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Monday December 5, 2011 3:03 PM

The Boys Are Back In Town

Kyle Lowry and Terrence Williams arrive ready for upcoming season

Jason Friedman
Rockets.com




HOUSTON - Anyone who watched the Rockets closely during the final few months of last season saw irrefutable evidence that Kyle Lowry had assumed the mantle of leadership for his team. He was the club’s bellwether and beacon; the engine that powered the machine behind the Rockets’ powerful post-trade deadline finishing kick.

So it should come as no surprise then that Lowry was first on the floor Monday morning, hoisting jumpers, running sprints and working through drills on the Toyota Center practice court as players began to return to Houston en masse for the start of training camp (which begins this Friday).

Lowry looked lean and ready for action, and the Rockets’ starting point guard confirmed as much during his post-workout interview with the Houston media.

“It feels awesome to be back,” he said. “Being back on the floor, being able to get some work in at your own facilities, getting treatment – you can’t beat it.

“I’m ready to go. I’ve been ready to go.”

Lowry was quickly joined on the floor by Terrence Williams and the two players spent much of the approximately hour-long session running through drills together. When the workout was over, Williams wasted no time confirming what anyone who follows the loquacious and occasionally esoteric T-Will on Twitter already knows: he can’t wait to get the upcoming season underway.

“Just to be back around basketball is great,” said Williams. “I told my mom this is like being drafted all over again. That’s why I’m doing all these workouts with Kyle for the whole week, so that the day training camp starts we can just be ready to go.”

Both players know that with the start of camp mere days away and a compressed preseason and regular season schedule to follow, it is of paramount importance for the club’s players and coaches to hit the ground running. With a new coaching staff in place, time is of the essence, meaning efficiency and diligence won’t be optional, they’ll be required. Lowry knows the learning curve will be steep, but he’s counting on his teammates’ professionalism and enthusiasm to carry the day.

“I think we have a really dedicated team and a professional team,” he said. “I think a lot of guys were working. Guys were all getting prepared and ready to stay in shape (for the start of the season.

“It’s going to be a little bit tough for the younger, rookie guys. It’s going to be a real fast learning curve … if the rookies are playing, they will get picked on because there’s not a lot of time to learn. We have to really rely on the veteran guys and the guys who know what they’re doing to go out there and win games and run your game plan and schemes the way you know they should be done.”

And while Lowry’s role in that game plan is set in stone, Williams knows it’s his responsibility to provide head coach Kevin McHale and his staff on-court proof that he deserves a significant share of the duties, too. There is no denying Williams’ talent, skill and athleticism; now he must simply show that he can and will do everything it takes in order to fulfill the massive potential that lies within his 6-6, 220 pound frame.

“I think it’s a very exciting future for myself here,” said Williams. “I know what I can do to help and that’s what I’m going to try to focus on.

“It was very hard sitting and watching (last season), knowing I could help the team that’s out there playing … but I think I went through that to get me where I’m at today, to humble me for my future and now, so I’ll take it.

And Williams knows a huge part of securing that future hinges on his willingness to watch, listen and learn from his new head coach.

“(Coach McHale) talks to his players, he’s very vocal. I mean, you’ve got one of the greatest players to play the game of basketball, so when he gives you insight and feedback you listen to it.”

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