For Mullens, Work Comes Before Play

So what’s there to do in Columbus, Ohio during summertime?

For Byron Mullens, there’s golf, basketball and weightlifting.

That’s how the Thunder center has been spending his first NBA offseason.

Mullens is coming off a rookie campaign in which he split time with the Thunder and its NBA D-League affiliate Tulsa 66ers.

In 13 games with the Thunder, Mullens averaged 1.1 points and 0.8 rebounds, which included a season-high tying four points and three rebounds in a 108-102 win over Indiana on Jan. 9. In 27 games with the 66ers, Mullens averaged 15 points and 7.5 rebounds in 31.5 minutes per game.

We caught up with Mullens late last week.

What have you been up to since the season ended?

“I came back to Columbus a few days after the exit meeting. I just took a week off and played a little bit of golf back in my hometown. And the next week I got back to work, 6 a.m. workouts in the morning with a basketball and twelve o’clock weight lifting, two hours apiece. Monday (the 24th) will be my third week working out. I felt like it was important to get straight to it.”

Where were you going to vacation?

“Puerto Rico. I was thinking about going there. Just somewhere nice and where I’ve never been before. But I think I can wait till after the summer or before training camp or something like that. I don’t know. I just had to get to work.”

What’s your golf handicap?

“Well, I’m still waiting for my clubs to get here from Oklahoma. The last few times I’ve been playing I’ve shot a steady 90, so it’s alright. I ordered some clubs from a golf pro down there. I go golfing just with my friends back at home. One of my high school coaches who I’m real close with here, college teammates, whoever really has the time to go out.”

Are there decent courses out there?

“Yeah, we’ve got the Memorial Tournament here in Ohio and there is a course on campus. There’s some really nice courses out there. I just started playing this year.”

Basketball-wise, what are you working on this summer?

“I’m trying to get quicker. Going side to side, how I’d defend guards on pick and rolls. I’m working on my explosiveness for rebounding and just catching rebounds and going back up with it. My explosiveness coming off of pick and rolls. And my post moves, just making a move and a counter for it. And in the weight room I’m just working on filling my body out just to get stronger and quicker.”

Have you been back to campus?

“Yeah, I’ve been once since I got home. Just to hang out with the guys. We went to the movies once, went out to eat. It’s been great.”

What else do you have planned for the summer?

“Just Summer League and a big man camp out in Vegas. That’s about it. I’m coming back to Oklahoma a few times to work out and then back here.”

Contact Chris Silva