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Demps Entertains NOLA Finance Industry Reps at Event No. 62
By: Jim Eichenhofer, Hornets.com, @Jim_Eichenhofer
August 9, 2011

With many dressed in their workday suit-and-tie attire, members of the citys financial industry looked a bit concerned Thursday evening, when speaker Dell Demps mentioned their potential punishment for not responding with enough enthusiasm to Demps initial greeting.

You know, when I go to basketball camps and the kids dont speak up, a grinning Demps warned to the audience of about 100 Hornets fans, I tell them Alright, everyone get on this line. Youre all going to run laps!

Mercifully, the finance folks were spared from having to work up a sweat by sprinting around the New Orleans Arena hardwood. Instead, they were treated to a progressive dinner in the Hive and speeches by the Hornets general manager, as well as head coach Monty Williams.

Demps talk with the group kicked off the evening, which served as event No. 62 of the Hornets 100 Events in 100 Days initiative. Roughly 13 months into his job as New Orleans general manager, Demps name has primarily been out of the sports pages recently during a quiet portion of the offseason, but he provided fans with an update on his summer.

Demps: People say to me, What does a general manager do (at this stage of the summer)? Well, I was in Europe about two weeks ago scouting, in Latvia for an under-19 tournament. It was a great environment, because they had all of the top under-19 players there, all in one city. The USA team came in fifth place, so that tells you what the talent level was like. The game has gone global. Im also going back to Europe in about three weeks to scout. Those are the kinds of things weve been doing lately, staying busy.

The former Golden State, San Antonio and Orlando player joked extensively about his relatively brief NBA playing career. After a glowing introduction about Demps accomplishments as a player overseas by Hornets TV play-by-play broadcaster Bob Licht, Demps smiled and said, Well, one of the reasons I played in Europe was because I got cut a bunch of times by NBA teams. Believe me, when I was a kid growing up in Oakland, California, I wasnt thinking, Man, I wish I could go play for Barcelona!

While discussing his first year as Hornets GM, Demps provided some insight into how he scouts players.

The first thing I think about is that this job is my livelihood, he said. This is how I provide income I have a wife and three kids. So I say, Can this (player) feed my kids? Is this somebody I can count on? Is he going to come out every day and give everything he has?

Because at the end of the day, if we lose a game, Ill feel better knowing that he gave everything he had. A player has to be someone I can trust. The next thing I look at is Do I want to play with him or would I rather play against him?

I want someone who is going to come out and compete. I dont want a player who is going to hurt us or make us lose games. Is he a good guy? When we put a team together, were thinking about you, the fans and the city. We want to put a team together that you can be proud of. We want to bring in good people. Im very particular about the kinds of people we bring into our locker room.

Later in the evening, Williams joined Demps in some self-deprecating humor about his own nine-year NBA career. Williams noted that although San Antonio is thought of around the league as a model franchise that wins year after year, when Williams was with the Spurs in 1996-97, they went a horrific 20-62.

But then they got rid of me, said a smiling Williams. And then they started winning championships.

Throughout 100 Events in 100 Days, Hornets team executives are hosting events for season ticket holders and fans who may be interested in purchasing tickets for next season and beyond. The Hornets primary objective is to reach 10,000 season tickets sold for 2011-12. They were at roughly 8,700 season tickets entering this weekend.

With the NFL preseason about to commence and the Hornets across-the-street neighbors, the Saints, debuting Aug. 12 vs. the San Francisco 49ers, Hornets senior vice president of ticket sales and services Bill Bailey used a football analogy to describe the current status of season tickets.

Were in the red zone right now, Bailey said. Now we just need to punch it in for six points.

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