June 13, 2008
On Friday, the Bobcats tipped off a two-day minicamp for free agent veterans. The goal of the camp was simple.
"(The purpose is) to see if we can find somebody that deserves to be in the league," said Head Coach Larry Brown. "I think we will. It’s also a good thing for our coaches to get a feel for what we want and help us teach be better prepared when we go to summer league. We might find a couple of kids here that we will be lucky enough to have on our summer league roster. I think Buzz (Peterson) has done a really good job of getting kids what we think have a chance. Hopefully we’ll find one or two. We have spots open, that’s for sure."
Thirteen players took to the court at the Presbyterian Training Center with the hopes of filling one of those open spots.
The players at the camp included the following: Andre Barrett (Seton Hall), Chuck Davis (Alabama), Gerald Fitch (Kentucky), Alton Ford (Houston), Taj Gray (Oklahoma), Marcus Haislip (Tennessee), Junior Harrington (Wingate), Jackie Manuel (North Carolina), Brent Petway (Michigan), Marcus Slaughter (San Diego State), Ron Slay (Tennessee), Trent Strickland (Wake Forest) and Larry Turner (Tennessee State).
All 13 players spent the 2007-08 season playing professionally in the NBA, overseas or in the D-League.
Following the first session, we caught up with Barrett, Harrington, Manuel and Strickland to get their thoughts on this opportunity with the Bobcats.
2007-08 Team: L.A. Clippers (NBA)/Austin (D-League) • NBA Experience: 4 years
(On the workout session)
I think things went real good. Coach Brown went out there and taught us some things as players and things within the team concept.
(On what he thinks he needs to do to make an impact)
I just think playing hard, doing what Coach asks us and just bringing a little bit of my talent and showcasing it.
(On if being a point guard gives him a better opportunity since its a position where the Bobcats have a need)
Definitely. This is an opportunity for me to come out and show Coach Brown that I can play for his team and show him what I can do in his offensive and defensive concepts.
(On what he know about Coach Brown's teams)
I know one thing. He prides himself on the defensive end of the floor. Most of his teams that have won championships or have been very successful have been real good defensive teams as well as offensive teams. I think he pushes his players and wants the best for every player so he’s going to teach you and make sure you know what’s going on.
2007-08 Team: Lokomotiv Rostov (Russia) • NBA Experience: 3 years
(On the workout session)
It was pretty good. This morning was a lot of teaching and getting everybody on the same page. We have a lot of different guys here, so Coach Brown was just showing his system and the things he likes to do.
(On the expectations he has coming into camp)
You know the situation with the team as far as how many guys they have under contract, so you just try to come out here and work hard and show them what you can do. Hopefully it leads to something.
(On if being a guard gives him an opportunity since its a position where the Bobcats have a need)
You just come out here and take it one day at a time. You really don’t think about that stuff too much. You just play and whatever happens, happens.
(On how nice it would be to play in Charlotte being a local product)
It’s nice. It would be a lifetime experience if I got to play here. I have a lot of family and friends around, so it would definitely be nice to play here.
2007-08 Team: Iowa (D-League)
(On what it's like working out in Charlotte)
Home sweet home. There are bunch of Carolina guys here. It’s a great opportunity though. I’m just trying to take advantage of it the best way I can.
(On how often he talks to his former teammates)
I talk to those guys everyday. We all live in Chapel Hill, so everybody works out. It’s really one big family.
(On his game)
I think each year my game is getting better. I see myself in this league. That’s my goal and that’s what I’m working towards.
(On working out with Coach Brown)
This is like being with Coach Williams again. He’s breaking everything down and just going over the fundamentals. That’s what I’m used to.
2007-08 Team: Rio Grande Valley (D-League)
(On working out with a bunch of Carolina guys)
I feel good about that. That’s nothing. I think when I was at Wake we dominated them the whole time. It was a great feeling for me.
(On his approach to the camp)
I just try to work out to the best of my ability and go as hard as I can.
(On what he has to do to get noticed)
I think the main key is to come in here and work hard and give effort because effort is the only thing you can control. Everything else you can’t control, so if you come in with effort and play to the best of your ability, you’ll get recognized.
(On what was expected the first day of camp)
A lot was expected as far as just knowing the game. I learned a lot from just this first day being here. I think for us it was a learning experience.
I think they should pick up Jackie Manual and Trent Strickland. They are both North Carolina natives. Jackie would bring a great defensive presence to the team, and I think he would fit in with the guys especially with Raymond and Sean.
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