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Evan Turner blogger teleconference - 8/26/2010

Q: How comfortable do you feel playing off the ball? Are you doing any specific drills or working with anyone this summer to improve coming off screens and moving the ball?

A: I think when I first started playing this summer I was not as comfortable, because it was a while since I had the ball in my hands. I am starting to get more acclimated with the drills I am doing now. I am just trying to improve coming off screens and moving about the ball better.

Q: What’s the best advice that you received so far, maybe in the summer league or since you’ve gotten to the NBA? How have you employed it into your game?

A: Definitely just realize that it’s a long journey. Hopefully I’ll have a long career. I just need to take it day by day and work on getting better without putting too much pressure on myself.

Q: How much, if any, five on five did you play after the tournament, leading up to the draft? For the Summer League did you think you were in game shape?

A: I probably played one or twice after the tournament. For summer league I did not feel like I was in game shape. I was definitely heavier, I just wasn’t in shape. Right before summer was the draft so I was busy dealing with the press conferences. We had to report to training camp right after the services. I did feel well acclimated and I didn’t have time to get in better shape.

Q: Do you think the agents perhaps have a little too much control before the draft and are a little to worried about injuries? Do you think that’s detrimental?

A: I think protecting yourself is very important, because your body is your job; it’s how you make your money. You can’t have negative things happening to your body prior to the draft. One little problem can mess up your draft stats and maybe not get you drafted at all.

Q: Have you been keeping tabs on how Andre [Iguodala] is doing with team USA, and do you think that it is something you want to be a part of someday?

A: I watch some moments here and there and I think he’s been playing great defense. Any opportunity to represent you country is an honor. I would definitely like to be a part of that someday

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Q: Speaking of Andre Iguodala, a lot of experts are saying that you both have very similar games, and it will be hard for you two to coexist. How do you feel about that and how will you try to make it work?

A: I think Andre and I are all about the team. We are both going to do what we can to help the team out. With Coach Collins, the team works well together. He has a system that works.

Q: I’m sure you’ve seen that the first game is against the [Miami] Heat. Are you excited about that or do you wish you were going up against a team that’s a little bit easier?

A: I am pretty excited. It’s my first NBA game and it’s my birthday so all my family and friends will be in town. We are playing against the strong favorites. I think that’s a great first team to start my career off with. I think it will be a great season.

Q: You said your friends gave you the nickname “Turtle”. How exactly did that come about?

A: It was a bad joke by one of my friends. There was a picture of a turtle on the wall and he named it Evan, because “turtle” and “Turner” sound a lot alike. My friend Demetrius told everyone to call me Turtle and now people do.

Q: Talking about your game in general, which areas do you think you are NBA ready, and what areas do you think need improvement?

A: I think my mid-range is pretty good. I think I have a pretty good IQ and I can rebound well for my size. I need to get better at long-range shooting and defense. NBA games are completely different games; you think a little quicker, be faster and put yourself in the right positions.

Q: How does playing under Doug Collins differ than under Thad Matta? When Doug Collins is on the sidelines does it feel like you’re watching TNT Basketball?

A: Coach Matta was a little more relaxed and gave you a little more freedom. Coach Collins is a little tougher because he wants you to learn more about the game. He knows a lot about the game and wants to help you improve right away. He tries to perfect your game, and he can because he knows a lot about basetball.

Q: Have you tried any of the cheese steaks in Philadelphia yet?

A: Yeah, I went to Geno’s and it was pretty good.

Q: Are you making any plans to go to Pat’s to try to compare to two cheese steaks?

A: No, I am not really supposed to be eating that type of food so I am trying to stay away from it.

Q: Can you talk a little about the work you’re doing this summer? What’s your typical work-out day like?

A: I wake up and start with agility drills. Then I’ll shoot on the court for two hours. After that I’ll lift weights. My day usually starts at 8 o’clock and ends around 12:30. I’ll go back to do more for an hour or so at night.

Q: Anything in particular that you are working on during the shoot drills?

A: I’m just working on my overall game. I am trying to focus a little more on coming off screens and my ball handling.

Q: How’s your 3-point shooting coming along? I know you didn’t take many 3-point shots in college.

A: It’s going pretty well. I think I make my fair share of 3-point shots when I work out. I feel alright.

Q: What surprised you the most about playing in summer league?

A: Just the fact that there are only five days for everything. And the calls are a little tight in the Summer League. When you watch the NBA Finals, you see Ray Allen and Derek Fischer guarding each other, and it’s almost like a wrestling match. In Summer League, the fact is: you can’t do that, the refs don’t appreciate [it].

Q: When you were younger you had a lot of health problems, how has that affected you as a basketball player?

A: At a young age, you go through a lot of stuff. And I realized that I can pull myself up from any obstacle. I’m going to persevere and come out on top no matter what I do.

Q: How have your two brothers helped you develop while you had your back problems out in Ohio State?

A: They’re my brothers, you know. If there is something that I don’t know, they’ll show me. They’ve always supported me and everything like that. It’s nice to have brothers to always support me.

Q: I saw you twittering that you have the same agent as Michael Jordan. Have you [and Michael] talked?

A: I talked to him for about 30 seconds. I didn’t want to bother him too much. But he’s cool.

Q: What did [Michael Jordan] talk to you about?

A: He just asked me if I was ready for the NBA and how my workouts are going.

Q: Do you think you can beat him one-on-one?

A: Right now? I sure hope I could. He’s not really in basketball shape anymore.

Q: How do you plan on bringing basketball back to Philadelphia like the Phillies, Flyers, and Eagles, with its other teams pretty much dominating right now? How do you want to bring the Sixers back to where they were in the mid 80s when they were winning a lot?

A: I think one thing is to have and to recognize that I’m just one part of the team that is going to work hard, and I think I can do that. I’m just going to play as hard as I can. I think I can do that, if that happens today, tomorrow, a month from now, two months from now, a year from now, or two years from now. I think that’s the step in the right direction. We’re going to start winning and making this city excited.

Q: I think this team will have a jobless rebounding ability, do you think this should be your primary job? I think the teams really need more rebounding, do you have enough backcourt guys like you?

A: Coach Alan is really strict about rebounding, and I know if we didn’t rebound, we’d be in trouble with him. I think we’re all going to try to go hard and get the rebounds to put the ball in.

Q: Did Coach Alan give you anything specifically to fit in with your past personality about what he’s looking for in the future from you?

A: He just wants me to come in and be open to learning, work hard, smile, and have fun while I play. Mostly, to have fun while I play.

Q: Have any of the other athletes in the city talked to you about what it’s like to play in front of a Philadelphia crowd and how to deal with the pressure that comes along with it?

A: I think Ryan Howard is probably Philadelphia’s big brother. Some days, the crowd may not like you, but it’s all about how you deal with it. You’ll always have the support no matter what.

Q: After college into Philly, from off-guard to point guard, do you know you’re going to have a little bit more of a defined role when moving forward?

A: I think a role that just goes with the flow, do what the coach expects you to do, do what the team expects you to do, and try to watch out and gain experience. You know, I have to play in the NBA a little bit more for experience and acclimate off the ball.

Q: Do you think you could be a good fit for the U.S. National Team one day? Do you think your game fits well into international rules?

A: I think definitely I’m going to work really hard and at an opportune amount. I think the challenge is figuring out when to help out and to take it one day at a time. You have rivals, but you have to think about today and not worry about the future.

Q: Who would you compare your game to either past or present in the NBA right now?

A: I think Brandon Roy and everything like that. I think he’s a great player with great talent as well.

Q: Is there any one player you get from your college game that you watched growing up that you’re looking forward to playing against?

A: Well, no, I haven’t really thought about that. Everybody and everything like that kind of watched my back when I played in college. I realize that now, I have to play in front of larger stands. It’s not really the fact that I’m not ready, and I am just looking forward to playing after college. Probably Kobe.

Q: Why Kobe?

A: He is always thinking ahead, and how he can improve. I just want to see how it is.

Q: You signed with Li-Ning for the shoe deal, but what was the reasoning behind that?

A: I think it’s all about having fun. I’m confident and everything like that, but I’m curious to see how it works to have my own brand. I’ll be with it 100%. I just signed knowing a lot of responsibility came with that, and Li-Ning is a great company. I am interested in seeing where the company would be heading.

Q: Did anybody on the team ever give you any pointers for the NBA and your body knowing it will be a longer season?

A: Well, you just have to stick with it and take shots. You can’t really get down on yourself too much because you always have the next day.

Q: What were your impressions with Jrue after playing those 4 games with him in summer league?

A: He plays hard and always gets back on defense. I can’t wait to play with him.

Q: Evan, did you watch a lot of the Sixers games from last season? What are your impressions and what do you think was missing?

A: I didn’t really watch as much, but they just had a rough season. I think that maybe injuries got in the way a little bit. They were in a bad cycle that most NBA teams don’t experience often.

Q: After your back injury, was there ever a moment when you thought your career might be in jeopardy?

A: Quite frankly when I was hurt, I felt bad for myself for a couple of days. One of my coaches said sit back and relax. Think about what happened, and overcome what occurred. I’d been a fighter my whole life. In retrospect, that was nothing.

Q: Then speaking of the NBA in general, do you think the [Los Angeles] Lakers are still the team to beat or is it the Miami [Heat] now?

A: I think the Lakers are still the team to beat for the simple fact that they are the defending champions. The last game of the season, they won and brought home the trophy. Until someone proves them wrong, they are the team to beat.