2009-10 Post Season Quotes

Before starting their offseason, Bucks players and coaches met with the media at the training center in St. Francis to talk about the 2009-10 Season on Monday, May 3rd. Here's what they had to say...

On the season…
We had a good year and of course we want to follow it up with a better year. We have some avenues this summer to try to get better. It’s a sad day not only because you got beat, you lost and you’re done, but because rarely does a team stay together. There’s always changes in the summer and often times this is the last time a group is together. It’s been a very good group to work with. There’s plenty of time to think about next year, but I’m still disappointed we lost. I’m going to be haunted a little bit by the last two games, why we didn’t play better than we did. We may not have won and I’m not saying that we should have, but we certainly could’ve played better.

On if he’s disappointed in losing Game 6 at home…
Yeah, and yesterday (Sunday) as well. I know the odds. They lost eight total games there and it’s a difficult place to win for everybody in the league, obviously. We played so well for so long and then to have the last couple games – not play as well as I know we could’ve. I feel disappointment.

On missing Andrew Bogut…
There’s so much pressure on all your perimeter players and on every shot that’s taken. And if you miss a couple, the next guy feels the heat. When you’re trying to execute without being able to throw it to somebody in the painted area and have somebody be productive, it’s very difficult. In certain moments of the series when they were having difficulty they’d throw it down there to Al (Horford) and they’d throw it in there to Josh (Smith) and it’s not like they scored it on us every time, but it’s a strategic place to have the ball on the court. We knew that it was going to be something we’d miss in the playoffs and we were hoping we’d be able to overcome it.

On the Bucks exceeding expectations…
We knew early on that we were going to be better than people thought. We weren’t sure how much better. Just based on the work that the guys were doing near the end of last summer and coming into camp and the attention to detail and the teamwork we could see developing, the guys were going to care about each other and be unselfish, that seemed pretty clear. Then as the season (went on) Bogues (Andrew Bogut) improved and watching Brandon (Jennings) go through it for the first time. The pickups of Jerry (Stackhouse) and John (Salmons) were, I don’t even know what to say about them, they were huge. Especially John. It all kind of fell into place. The main thing is we didn’t have the typical NBA issues that crop up on teams. The agendas and things that go on a lot that are just human nature types of things. It was a really, really good group to coach.

On the Bucks…
This was 46 wins, most people would say that’s a good season, not a great season, a good team, not a great team. If your criteria for a team is guys that play hard, try to guard, play unselfishly, don’t have any agendas, try to bring it every day, pay attention and those types of things, then this was a great team.

On the offseason…
We’ve tried to put ourselves in a position where we have avenues to get better. That doesn’t mean that you’re always going to make the correct decision or get the exact guys that you want or anything like that. We’ve got a first round pick, we’ve got multiple seconds every year going forward. We’ve created some flexibility to be able to do things. Even this summer – more the following summer. We’re in position. Now we just have to take advantage of it. Length and athleticism are important. We need to shoot the ball better, we need to be a little more physical up front. There are several areas we can improve in. We probably aren’t going to get them all accomplished between now and the start of camp but that’s what we need to try to do.

On what surprised him this season…
I don’t know if I would use the word surprise. Last year we felt like in stretches we were becoming a pretty good defensive team, but then we would always go back. This year we were pretty good throughout. We were definitely pleased with that. We were a good rebounding team throughout. We were able to be consistent, even when Bogues went down, we didn’t just totally fall off defensively.

On what the coaching staff can do to improve…
I’ll go through the games and looking at the decisions we make. There’s no possible way you can be on the sidelines and make the correct decision every decision throughout the course of the game. There’s just no way. Some of it is analytic. I go into every game knowing who plays well against each opponent, who plays well each quarter all season long, who plays well on the road, I know all the matchups and you go in with a plan and then with foul trouble four minutes in, the plan is out the window and you’re on your feet. You try to manage the game the best you can. You look at it and the decisions we made and the things we did and try to be honest in the assessment and critique myself honestly and try to get better.

On what the season’s experience has taught Brandon Jennings…
Just how tough it is and I know that he did (learn that). This is often times the biggest summer for a young player, right after their rookie year. Because now they know. They know what it is, they know what they have to do. How strong you have to be, how physical the game is, how quick it is, the decisions that have to be made. Not that after this summer you don’t have to work, but after you’re in it for two or three years, the summers become more automatic. You know what you need to do and you go do it. You stay in shape and all those things. Now, this is the first time he’s been through it. There are a bunch of things he knows that he needs to get done and we have all the confidence in the world that he’s going to be really serious about getting those things done because that’s what he’s shown so far. I would imagine he’s going to come back a much-improved player.

On Andrew Bogut’s recovery…
Even when he gets the cast off, it’s not as if three days later he’s going to be shooting the ball. He’s got a lot of work he has to do with his hand before he can actually get to the point of working on his basketball game. He’ll be back and forth a little bit. Obviously, it’s a big summer for him as well. He’s shown a lot of improvement. He’s better in the low post, he’s always a good defender and things like that. He needs to get even better in the low post. He needs to make a face up shot to keep people honest. (He needs to) come back, be in great shape and be ready to go.

On teams not overlooking the Bucks next season…
I think there were a couple things we talked to the guys about today, more than a couple, but that was one of them. Now people are going to swing in the opposite direction (with expectations) and go too far the other way. The other thing is we’re in the business of going from 34 to 46 (wins) and now trying to go from 46 to 56 and 56 to 62. So we’re going to try to get better and every player that leaves here today and the guys that are coming back, they need to know that we’re going to try to have better players in this gym. There’s going to be more competition. Nobody can assume anything. That’s the nature of this business. Everybody’s trying to get better and everybody’s going after one thing. We’re no different, we’re going to try to get better.

On the Milwaukee fans…
It was great, that’s what was so disappointing about Game 6. You could tell it was palpable the disappointment in the locker room afterward. The players when we came back in and said we’re going to Atlanta tomorrow and we’re packing for Orlando. It’s not as if at that moment anything was decided, but you could feel that the guys were upset with our performance. We kind of wanted to repay the (fans) support right there. We just weren’t able to do it. It’s something that the guys that will be back need to learn from. When you have that opportunity, we created that opportunity by a heck of a four and half minute stretch in Atlanta in Game 5, we needed to take advantage of it and we just couldn’t.

On Carlos Delfino and Ersan Ilyasova…
Both guys had very good years. When we made the switch to put Luc (Richard Mbah a Moute) at the four and Carlos kind of settled into his role right there. If you go up and down the roster, it’s probably one of those teams where if you had taken one guy off, we may have had five or six wins less. It was that type of team. Everybody was critical to what we were doing.

On the team
“I think there’s a lot of potential and talent in the locker room. In five years, I think you’ll really see where that potential and talent is. With the personalities and the work ethic I’ve seen so far, they’ve got a good chance. This organization will be good for a long time.”

On whether or not it feels good to take Atlanta to seven games despite playing without Andrew Bogut
“Once you’re on the court in between the lines, you just accept what’s there. We had to try and adopt a whole new different style of playing without him. We could throw the ball in the post with Bogut and just play inside out and everybody gets opportunities, they get good shots and we weren’t able to find any of those quality looks really since he’d been out, other than just when teams weren’t good defensively. It is what it is, but hopefully he can come back healthy, but I think he is the key and the centerpiece to everything the Bucks do.”

On whether or not he’ll be back next year.
“I don’t know. I think there’s just some bigger fish in the frying pan that they have to deal with. I’ve had some good dialogue and some good conversation. A lot of the conversation and dialogue I have to have is with myself. That’s kind of where I’m at. Right now, I’m a little exhausted so it’s hard to really say what’s going on, but I think once you take some time off and you start to miss it and you’re rearing to go again. I’m quite sure I’ll feel that at some point but I don’t feel it right now.”

Think you have one more in you?
“Yeah I think I can definitely do it, but you’ve got to prepare to have one more. You can’t just come up and play one more, you can come back and be on the team, but to really come back and be a part of what’s happening and try to compete and that’s what I would like to do. It starts in the summer. It doesn’t start in October when everyone comes back for training camp, so I have to make up my mind and am I committed to putting my body through what it needs to go through in the summer to be able to come back and do what I’d like to do. I’m quite sure I will, but I’m not feeling it right now.”

On what he’ll take from this season
“A lot of stuff but really how this team came together, the last 25-30 games, just to see the resiliency of everybody and we kept fighting. Everyone was on the same page to make the playoffs and all in all that’s what we were able to do. We came together and we did it.”

On how he thought he did this season
“For me, I always give God the glory for it. I thank him just for the health and keeping me through this season and just the opportunity to be here. I’ve really enjoyed playing on this team with the guys on this team, it was one of the most fun seasons I’ve had because the chemistry was so good. You don’t find that on a lot of teams. For me, I’m excited about it. I’m excited to have the opportunity to maybe come back here too. It would be a lot of fun for me. I like this community, I like this city, I like the team. We’ll see what happens.”

On playing with Brandon
“Our whole goal was to win games. I wanted to help this team in any way, shape or form I could to win games and that was my whole focus the whole time. Everything else, I kind of put to the side. When I got my opportunity to play, I just wanted to make the most of it. We got to play together quite a bit, which was fun and productive for the most part for most of the year. Like I said, I enjoyed it. It was a lot of fun and I’m excited to see what’s going to happen this summer.”

On staying healthy
“I got on a good training program and I’m going to keep it from here on out. To get to play in every game this year was huge for me. It’s been since my second year (in the league) that I’ve been able to do that and I want to continue the rest of my career to be able to do that.”

On what he did differently
“I just got into a lot of stretching and core strengthening and stuff that really just kind of kept me healthy. Throughout the year you always get nicked up, banged up a little bit, but I played healthy pretty much the whole year.”

Big deal to be a starter?
“My whole thing is just winning games. I want to win games and make the playoffs from here on out. That’s what we were able to do here this year, which was so cool because coming into it, no one thought we were going to do what we did. So to be able to do that and be on a team that really came together and this was a team above anything else. We needed everyone to win and that’s what happened and it was a lot of fun.”

So are you valuing winning more than starting?
“Yeah. Just being in the opportunity to win games and obviously everybody wants to play, I want to play, but I’m not fixed on having to start or come off the bench. I just want to play and help the team win.”

Will Friday night’s Game 6 be the one that will haunt you in off-season?
“Yeah, just that golden opportunity. You don’t get too many of those to be able to play at home and close out a series. I’ve had it a couple of times in my career and you have to capitalize on that because it’s tough to win on the road in the playoffs. You have to give Atlanta credit. They defended us well in the last couple of games and made it real difficult for us. You don’t want to take anything away from them, but at the same time, we have to learn from what we didn’t do and try to make sure we get it done next year.”

Does this feel like a team on the rise and the environment is changing?
“Definitely. I think this team and this organization believes that they can win and we should. We have good players and you don’t want to look at what could have happened if we had Bogut, but it definitely would have helped our cause. I think this team is just going to get better and better and better.”

Where is Bogut at as an NBA player when he’s healthy?
“He’s if not the best, he’s definitely up there at the center position in the West and the East. The things he can do defensively and offensively put him right up there at the top.”

On the city rallying around the team
“It was really cool just to see how excited they got. I hadn’t heard the Bradley Center like that before. This was only my second year here but that’s what playing basketball is all about. To play for your city and the pride of your city is a pretty cool feeling to see them rallying behind you. Even when you go out to restaurants or whatever, last year they weren’t saying anything, this year, they were pretty excited. So just to see that and to see the fire in the city was really cool.”

On Fear the Deer
“Fear the Deer came on pretty strong and it seemed like the people really embraced it. It was fun to be able to play for a team and a city that really took that in.”

Do you see support like that on the road for the other team or is this a unique situation?
“I think every city is a little bit different. I’ve only been in Seattle and it was pretty crazy there as well but this city it seems like they’re really excited about what’s going on here with the Bucks, given the last however many years it’s been since the playoffs, they were excited about it and I think they’re just going to keep supporting this team. This team can only look up. There are a lot of good things coming for this team.”

On his family liking Milwaukee
“They’ve really enjoyed it. My wife loves it here, my son was born here so it was pretty cool for us. You always remember where your son was born, our first one especially, so this was a place you make home for the last couple of years for us. It’s been a good time.”

Personal timetable
“Really just relax. I’m a family guy and I’ll just hang with my family and my kid and we’ll go back home and really not do much. Take a vacation and just relax for a little while.”

On playing through an injury in Game 7
“Yeah I had a little injury but I’ve got the off-season to heal up. I’m just thankful I was still able to play and get a chance to be out there.”

On his first year back from Europe
“Yeah, I think it was a great year not just for me, but for the whole Bucks organization. I think we did a good job this year and played really well. Especially for our fans, they supported us the whole season long, especially in the playoffs. In the beginning (of my career) I was playing overseas and I saw real crowds and I was really close to those crowds and it was really exciting. Especially in the playoffs, to play in front of those fans, it’s a dream. I hope playing here next year, it will be the same.”

On what he learned playoffs
“It was my first year in the playoffs and I got a lot of experience. I like those games, they’re not like regular season games; they’re more serious and more exciting because you’re playing for something. The fans supported us all along in the playoffs and that made it exciting.”

Summer plans
“I’ll have a couple of months to just rest, get my body back and my strength and we’ll start training camp (for the World Championships) at the end of July. The World Championships will be in Istanbul in Turkey and people expect us to medal and it’s definitely going to be really tough for us. We host those games and we have to be prepared for those games and hopefully we have one month to prepare and then it will be in August. It’s real tough for us. Hedo (Turkoglu), I spoke with him yesterday and he’s ready to start practicing and preparing himself and like I said, it’s going to be tough for us.”

More on the summer
“I’m not going to be resting for the whole two months, maybe two weeks and then my goal this summer is to put on more weight and get stronger for next season as well. Sometimes when I play in the four, I feel light going up against some of the guys in the four position, so that’s why my goal this summer is to gain more weight and get stronger playing the four position comfortably next year. Two summers ago I was 245 and now I’m 227 and it’s my goal to be back to 245. And then I’ll get a lot of time to play in the summer league this summer with the National team and I think it will really improve my skills basketball wise for next year.”

On playing a full season in the NBA
“I think, especially because it was my first year with a full season and I think I did a really good job. It was a new team for me, a new coach and a new organization. It was the first time for the first couple of months and it took me a while to adjust to the team and the system of Scott Skiles but I really loved it, the winning culture and especially for me, because (Skiles) is more of a defensive coach, that’s how we play and (defense) is really expected. I think it was a good season.”

On this being a good year for him…
Yeah, it is. Last night after the game I was pretty sad, but I was thinking of 12 months ago, my situation. I can tell you that I’m pretty happy about how this season (went). I think we had a great year as a group.

This group is full of good people and good guys. I’m really happy about it. It was a good year personally.

On if it was a success to go seven games against Atlanta…
Of course. We took a full team to a seven-game series while missing key pieces… you have the pieces to build on. Everyone should be optimistic about our team, our future and for the team to grow.

On his performance in the playoffs…
I realize that I struggled with matchups and things a lot. I missed Bogues (Bogut) a lot. I may be the one who missed him the most because he was working for us on the corner on the weak side by his presence in the paint. With all those switches, they wouldn’t have that much space or that much time to shoot.

On the Milwaukee fans…
It was just great. I played overseas and I’m a fan of soccer. This was the closest thing I saw on an NBA court to what a soccer fan is. It’s something that was involving us in the game and pushing us. You guys should put something about that when you analyze the series, that we played much better at home than away. The fans were pushing us and really giving us that extra juice to do something more.

On the season…
I had a lot of fun. I think we surprised a lot of people here in Milwaukee and around the league. Overall, I think it was a good year.

On what he hopes the young players learn…
You just have to continue to work hard. Continue to work on your game and try to improve and get better ever year. Just realize you can’t take it for granted because you get this opportunity and you never know if you’ll get it again.

On what he expected…
I didn’t have any expectations. I just wanted to come in, meet the guys and just do what I’ve been doing the last 15 years. I was definitely surprised with how hard the guys worked when I got here in training camp and it carried on all year long.

On what this team needs to further develop…
We need that little point guard to continue to get better, definitely. He had an outstanding rookie year. Bogues was amazing. Continue to just add. Try to get guys back who were here with the team. We just have to try and get as many guys back because we want guys to play together as long as possible.

On Bogut…
He’s solid. His numbers, hands down this year, speak for themselves. The big fella commands a double team inside and makes the game a lot easier for everyone outside on the perimeter. He rebounds the ball, he blocks shots, he even takes charges. He does it all out there and he’s a great passer, too.

On playing against Bogut before coming to Milwaukee…
The last couple years playing against him you just saw how young of a player he was, but you knew he had a lot of talent. This year I think he just put it all together. Conditioning, you can say that was a factor, I think he was in great shape this year. His confidence—changing a coach every year is not good for players and when you have that consistency and you know the system and the routine that goes on with the team that’s always a positive.

About the playoff series…
I just loved playing with these guys. Even though we didn’t have that inside presence with Bogues, these guys brought it every night. The fact that we were able to force a Game 7, that speaks for itself. We had our opportunities. We won Game Five to come home and put it away but it just didn’t happen. You have to give Atlanta credit. They are a talented team with a lot of size and a lot of athletic ability. You have to give them credit, they beat us. If we get the opportunity next year, if things work out and we play them, I definitely think we could beat them.

On the increased minutes at the end of the year…
I was feeling good all year. My body’s feeling great. The big fella (Bogut) was just playing outstanding and his minutes continued to increase and I just had to sit back and wait for that opportunity. Unfortunately, the big fella had to go down before my minutes could go up, but injuries are a part of the game and when an opportunity comes you have to take advantage of it.

On whether the team had leaders…
Definitely. I would say myself, Jerry (Stackhouse) and Bogues (Andrew Bogut). I think all three of us were definitely leaders on the team. Jerry coming in late. You can’t forget about Michael Redd. He was big too while he was here before he got injured. There were definitely leaders on this team.

On the team chemistry…
It was amazing. Guys were playing great, playing well and just playing solid basketball leading up to the All-Star Break. Then to bring John (Salmons) in, it was just like that was the missing piece. The coaching staff, just keeping everyone together. No one getting upset with each other. Everybody having a good time on and off the court. I think that’s very important. 

On this season…
I think just proving everybody wrong and going to the playoffs. I think we overachieved probably what a lot of people thought we wouldn’t be able to achieve. It’s been a great year this year.

On what he learned night after night…
I thought it turned out very well. The main thing is just trying to get your rest a lot. Next season, take care of your body. I have to get stronger this summer and just get ready for next year.

On surpassing expectations and the season ending…
You’re always going to have that chip on your shoulder. The Bucks don’t really get a lot of respect as they should. Hopefully we caught some eyes this season but next year we just have to come in with the same intensity that first day of training camp. Our main goal is to get back to the playoffs and then try to get out of the first round and see what happens after that.

On Milwaukee…
It’s a real laid back town. People don’t really come up to you as much and bother you. That’s real cool. I’m enjoying it. I expect to be here a long time.

On what to take from Game 6 and 7…
Just the fact that we lost both games. Just that feeling of losing and realizing that the season is over with. Even though we fought them to seven games, you never want to be that team to always go home. That feeling of losing, you don’t want to have that happen next year.

On not having Andrew Bogut down the stretch…
Of course losing your best player, Andrew Bogut, a guy who could score. A guy who was up there for defensive player of the year and most improved, losing him was a big key for us. I think we did a great job. We did the best we could. We got it to seven games so you can’t really complain with that.

On feeling tired…
I think Game 6, losing Game 6 and then having to fly to Atlanta. Once they got their lead up to 19 and then 20, it was kind of just like man, this is going to be tough for us to come back, especially in their home town and playing in their arena.

On winning Game Five in Atlanta…
Just the fact that we were able to win a road game. That’s pretty impressive, especially in the playoffs. It’s not easy going into somebody’s house and winning the game. Then they came back in Game 6 and beat us and then in Game 7.

On his to-do list for the summer…
I think just getting stronger. The main thing is just getting stronger and coming back better. Everybody knows I can play now, the main thing is am I capable of getting better and better?

On adding more weight…
I like my quickness. I think my quickness is something you can’t really keep so I’d rather keep that than try to get bulked up. And working on my jumper. I’m going to have to start dunking next year again. I’m tired of getting my shots blocked all the time.

On working on his jumper…
Work on my mid-range a lot this summer and being consistent. My first time playing 82 games, or however many games you want to call it, 89, that’s kind of a lot for a person who didn’t play last year at all. So just trying to be consistent next year. 

On if he felt pressured in the season…
Felt pressure? Yeah, I have to say when Bogut went down, making that stretch to keep between the fifth and sixth seed in the playoffs. We kind of didn’t want to go down to seven or eight because we didn’t want to play Orlando or Cleveland in the first round. I think when Andrew went down, just trying to keep that fifth or sixth spot.

On starting all 89 games…
It’s a blessing, the fact that you’re able to play 89 games. A lot of players don’t get a chance to play a whole season without getting injured. Playing with a chip on my shoulder because I do talk a lot, so when you talk a lot, you’re going to have to end up backing it up. I think I did a great job of that this year so next year I’m just going to have to go and play basketball and do it again.

On what he learned about himself…
That I’m pretty tough. When the pressure is on, I’m always up for it and I’m always trying to take the last shot or like to have the ball in my hand or make the big free throws.

On his summer plans…
The month of May, just not even think about basketball or touch a basketball. Of course, watch the playoffs and the Finals, but just relax. It’s a long year, man. Like you said, I started all 89 games and played all 89 games, so my body is tired right now.

On what’s to come…
It’s just the beginning. Buckle up because it’s going to be a long ride.

On making Milwaukee a basketball town…
We have the potential to. We have Bogut, who’s going to come back. Myself, John Salmons and it just depends on how next season ends up and how hungry we are and if we come with the same chip on our shoulder as we did when we stepped on the court on the first day of training camp.

On whether it will be easier next year… 
This game has ups and downs. It’s 82 games so it’s never going to be smooth doing. It’s always going to be up and down. The main thing is just trying to stay in the middle. As long as we’re winning, that’s all I care about. Next year just win about 50 games and try to get out of the first round. That’s the goal next year. We’ll see what happens.

On the city rallying around the Bucks…
That was crazy. Game 3, Game 4 and Game 6 was a crazy atmosphere. Hopefully we can get a lot of those next year and keep ‘em coming.

On Fear the Deer…
I like it. I like the Fear the Deer. Our new intro was tight. Everything, I’m loving it.

On how tough it was for him to watch…
It was tough, obviously. Being in a situation like this is never easy. But we fought and we fought. Looking at ESPN analysts, preseason they picked us to finish last. So we did a good job of kind of nipping that in the bud. This playoff series, they gave us an eight percent chance of winning and I think we scared the daylights out of Atlanta in that series. Would I like to have beaten them? Obviously. It’s a frustrating time. I’m looking forward to getting home, visiting my family and stuff and just clearing my head a bit and starting rehab.

On going home to Australia…
I just want to see my family, more than anything, and my friends. And like I said, just clear my head. At this point, with my cast still on for another three or four weeks, there’s no point in doing anything. I just want to get home and be around people that I grew up with.

On the playoff run…
You never want to be satisfied with being eliminated in the playoffs, especially in a series where we were up 3-2 and had a chance to win at home and obviously didn’t play too well. Just speaking to some of the guys and coaches and the GM, I think we don’t want that to be a habit. We want to build on this year. We think we’re capable of maybe even getting a home-court advantage in the next couple of years. Whether it’s next year or the year after, we think we’re building toward that. Our next goal would be that, so hopefully we make the playoffs next year and keep building on it.

On his excitement to build off of this year…
I’m very excited. There are other areas of my game to be worked on it. Obviously (the injury) is going to hinder me a little bit as far as I want to work on my jumper—I’ve been saying that every year but I want to be consistent with that 15-foot jumper cause I think it’ll open up the game. I’m a little hindered with this cast on. I’m very excited to get back, to get home first and foremost, visit my family and clear my head and then get back into it as quickly as ever and get to that next step next year and hopefully become an All-Star.

On the team building around him…
It’s good to know, but I think it’s still a team game. Obviously, I’m one of the centerpieces and signed a pretty decent deal here. I do want to be in Milwaukee. I like the city, I like the fans and the people. I think as much as it’s about me being a leader it’s about getting the right pieces involved. Getting team-orientated guys that aren’t selfish and putting together a team on the floor that plays for each other and I think generally, this year, if you looked at our roster preseason no one picked us to do anything. The reason why we’ve had a successful season is because we had guys in the locker room that genuinely got along with each other. Our flights were pretty good. You didn’t have guys kind of in a box and not talking to other people and all that type of stuff that sometimes goes on with a team, which I’ve witnessed in the last couple of years before these last two. I think we’ve got good guys and we’ll keep signing good guys.

On his cast…
I’ll be back here later in the month, maybe around the 20th to cut this cast off, get looked over, and then I’ll head straight back to Australia and continue my rehab. I’ll be doing (rehab) in Australia. I’ve got some people lined up down there. Most importantly, mentally to get through it I’ve got people like family and friends there to get through it. It’s going to be a frustrating time obviously, especially the first three or four weeks after taking my cast off. They say it’s probably more frustrating to have the cast off.

On whether he enjoyed the playoffs…
It’s a tough question. I definitely enjoyed watching the guys have the success that they had. But did I enjoy it? I played in almost 75 games this year pretty much injury free, barring a freak thing. To have that taken away from me at the end of the season is pretty frustrating. That’s just the business of basketball and the business of athletics. The toll that our bodies take during the year, things like that happen. But yeah, I enjoyed the team success, but from a more personal standpoint it was a very frustrating time for me.

On his return date…
It’s going to depend on how the finger heals now. The elbow is pretty much healed, I’m just getting the swelling down. The wrist feels good already. It feels like it’s healed. The finger is the thing that worries the doctors because of the ligaments. There’s a slight percentage chance that it can re-break very easily. It’s a slight percentage, like five percent, but they say that there’s a chance of that happening so they are kind of worried about me trying to push myself the first couple of weeks. Whether that’s into June or early July, we don’t know. I’ll definitely be back in with a solid two months of basketball training before coming to Milwaukee.

On playing in the World Championships…
I’m still not sure about that. We’re probably going to make an announcement with that. I’ll sit down with my agent and the coach of that team in Australia and we’re probably going to do something later this week on my decision.

On whether he imagined Squad 6 becoming what it did…
No. It got better and better. Obviously there was a tough time there where we started losing games and they could have easily just jumped ship and they didn’t, which is why I really respected most of the guys in that group. A couple of fans in the arena might not have been happy with the noise, which is crazy. For the most part, they were awesome. Like I said, before the game I went out there to talk with the fans and they were the reason we had a home court advantage. It wasn’t just the way we played. They brought an atmosphere to the arena that we haven’t had in the last four or five years. It’s going to be a continued tradition. I’m doing it again next year and hopefully we can get a couple more guys on board and hopefully get 150 seats instead of 100.

On the fans in the playoffs… 
Our fans have been great. We sold that game (Game 6) out I think an hour or two within winning Game Five. It just goes to show that our fans are behind us. Even though we didn't win the first round series, we pushed them to the end. Fans were very appreciative because they knew that we had injury problems with myself and we had a team that wasn't supposed to do anything so they really enjoyed it. It was good to see.

On returning by training camp…
Yeah. Even if God forbid there was a setback, in four months with this type of injury it’s pretty routine to get ready. The good thing about it is it’s my hand as well, so if need be I can still be conditioning. I can still do the bike and a little bit of running and that type of stuff, so I’ll be 100 percent ready to go for training camp.

On what motivates him…
Just getting myself healthy and my hand. I don’t want this to be a thing that bothers me ever again, which it shouldn’t be. I want to make sure that I’m strong and ready to go before I start basketball activities then just work on my game. Try to get better. I think it’s fair to say I’ve gotten better every year since I’ve been in the NBA.

On having the same coach for two years…
Stability is a big thing in the NBA. When you have stability, I think it definitely helps. I’m a guy that relies on stability. Having a guy who you know is going to be here for years to come, same as the GM and the owner is on board for the same thing. That all combined into a blender gives you stability and helps a player like me. I was just talking to Kurt (Thomas) yesterday, the biggest thing for me that I wanted to work on this year was consistency and I think I did that. Barring maybe two or three games this year where I played terrible or was in foul trouble, a bad game for me this year was 12 and 10 and still have an effect defensively. Games where I’m not scoring well or not shooting well, I try to impact the game by blocking shots, taking charges, getting rebounds, moving the ball offensively and just trying to find different things and I think I did that this year.

On shot blocking…
Yeah, it was huge. I think all that’s related to losing weight. I played very, very heavy. I wasn’t overweight, but I played very strong and heavy my third year. I was at a low body fat percent but I just didn’t feel like I could move as well. But now, I’m back to what I was at out of college and it’s really helped my game. Just moving around on the floor I feel much better. My knees aren’t sore and my back is not sore anymore

On whether the team had a clear-cut leader…
Probably not a clear-cut leader. Obviously Jerry (Stackhouse) was one of our vocal leaders. I was a vocal guy in the locker room. Kurt (Thomas) is a veteran and you could go up and ask him anything, too. Each guy is different. I think a lot of guys on the team don’t really respond to guys that are rah-rah, in their face and yelling at them. We had a couple of blow-ups at halftime that needed to be said when we were playing bad, but other than that, most of the guys are pretty professional on this team which goes back to me saying that we had good guys in the locker room. They looked after themselves in the weight room and looked after themselves on the floor and got rest when they were on the road.

On whether his time with the Bucks has exceeded expectations…
Oh, definitely. It’s definitely been a great couple of months, being here. Everybody’s been great. Milwaukee as a city has been great. Fans have been great. My teammates have been great. It’s a great locker room. It’s good to be around the team and the coaches. It’s a really good coaching staff. When you get traded, you really never know what to expect. So you just go in and hope everything goes well. It’s a totally new situation and the grass is not always greener on the other side. Chicago wasn’t going well but I came in here and turned my whole season around. We made a great playoff run. We had an opportunity but just didn’t pull it out. It’s been a good time.

On the team chemistry…
Like I said, it’s a great locker room. It’s good to have teammates who you want to be around. There was never a time this season where I felt tension between teammates or anything like that. It felt like everybody was always on the same page and everybody got along on and off the court.

On what this team needs to go farther in the playoffs…
I think we need everybody to improve. Brandon (Jennings) has a year under his belt. Bogues is coming into his own. I think if we improve individually it will make the team better.

On the team…
The team has a lot of room to improve. We made a run in the playoffs without Bogues and made it to a Game 7. We made it to a Game 6 in our building with the opportunity to win the series. To have (Bogut) back next year, we can become a real threat to teams in the East. We’ll see what happens.

On setting 50 wins as a goal for next year…
Yeah, definitely. 50 wins, I feel like that shouldn’t even be a question for us. That should be something we know we are capable of doing. You never know what happens with injuries and all that stuff, but that should be a realistic goal that we should reach for.

On how important it was to get to the playoffs and for the team to develop this year…
Very important. The biggest thing we have to worry about is taking a step back now. We have a good thing going right now. I’m sure management is going to do whatever they can to make us even better. We have to get better, each player has to get better. That’s the way we’re going to take this season and make it an even better season next year.

On his summer plans…
I’m going home at the end of May. Then I’m going to the World Cup at the end of June. I’m very excited about that. I’ll be over there with the Cameroon National Team just having a good time.

On his summer camp…
I have a camp that I’m doing. I’m very excited about that. I think Africa, Cameroon especially, more than anything need a lot of basketball camps to develop the sport and help all the young fellas behind us.

On improving this summer…
As far as my game, I have to get better. Work on my game, especially on the offensive end, and try to continue to work on my shot, develop a post-up game and continue to develop my game. Defensively, I have to watch some tapes and try to see where I can improve and be the best defender I can possibly be.

On learning from the playoffs…
I learned a lot, especially the way this series went. After losing two games, you can learn from that. It’s never over. Just playing hard, the team that comes out with a lot of energy has been the team that won a lot. You have to come out with a lot of energy and bring it every night. It’s never going to be as easy as you think and it’s never going to be as hard as you think.

On taking on the top offensive players…
Just continue to embrace it. One of my goals is to hopefully be the Defensive Player of the Year one day in my career and in order to do that you have to take on the best. That’s what you have to do. I have to continue to work on my game. Like I said, try to watch as much tape so you know those guys and see what they’re doing because guys develop and guys get better during the summer. Kevin Durant is not going to be the same player next year, so I have to try and be a better defender as well. That’s the only way you improve. Hopefully that helps me and it helps the team and we become a better team.

On the city rallying around them…
That was great. Man, just the atmosphere. Game 7, we went to Atlanta, but it wasn’t as loud as it was Game 6 here. That’s got to be the top. I’ve never seen anything or played in a game that loud. We love those fans. The way they embraced us and supported us all season. We’re going to need the same support again next year and even better. That’s going to help us a lot.

On improving offensively…
It’s always been a big thing. Just having a more consistent jump shot for me. It takes time and I’m going to put the work in and continue to work at it. I have to be better at it. Next year, I will be better at it. That’s for sure. I’ll put the work into it this summer. Just my all-around game. Driving, ball handling—I have to get that better—and I have to get some of my athleticism back to be able to finish down there with those big guys. If I’m able to do that I should be fine next year.

On having Andrew Bogut back next year…
It’s big. You saw how he played this year. That guy is the most improved player in the league. He was right there—second in blocked shots in the league, one of the best defenders. Andrew’s big for this team. We’re going to need him next year. We’re going to need him to be better. Hopefully, he takes care of his hand this summer.