Summer School: DaJuan

Summers ready for Las Vegas, focused on being more physical

DaJuan Summers, who has been working on his quickness this summer, is ready to head back to Las Vegas for Summer League.
Noah Graham/NBAE/Getty Images
I came back to Auburn Hills last week, after the draft, in time to see Greg Monroe and Terrico White, our two draft picks, at their press conference on Saturday at our practice facility. I shared some thoughts on what adding Greg to our team might mean the other day and you can check that out here. It’s going to be fun to have Greg with us. He was my roommate at Georgetown for our road trips my last season in college, his freshman year.

Since I left to go back to Baltimore in early June, I’ve been doing more one-on-one drills with my trainer, Kyle Jacoby, back home. A bunch of people are telling me I look bigger in the upper body, but that’s so crazy because I haven’t been lifting at all. I keep telling everybody that I don’t want to keep lifting because I don’t want to get bigger – I want to be leaner, faster and quicker, but that’s just the way my body is, I guess.

It’s changing. It’s just weird. I remember being slim in high school. My freshman year in high school I was so skinny. Kyle does my weight training and my skill work and we stay in the gym every day and every night. What people see now, they think it’s natural, but I’ve been in the gym with Kyle since high school and I just got bigger and I guess I sustained it over the years. I don’t have to do much – it’s just fine tuning.

I do a lot of pushups and situps. My weight is around 245 or 250, but I’m actually moving faster. We do time trials, Kyle and I, and we get after it. We do agility work, skill work, get up a number of shots and we really get after it. I know I’m moving faster because we do timed dashes, the same stuff they do at the draft combine.

When I’m not in the gym, I’m watching movies. Everybody who knows me knows I’m a huge movie buff. I watch movies all day and chill with my son, DaJuan Jr. Those are my hobbies. The new Will Smith movie with his son, “Karate Kid” – phenomenal movie. I’m starting to get into horror movies again. I used to watch them when I was young, but they started to scare me. I watched “Jennifer’s Body” yesterday – that wasn’t very good – and “Drag Me to Hell” the day before that. There’s always a new movie every day – something to do.

We go to Las Vegas for Summer League next week and I wanted to come back here and get some workouts in before then. The intensity is higher now. I knew Stuckey and Jonas were going to be here, so I wanted to get in and work with them.

I’m going to concentrate on rebounding in Summer League, using my body more. People talk about my body and my size, it’s one of my attributes. It has been over the years, but I don’t think I’ve done a great job of utilizing it as much as I should. So that’s my main focus – living around the basket. If I have to go out and shoot and do other things, that’s still my passion – I love to shoot. But I think I can change the game more effectively by banging down around the basket.

I think I proved in Summer League last year that I can put the ball on the floor, shoot, get to the rim, make plays. I want to build off of that. The most important thing, I’m assuming our starting five will be the five guys who will be here next year – the three of us from last year and our two draft choices – so it’s getting us ready to come into training camp.

We haven’t sat around and talked about that because we haven’t all been in the same place, but I know everybody was disappointed about the way last season went, myself included. So I’m definitely trying to do whatever I can to be in the rotation and help the team win.

One thing I’m really working on this summer in skills work is ballhandling. We’ve got cones set up at the practice facility, we dribble through the cones and throw passes at X’s on the wall – it’s a drill for accuracy and better ballhandling. Just slowing yourself down with the ball is the key. People think you need to go faster, but you really just need to slow yourself down.

I’ve never felt uncomfortable in that area, but I definitely feel more comfortable and have a better understanding of picking and choosing my spots – knowing when to drive, knowing if I have a smaller guy on me to just back it down, just understanding mentally how to better use my body.

I might take a trip for a week or so after Summer League, but mostly I’ll be right back here working out. I don’t want to repeat last year by any means, so whatever I need to do to show that, I’m here every day. Talk to you again in a few weeks and check us out in Summer League.