Nets fans – how's it going? I’ve mostly been in Chicago, working out with Tim Grover at Attack Athletics, though I had my camp in Milwaukee, and spent a little bit of time in Dallas. I started working out two weeks after the season ended, but I’m not tired of the gym. I’m looking forward for the season to get started.
I’ve been putting on more weight and not trying to repeat the season we had last year, both personally and as a team. I’ve worked a lot on my body; last season, I had a lot of injuries, so I’ve just been getting stronger to prevent some of the injuries. I don’t think I had to give up any speed. Even though I’m a little heavier – about 15-20 pounds – I’m still quick as I need to be. The difference is I can take more of a pounding.
Gilbert Arenas, Luther Head and Will Bynum have been in town working out. Gilbert always looks fantastic. He’s probably one of the more talented guys I’ve ever seen, with the way he can shoot the ball. You’ve definitely got to watch out for those shooting contests. I win, but not many.
Four months later, I look at the team that we had last year, and some of the games we were losing, it was just mental. We were in a lot of games – though we got our butts kicked our fair share, too – but we just made mental mistakes down the stretch. That’ll change with a new season. Coming back, we’ve got a lot of new guys. You look at last year and move forward.
We’re young, but we’ve definitely got some young talent and guys who are experienced. We’re pretty evenly keeled at each position. We’ve got some new bigs in Troy Murphy and Derrick Favors that can rebound. I know Troy can score and space the floor. Favors has range to about 18-20 feet. I think that’ll help Brook Lopez tremendously, having a guy who can space the floor and give him a little more room to work. Our wings are athletic and they can shoot – that’ll help space the floor for me, allow me to penetrate along with guys like T-Will. And I’ve got a valued backup in Jordan Farmar, who’s got championship experience.
I think this training camp is going to be important as far as getting used to the system that Avery’s putting in place, getting used to the coaches, and getting everybody together. This is a team where we’ve got 11 guys that are new. It’s very important for guys to get used to each other quickly. As a leader, it is my job to make that a smooth transition. As training camp goes along, I think we’ve got a few meet-and-greets lined up to smooth out the transition period and get guys on the same page.
My expectation is that we want to get to the playoffs. I think we have that caliber of team. Personally, one goal is to get healthy and another is to get back to the All-Star caliber of player I played as two years ago.
I heard the Helium blog wrote the best NBA player from the University of Wisconsin was a toss-up between Michael Finley and myself. Mike’s got more body of work. He was one of the players I came in with; we were on the same team. I’d have to give it to him: He’s older, he’s wiser, he has a championship ring. I’ll take a close second.
Phoning it In
I got the iPhone 4 the first day it came out. Yeah, it dropped all my calls. But I still love the phone. Usually when you get the first one that comes out, there’s tweaks and glitches that other people don’t have if they wait ’til later on. But Apple figures it out within a month or two, and I’ve still loved it since the first day it came out.
I had the iPad the first day it came out, too. I do a lot of my book reading on that. I hate to carry a lot of stuff on the plane, so to have something like that, I can have movies, books and travel lightly. What am I reading recently? I believe I have something by James Patterson I haven’t started yet. I just picked it up after finishing the last one. Fiction or non-fiction, I’ll read a little bit of both. Depends on what mood I’m in, what I’m trying to do.
A couple weeks ago, I was at Summerfest here in Milwaukee. You’ve got to do that every year. It’s one of the few things we have to do here! Ha. I’m just kidding. But it’s definitely something to look forward to every summer. There were a lot of great acts, but I just like the festival in itself. It gives me a couple days to get back to being home, with a lot of familiar stuff going on, a lot of good people. There’s a lot of fireworks, a lot of concerts, food. Everything that ties to Milwaukee goes on in that festival. I try to just blend in the best I can. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t.
Back to School
I will be starting school again in about two weeks, when school starts at the University of Wisconsin – Madison. I’m finishing up the degree. 28 credits to go. I’m close. I’m taking an upper-credit English literature and an upper-credit sociology course. I can’t remember the name of it. I’m going for a major in sociology, with a minor in communications. The English class is just part of the curriculum, the plan they laid out for me.
In case you didn’t see, my dear, dear friend Derrick Harriell just recently was published. It’s a book of poetry called Cotton, about African-American history. It comes out next week on Willow Books. He’s a very established young man – just 29 and finishing up his doctorate. And to be published at a young age like that … I just wanted to share that with everyone.
(One of) 34 Ways to Assist My foundation had its annual camp in Milwaukee on the 9th through the 13th. We had a record numbers of kids this year, about 415. It’s doing well. We had this program we were doing at Madison, “A Day in the Life of a Student Athlete.” Wanted to use a little bit of the camp to show them what it takes. Gave them three different road trips, one on the student life, the academic part of it, including the student centers, things they get used to as a student athlete. Then, a tour of the training facilities that we use. We used Camp Randall Stadium, the weight room, all the things that the players get to do, so that was cool.
I’m actually back up there in a few weeks to catch the first football game, like I annually do. We should be good this year. We’re No. 12 to start (in both polls!), and I think we’ll move our way up. Beyond that, it’s school and workouts until the season starts.
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