camp.
Here is what Raymond Felton had to say about the leadership role he's taken on this offseason and the commitment his teammates have shown heading into camp.
bobcats.com: Raymond, the last time we talked to you we were out in Vegas and you were telling us how you wanted to take on more of a leadership role and how you really committed yourself to the game with J-Rich out there. What have you been up to since then?
Felton: Basically, J-Rich and I have been working out together all summer, trying to get that bond and that relationship. We grew a relationship our first year together, so we are just trying to make that stronger, get on the same page and just be around each other because we are going to be the core of the backcourt. We are just trying to make sure we are ready, so everybody can follow our lead, along with Gerald (Wallace) and Emeka (Okafor). Iíve been working out with my trainer and working out with Muggsy. Iíve been doing a little bit of work with Muggsy, working with a guy who has played in the league and who had success in the league for over 15 year. Iíve just been working with him and going through the little things a point guard should look for and do. I think it really helped me out. Iíve also been working out with my dad a little bit too.
bobcats.com: Youíre one of the guys who has been in Charlotte for quite some time working out. Weíve seen you here quite a bit. Talk about getting out here early and wanting to start that commitment level early.
Felton: Thereís no question. Iím just trying to show the organization and trying to show the coaches that Iím the leader of this team. Iím the guy thatís going to bust his behind everyday and thatís going to show that leadership on the court and off the court. Iím just putting in the work. I love basketball and I love to have a ball in my hands, so anytime I can get in the gym, Iím in here.
bobcats.com: I know you and J-Rich reached out to guys to get them in here this summer and progressively throughout the summer more and more guys have come in. Now, the whole team is out here. Talk about the commitment of this team.
Felton: Thatís big for us to get that early start. Itís basically like we have started training camp already. Weíve been doing this for two weeks now, so I think itís going to give us a good head start and will let us be ahead of a lot of other teams. Thatís something that we need to get started with what we want to do. We are trying to make the playoffs this year. I think thatís a must this year, as long as we keep everybody healthy and everybody is healthy at this point even Sean. We look good so far and weíre going to try to keep it that way.
bobcats.com: The last couple of years, you have been the guy to come out and say that playoff word first and there have been expectations. Are expectations out the window now and this is something that needs to happen?
Felton: Expectations are out the window. We are not an expansion team anymore. We have to make it happen. Pretty much everyone has been together for three years with the exception of J-Rich, but he has come in and gelled with us right away. Itís just like heís been with us the whole time. Itís time to get something done.
bobcats.com: Talk about the importance of some of the moves made in the offseason, bringing Emeka back and bringing in D.J. (Augustin) and Alexis (Ajinca).
Felton: Thatís going to help us out a lot, bringing Emeka back and bringing in D.J., a guy who is going to be a great point guard. When he comes off the bench is going to be able to do basically some of the same things I do. Heís not going to lose a beat. Itís going to be interesting and itís going to be fun.
bobcats.com: How much are the two of you going to push each other? We see you out here in these scrimmages kind of going at it.
Felton: You have to push each other. Iím helping him out from day to day with little things, but he has the game already. Thatís why heís here and thatís why he got drafted. He can already play the game of basketball, Iím just going to help him out with the little things. Heís going to be all right. Weíre going to push each other each and every day. Itís going to be competitive, but at the same time, weíre teammates.
bobcats.com: Weíd be remiss if we didnít mention the biggest addition, Larry Brown. Talk to us about the excitement of the guys working under Larry.
Felton: Itís going to be fun. Thereís going to be a lot of discipline. There are going to be things that guys have to get used to. Itís basically going to be like youíre back in college again. Thatís they way heís going to coach us. Thatís the kind of coach he is. Heís going to be very demanding of us and very strict, but I think thatís what we need to get over that hump.
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