Summer School: Kim English

After a brief break, Kim English settles in and gets back to the gym

Kim English
After Summer League in Orlando, Kim English met with Arnie Kander.
Fernando Medina (NBAE/Getty)
I literally did not take one day off from basketball for almost a full year, from USA Basketball last summer until after our Orlando Summer League ended this year. Then I took about four days off. You know how I spent it? My dad and I went to Las Vegas and watched the Las Vegas Summer League. My dad already had his plane ticket because he bought it before the draft – you figure you’re going to be in Las Vegas for Summer League, but then I found out the Pistons were going to play in Orlando.

But it was fun. I spent all day at the gym watching games. I watched some games with Doug Ash, our personnel director who was out there scouting. I needed the break. I worked out the day of the draft, then came to Auburn Hills the next day and got in a workout on my own. After Orlando, I flew home to Baltimore for a day, then went to Vegas, then went back to Columbia and got up a lot of shots at Missouri.

I watched all of our Summer League games at least twice on DVR and I transferred them to my laptop. I also watched about 10 Pistons games from last year – I had already watched them, but I watched them again and knew what I was watching now. I know what we’re trying to do defensively and what we’re trying to get offensively.

Over the past week, I got to meet Arnie Kander, our strength and conditioning coach, and started to work with him. He’s great. I love him. We clicked. The first time we talked, I was just listening, my eyes wide open. He’s so smart, so sharp. You really get a feel that he knows what he’s talking about.

He’d watched me on tape and he said he knows the five things I’m great at and the two things I need to work on. He was right on point. Just from watching me play, he knew what I would struggle with in the weight room and he knew what I would excel at. He knows I have a strong core, but I’m not that flexible. He’s really good at being able to decipher people’s strengths and weaknesses.

We are going to work on getting lower and still keeping my core stability. I’m really good with balance, but it’s when I’m upright. In this league, everything is magnified. You have to be low. You have to understand your points, where you can be effective. Arnie talked about Aikido and how you need to use your opponent’s power and strength against him. We’re going to get along really well.

I usually don’t lift weights in the off-season. I’ve started here again, but usually I just do pushups, situps, calf raises, dips. In my mind, Joe Dumars didn’t lift weights growing up in Louisiana. Larry Bird wasn’t a weight lifter. The game hasn’t been reinvented. Pushups, situps, calf raises, dips, I get my running in – it just clears my mind. This is pure. That’s what I like to do in the off-season. But Arnie has given me a real simple, basic routine that I’m going to do. If he says it, I’m sure it will be something that’s going to help me get better as a basketball player.

I found a place to live last week, a condo, and I went furniture shopping with Dre – Andre Drummond – and we got all of our furniture, too. I’m going to hit a Tigers game this week and I’m looking forward to rooting for the other teams, the Lions and the Tigers. I’ve never really been a hockey fan, but I know the Red Wings are good. It’s Hockeytown, right?

I grew up a diehard fan of the Ravens and Orioles, but I’m going to root for the Lions and the Tigers now … as long as they aren’t playing the Ravens and the Orioles. When I was at Missouri, I rooted for the Cardinals, Royals, Rams and Chiefs, although there wasn’t much rooting to do for the Rams and Chiefs.

I’m going to be right here for the rest of the summer. I’ll be in the gym every single day. I’ll eat breakfast, come here, work out, maybe go play golf, come back here most nights and get some gun work – shoot on the guns. The assistant coaches say they take weekends off – that’s fine, although I’m sure I can coax coach Hetzel into coming up here on weekends. It’s only for a couple of hours. There are 22 hours left in the day, right? I think I’ll get him to come out here.

I’m not worried about getting burned out before training camp starts. You have 24 hours in a day. What’s a lot of time in the gym? Four hours? I don’t think that’s that much. I’m not going to be here 15 hours a day. Two hours in the morning, another few at night. That’s fine.

I love it. It’s the best job in the world. It’s really exciting. I never get tired of learning and trying to become a better player and trying to become a better teammate.

People ask me if I’m still happy to be a Piston after I said that this is where I hoped I would go on draft night. Yeah, I’m thrilled. When I said that, I hadn’t even met Arnie. Now I have. I don’t know the other 29 strength guys in the NBA, but I’d be impressed to find one better than Arnie. I’ve looked at the rate of the minimal amount of injuries to these players. That’s a really good testament to him and to Mike Abdenour.

The togetherness I’ve seen from the front office and coaching staff is really good, too. It doesn’t seem like there’s a separation. It sure seems like everyone is on the same page. We’re here working every day and this is home. I would hate to be the only guy in here every day. I’m loving it. Me and Dre drive to the gym together every morning. Stuck comes right in, Corey Maggette has been here every day, Charlie’s been here – it’s great. I’m just excited for everyone to get here and start working.