What The C’s Are Doing This Summer
Al Jefferson, Kendrick Perkins and Tony Allen are already back in Boston and hitting the gym, working out for the 2005-06 NBA season. Recently, the Celtics young players took some time to speak with Celtics Beat about their impressions of this past season, their summer workout plans, and what fans can look forward to next season - and you can only read it here!
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After completing his rookie season, Big Al needed some time off. "I basically took a week and a half and relaxed," Jefferson said. "I didn't touch a basketball - I didn't even watch basketball!"
It's only natural that after the grueling schedule that Jefferson faced this season he would need some time to clear his head. So after the season ended on May 8th, Big Al hopped on a plane and headed back to his hometown in Mississippi for a little R&R. However, what he found out was that it isn't quite that easy for a big guy to just blend in to the serene surroundings.
"A lot of people kept coming up to me and asking me what went wrong and why we lost," he said. "I couldn't go to the places I used to go to when I was back in school, like the park to play ball, because a lot more people know who I am now. So I did a lot of fishing... I used to just fish once in a while but now I do it a lot."
While at home, Jefferson also had a chance to visit with friends and family. He went back to his former high school to attend the graduation of some family members, and will return again sometime in August when they retire his high school jersey number. He admits that returning home has changed a little - after all, once you've been named to the Rookie All-Star and the NBA All-Rookie Second Team, you are bound to get recognized every once in awhile.
Celtics fans should be rest assured that Jefferson is back in Boston and at the gym, working out twice a day with teammate Kendrick Perkins. "In the morning we come in and lift weights, and then we come back later and work on our shots, post moves and other on-court stuff," he explains.
Jefferson and Perkins also spent some quality time with Head Coach Doc Rivers when they joined him at an Eastern Conference Finals game between the Miami Heat and the Detroit Pistons down in Miami. For Jefferson, it was his first time at an NBA game that he wasn't playing in, and sitting in the stands provided an unique experience. While the fans in Miami and their passion for the game impressed Jefferson, he is quick to admit that they didn't even come close to the atmosphere of the FleetCenter, especially during the playoffs. "They seemed more interested in yelling at the celebrities like Randy Moss," Jefferson said with a laugh. "And there were a lot of Pistons fans there, which seemed strange."
Big Al also enjoyed the opportunity to hang out with his coach off the court. "This was the first time I was able to hang out with Doc, and he's a different person," Jefferson admitted. "He really likes to chill out and have a good time. And sitting next to him at the game really proved to me what an amazing coach he is - he pointed out a ton of stuff to us, but most impressive was that he knew each and every play before they ran it. That just showed me how good of a coach he really is."
Jefferson plans to continue to work on his overall game during the off-season, admitting that there is room for improvement in every category. While he admits that he was pleased with his rookie season, he knows that next year will provide new challenges and obstacles that he must be ready for.
"One of the things I learned this season is that all of the opponents are all so much better," he explained. "In high school, there were some teams that you knew might be weaker in certain areas, and there were teams you knew you could beat. But in the NBA, everyone is a pro. We are all here for a reason - and you can't ever take your opponent for granted."
Much like teammate Al Jefferson, Kendrick Perkins needed some time away from basketball, too. Perk joined several of his teammates, including Big Al, Tony Allen and Delonte West on a trip to Vegas courtesy of Antoine Walker. The guys took in the Felix Trinidad - Ronald 'Winky' Wright boxing match, hung out and generally relaxed after a rigorous season that ended sooner than they all had hoped.
Since then, Perk has been back in Boston, "layin' low" and working on his game. "I've been working out and concentrating on everything," he said. "I want to improve every aspect of my game, but I am focusing most on adding inches on my vert, I want to lose 10 pounds and work on my jump shot." He works out with teammate Al Jefferson twice a day, and lately has been hitting the gym with Big Al, Tony Allen and Delonte West.
Perk did take a break from working out to fly down to Miami to hang out with Head Coach Doc Rivers and Big Al to take in the Miami Heat - Detroit Pistons Eastern Conference Finals game. "Probably the thing I took the most away from that was how much of a different person Doc is out of season," Perk explained. "In season, he's Doc, but during the off-season my name for him is 'The D-O-C.' He's totally different - just a cool homeboy that has a good time. But he really showed us some great aspects of the game, and I just enjoyed spending time with him. But during the game I was getting really mad because I knew that it should have been us out there playing against the Heat, and it started motivating me for next season."
He also enjoyed visiting another arena, and experiencing the Eastern Conference Finals down in Miami, which made him appreciate just how passionate and knowledgeable Celtics fans are. "The atmosphere was live, but the fans were nothing compared to our fans," Perk said. "Boston fans are the best - they just know so much about the sport, and their passion can't be matched. I can't wait to get out there next season and show them how much we have improved... we are really going to step it up in '05-'06!"
Once the season ended, Tony Allen was able to spend some much needed time with his family. "I recently bought a house for my mom," he explained. "So I've been spending some time helping her get settled, buying furniture and taking care of stuff like that. It's really important to me that I take care of her and that I do everything I possibly can for her."
Tony also spent some time in his hometown of Chicago getting his younger sister ready to head off to college in the fall, and visiting with other relatives that he didn't have time to see during the season. And while he wishes he had more of a chance to catch up with family and friends, he knows that he needs to hit the gym and come back to Boston to work out with the coaches and trainers. "I took 2 1/2 weeks off where I didn't focus at all on basketball," Allen admitted. "I didn't watch the playoffs on TV, I didn't even think about it - it was too painful. But now I'm back in town and working out and getting in shape."
It's been a month, and I am still a little upset," Celtics rookie Delonte West admitted. "It's been hard, especially watching the Detroit-Miami series. I just feel like we matched up so much better with the Pistons, and could have beaten them in a seven game series if we would have had the opportunity."
After taking five days off and not touching a basketball, West returned to a rigorous workout routine. Whether he has been in DC working out with his high school coach, in Philly working out at St. Joseph's, or in Boston working out with the Celtics trainers and coaches, chances are you can find West in a gym either in the weight room or on the court. A self-proclaimed gym rat, he has been hard at work on his mid-range game, and would like to add size, muscle and strength to his body.
"I definitely have a plan for the summer that I am going to stick to," he said. "The hardest part is getting into the gym, but once I am there, I am ready to go. I have to discipline myself and get to work early... but that is part of being a professional and I am ready to do it."
As West pointed out, everyone on the team is hard at work preparing for the 2005-06 season, whether they are working out in Boston or in their hometown - something he feels is good news for the franchise and should be welcome news to Celtics fans everywhere.