Summer School: KCP

Pistons No. 1 pick getting settled in Detroit, preparing for first training camp

Kentavious Caldwell-Pope
Kentavious Caldwell-Pope
Fernando Medina/NBAE/Getty Images
Since Summer League ended in Orlando, I’ve been hanging around my family and spending a lot of time in the gym and relaxing. I was going back and forth from Greenville, where I grew up, to Athens, where I work out. That’s on the University of Georgia campus, about two hours from Greenville. So when I go to train, I would stop at my dad’s house in Atlanta, about halfway, and stay there for a little bit and then go home to Greenville.

My focus this summer is to improve my shooting, work on my ballhandling and getting in shape. That’s what I’ve been working on. My shot is improving. It’s just getting the reps and staying consistent. I took a couple of days off before I came up here, but now that I’m here I’ll be here until training camp starts.

I found a place, an apartment, when I came up here about a month ago to sign my contract. My mom and my business manager are going to help me get it furnished and really get settled in. I’m learning my way around, but for now all I really need to do is know how to get to The Palace and the practice facility and I’m good.

Was I happy with Summer League? Not really. I wasn’t really happy with the first two games, but that really just helped me focus on what I had to do. I talked to Joe Dumars and to Dre, Andre Drummond, and they were telling me what I was doing well even when my shooting wasn’t where I wanted it to be. I just wanted to stay focused on doing the little things and I felt I was able to do that. I was able to get my hands on a lot of loose balls and play pretty good defense. Besides my 3-point shooting, I thought I did pretty well.

Tony Mitchell and I both went to the Tim Grgurich camp in Las Vegas. Then I went to the Rookie Transition Program in New York. I was there with my teammates, Tony and Peyton Siva. That was a great experience. I learned a lot, especially about managing my finances. We listened to some veterans who’d been in the league, how they managed it, how they stayed focused. We really picked their brains and learned a lot.

Just being there really helped to understand about all of those issues off the court before we start focusing on basketball now. We had three speakers and they really shocked everybody. The things they’ve been through, it really shocked everybody. We know that right now we’re in a better world, so we have to take advantage of it and cherish it. I had heard Chris Herren’s story before – he came to Georgia my freshman year – but I heard it again and it still gets to me. It really left an impression.

We’ll be starting training camp in just a little more than a month. In the time I have remaining, I want to get my ballhandling tighter and get in shape and stay consistent with my shot, pretty much.

I’ll be working with our assistant coaches – I’ve been working a lot with John Loyer this week, doing a bunch of different shooting and ballhandling drills – and also working in the weight room with Arnie Kander. I got a little time with him in Summer League, light lifting before we’d play, and it was good. He knows what he’s talking about. He really helped me with my tendinitis in my knee. It went away while we were in Summer League. I appreciated that.

As a rookie, I want to just come out and show that I’ve improved and to help my team in any way I can, whether I start or come off the bench – just want to help in any way I can. I think we’ll have a great season. I’m excited to be here. Bringing in Brandon Jennings and Josh Smith, bringing Chauncey back, that’s good for us rookies who look up to them. They’ve been in the league a long period of time. We can pick their brains and learn just by being around them.

It’s also great to have a young veteran like Dre – we’re around the same age – to just hang out with him and get comfortable and allow him to help me get ready for the season. I’m really looking forward to my rookie season with the Pistons and becoming the best NBA player I can be.