Posted Tuesday, September 18, 2012

It’s starting to feel like home. I just finished getting all my furniture, my bed, everything into my new place last week. My parents are coming to visit me shortly from their home in South Carolina. My sister, Brittney, who is 24, came up with me the first time I came to Detroit. She’s about to start a new life, too, moving to Los Angeles and getting into the concierge service business.

I’m starting to get adjusted on the basketball court, too. I’ve been learning a lot from coach Frank. Before the vets get in during the mornings, coach Frank takes all the rooks out on the court and teaches us defensive schemes. Those teaching sessions have really helped me. We started playing pickup games last week and those sessions with coach Frank have really helped me feel more comfortable out on the court. I’m seeing the things he’s talking about and I’m applying them to when we’re out there.

Now I’m able to play in the flow of the game. It’s helping me on the defensive end, but it’s really helping me on the offensive end as well. I think there’s a direct relationship. Instead of thinking about the game, now when I’m out there I’m more or less just playing the game instead of worrying and wondering where I should be or thinking about the last play. In order to play in this league, I’m going to have to be able to guard somebody and play team defense.

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Posted Tuesday, September 11, 2012

I’m getting settled in Detroit, just having arrived here last week after spending a month of good family time. I hadn’t seen my family very much at all for the last whole year, so it was great to get some quality time with them. We took a trip to the Oregon coast, I got a chance to go up to the University of Oregon and work out with my brother there, and I went down to LA for a while and got to spend some time with my sister.

I went in spurts with my workouts – I’d work out for a week or so and then take some time off. Back home in Medford, I didn’t do a lot of working out because there really isn’t anybody to work with there, but when I was with my brother E.J. in Eugene, there were people around so I got stuff done out there. It was a long season for me in Spain, so I needed to take a little time away from the gym, but now I’m ready to get going again.

Medford is south, on the California border, right in the middle on I-5 – everything in Oregon is on I-5. On the other side of the mountains, it’s pretty flat and there’s not a lot there. My grandfather has a great story. He was coming to watch me play Little League baseball and he said the whole way there he must have hit about 100 jackrabbits, just flying across the road. He loves telling that story.

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Posted Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Growing up in Connecticut and going to a boarding school, St. Thomas More, where I could walk to class, I never really felt I needed to drive anywhere. So I never got my driver’s license. I knew that had to change when I came to Detroit. So I got my driver’s license last week. I’ve known how to drive since I was 15 – never on the streets, but in parking lots or somewhere private. I’ve been catching rides to the practice facility with Kim and Khris, my teammates, and Khris lives just down the street from me. I guess I can start to give him a ride sometimes now.

It’s been a good summer for me. The Las Vegas camp I went to with Greg and Brandon was great. It was a learning experience for all of us. We went out there and learned something new every day. It was like being in a classroom – we broke the game down every single day. We did a lot of drills during the day and at night we’d play basketball. There was no media, nobody watching us – it was real, hard-core basketball.

I know Greg said I was “a beast” on the boards out there, but I was just playing hard. That’s all. I played hard and he noticed how hard I was playing. I’m glad he noticed and I think we’ll be a good combination together this year. We played on the same team in Vegas. It’s fun to play with Greg. We play high-low – he can go high, I can go low, then I go high and he’ll go low. We’re interchangeable bigs.

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Posted Tuesday, August 28, 2012

It’s good to be back in the gym after spending some time away last week for the NBA’s Rookie Orientation program. But it was a good experience at orientation, too, especially because I got to spend time with my teammates – Kyle, Khris and Andre. It was good for us to spend time together. We learned a lot.

I feel blessed to have had three other guys with me. Some teams only have one rookie – we had three others there, plus we also have Slava, our big guy from Europe, who I’ve yet to meet. We learned together. I talked to Kyle a lot about having a year under his belt of being a pro.

We learned from listening to former pros like Kareem, Spencer Haywood, Dennis Scott, Allan Houston, Avery Johnson. Chris Herren was a tremendous speaker. I’ve seen the “30 for 30” show about him, but it doesn’t do it justice. When you can really watch him and really hear him, the way he delivers his speeches, he’s an incredible speaker. Even if you have no drug problem to speak of, it’s just still great to hear his story.

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Posted Tuesday, August 21, 2012

I got a little anxious, of course, when I saw the rookies who were my teammates during Summer League – Kim English and Andre Drummond and Kyle Singler – sign contracts when I hadn’t. I wanted to come up here and get some work in and find a place to get settled. I enjoyed being back home and working hard while I was down there, but it was a delay. I just tried to work out and make it work.

I left that all up to my agent. I knew he was going to do what was best for me, so I stayed home and was working out mostly by myself with my high school coach – I lifted weights, tried to do some light conditioning to stay in shape and did a whole bunch of work on the floor – so I would be prepared to come up here when it got done. I found out we had a deal on the Friday night before I came up. I flew out last Monday morning – I was going to come on Sunday, but it was my birthday; I’m 21 now – and got here that afternoon.

Home is South Carolina. I grew up in Charleston and I wasn’t that highly recruited coming out of high school. Besides Texas A&M, I had about two or three other big offers and then mostly it was small and local. I weighed the pros and cons and me and my family, we thought it was best for me to go to A&M and I think it worked out well.

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Posted Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Since Summer League ended in the middle of July, I spent some time in Los Angeles and then came back to Oregon – finally. I hadn’t been back to my home in Medford – that’s just south of Portland – since I went to Spain last summer. It’s the longest I’ve been away from home and it definitely feels that way because after spending nearly a year in a foreign country, being around different people, it feels like it’s been an even longer time.

I actually have a place along with my sister, Katen, in Los Angeles. She works there for a social networking company that markets Twitter and Facebook accounts for athletes, so I spent about a week in LA and then came back to Medford. That’s where I’ve been ever since. I’ve been playing a lot of golf, hanging out with my friends and just relaxing, trying to enjoy the nice weather in Medford and catching up to people I haven’t seen in a while.

My brother, E.J., will be a senior at Oregon this season. Eugene isn’t too far away, so I’ve gone there with him for a day or so and worked out with him at Oregon and the people around the school and their program, working out with their guys.

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Posted Tuesday, August 7, 2012

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.

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Posted Tuesday, July 31, 2012

(Editor’s note: today starts a weekly series, Summer School, that will provide first-person accounts from Pistons rookies Andre Drummond, Kyle Singler, Khris Middleton and Kim English of their experiences as they move to Detroit and prepare for their first NBA seasons.)

Since we finished playing in Summer League, I’ve spent most of my time here finding my way around and trying to find a place to live. I’ve never lived in a house before. It was a whole new thing for me to have a real estate agent and have them show you like 50 different houses before we found one we really liked. My mother, little sister and I have always lived in an apartment, so it was fun just seeing the smile on my sister’s face knowing she can have her own room now.

It’s close to The Palace, some of my teammates live around there and it’s a good living environment. It’s going to be a good place for my little sister to grow up.

She’s definitely excited to move here. Ariana did what I did – she went to a boarding school, so she’s used to being away from home. We went to the same school for a while – when I was a freshman, she was in eighth grade. I think she and my mom have found a new school for her and she’s looking forward to getting started. She plays volleyball and softball, so I went to a lot of her games throughout my college season. I just try to be her biggest supporter.

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