Musselman Making Progress
Nearly a week into training camp, D-Fenders head coach Eric Musselman joined us to offer a look inside the team's progress, highlighting what he's implementing offensively and defensively, which players have stood out and who's banged up:
On the first four days of training camp:
Musselman: Camp has gone great. We've squeezed in as many practices as humanly possible in a short time frame. The guys have had great focus, great energy and good enthusiasm. It's been a physical training camp, so we are a little banged up*. We had to pull back to two a days just because we want to continue to work on our execution.
*Robert Diggs, a 6-9 forward out of George Washington, broke his thumb and was waived. The D-Fenders do retain his rights.
On narrowing the roster down from 16 current players to 10 active players by next Wednesday's deadline:
Musselman: We're at the point where we have a good feel from an evaluation standpoint of the roster and who fits and who doesn't. There are still a few decisions to make, but we're within a week of playing, so we're to the point where we have to start worrying about execution, players understanding their roles and where shots are coming from.
On how much of his playbook he can install in such a short period of time with all new players:
Musselman: You always have to get a read for your team IQ, because some guys will pick things up quicker than others. The rookies are usually the last guys to pick up what we're trying to put in, while the guys who were well coached in college tend to get things sooner. There's a huge gap on how quickly guys pick things up. But the whole key of any coach in any sport is to get your whole team to execute, not just half of them.
On what kind of identity this team will have:
Musselman: Any team has to be about its personnel, and right now, we're a big, physical team that should rebound the ball well. Our job is to try and figure out where we have mismatches offensively and defensively, and that's really what we've been working on the last couple of days. The big thing is trying to utilize our length in defensive packages. We've experimented at a lot of different things.
On what he's seen from the No. 1 overall pick Jamaal Tinsley:
Musselman: Tinsley is a great leader. It's been unbelievable how he's embraced this experience. His leadership ability, his basketball IQ, his ability to relate and help the younger players has been phenomenal and his court vision is second to none.
On who else has stood out to him:
Musselman: Zach Andrews has been outstanding. He's a great athlete who plays with unbelievable energy, and he's been relentless on the backboards. Courtney Fortson has had a great camp as our backup point guard behind Jamaal, and then Brandon Costner has had a good camp, in addition to Jordan Brady and Brian Hamilton, both of whom have been solid.