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July 16, 2013
What’s up, Cleveland? It’s Carrick, with Part III of my Summer League blog.
We lost a tough one on Monday to the Pelicans. We weren’t good defensively in the first half. But we kind of asserted ourselves after halftime. It would have been nice to get the win, but as long as we keep getting better, things will work themselves out.
In the first couple blogs, I talked a bit about my basketball life. But there are a couple things fans might not know about outside of basketball. For example, I used to be big into skateboarding.
I started skateboarding, shoot, I can’t even remember when! Maybe fifth grade or something like that. And I did it all the way up until probably sophomore year in high school. That was actually my first love; I didn’t like basketball at all. (People hate me when I say that, but I didn’t.)
But once I started playing basketball in high school, all my friends were playing it and, honestly, it just gave me a different mindset. It put me in a different place, and I liked it. And automatically, I just fell in love with the game.
Another thing is that I have a Master’s degree that I earned at Arizona State. I got my Bachelor’s in Communications and my Master’s degree in Liberal Arts and Sciences. I chose that field because I thought Communications is something that I’m very good at. And it’s a field with a broader range. After basketball is done, I want to be able to get a job in that field. And with my Master’s, again, it’ll give me the opportunity to do a lot of the things I want to do.
But hopefully, I won’t need either of those for a while. I’m just getting started with the Cavaliers, and it’s already been pretty great.
I feel good about where I am so far with the team. I still need to work on a lot of things.
Right now, my shot’s not falling, but that’s OK. I just have to make sure I keep playing solid defense. I know I can shoot the three, I know I can play defense, and right now, that’s the biggest thing our team needs: defense and energy. So I’m just going to try to come out in the next couple games and bring that and see where it takes me.
We played three games in the last four days, including a back-to-back on Sunday and Monday. But my body feels good; I’m not tired at all. My knees are sore a little, little bit. But that’s just from playing. Other than that, I feel really good. My body’s well-rested. I try to take care of myself. Eat well. Sleep well.
The young veterans and the coaches have been great to work with. They’re making sure I know where to be on the floor, to be in good spots. But honestly, they’re telling me just to keep going, keep working hard, hustling – keep playing hard and things will work themselves out. That’s all. I’m out there just trying to get better.
We want to do well in the upcoming tournament out here in Vegas. But we want to accomplish more than that. We want to continue to gel as a team. And the coaches are making sure that we keep working on the little things.
Right now what we’re trying to work on is defense because a lot of things have changed with Coach Brown’s new system. We know if we can defend and take care of the details, the shots will eventually start falling. And that’s when you really start winning.
July 13, 2013
Hey, Cavs fans. It’s Carrick, checking back in from Vegas Summer League.
It felt really good to be out there competing against a different team on Friday night after going at each other so hard at practice all week. And it felt even better to get a win. It was my first NBA experience and I was a little nervous at first, but I mean, it’s still basketball. I enjoyed playing with my teammates and just competing.
The game was pretty ugly at first. But once we got it going, you could just tell we have something really good shaping up here. We started chipping away and stuck with the game plan. In the first quarter – maybe the first half – the ball just wasn’t falling for us. But you’re going to have games like that. But in the second quarter, we held them to eight points and we kept them to just 14 in the fourth. Our defense definitely helped us to get that win yesterday. I was glad to a part of it.
On a personal level, I was pretty happy with that sequence in the fourth quarter – hitting a three-pointer and making a good defensive play against Chris Douglas-Roberts in the corner. But really, I was just playing basketball; playing hard.
On the three-pointer, I got an opportunity from my Summer League roommate, Matt Dellavedova. He took the big out of the picture and I filled and was able to hit the open shot. And then I just hustled down to the other side of the court and made a defensive play. The thing is, actually, I wasn’t supposed to the leave the corner on that play. I improvised on that one – but I won’t be doing much of that, not as a rookie.
We’ve got a back-to-back coming on Sunday and Monday and I hope to keep the momentum rolling – bring energy, bring a defensive mentality and just compete. I think we’ll be fine going into tomorrow’s game against Memphis and then Monday against New Orleans before the tournament stats.
But as long as we bring good energy and have a single motive – and that’s to win – I think we’ll be fine.
As a rookie, it’s been good to have Matt to bounce thing off of. We’re definitely talking basketball all the time: things we see, things I need to do and things I try to help him out with. But overall, we’re just two young basketball players who are trying to find our way. And if we can lean on each other for support, that’s just better for the whole team.
July 11, 2013
We just finished up our first practice out here and it wound up lasting around three hours. It’s tough, but we’re basketball players. This is what we do. We’re not in school anymore – this is our job. And if you’re a player who can’t deal with a long practice, you might as well hang it up.
It’s been a crazy couple weeks since the Cavs drafted me. It’s just been a humbling and a blessed feeling. Just to think back when I was a young kid starting out playing basketball to where I’m at now – it’s just an amazing feeling. It’s fun. You get to play against the guys you’ve always watched – the LeBrons, Kobes, Dwyane Wades – and play with a player like Kyrie Irving. I’m excited, man!
My phone’s been exploding since Draft night. I hate to say it, but sometimes I don’t even answer it. I may have to get a new number. Not that I’m big-time, but just something for my family to hit me up. There are a lot of people that I’m trying to get back to, but it’s been really busy throughout this whole process. It’s one of those things.
I got out to Vegas on Sunday. Some of the guys are getting beat by the heat. But as an Arizona guy, I’m used to it. I’m sure the tables will be turned when the Cleveland winter rolls around.
From what I’ve seen so far, everybody with the organization is high-energy. I love the coaching staff because they’re high-energy. They just want you to work and get better. And the players – everybody’s personable, everybody’s easy-going and easy to talk to. And to a man, they’re here to compete. That’s all you can ask for. Guys like Kevin Jones, Kyrie, Dion and Tyler – as well as some of the rookies that are with me. Everyone’s going at it.
I’m rooming right now with Matt Dellavedova from St. Mary’s. He’s a good guy. Very humble. And it’s good to have guys around that are your age.
Right now, I’m just ready to come out here and compete. That’s the difference between here and college – these guys are all pros. Everybody on this level can play. Everybody can put the ball in the basket. Some guys can defend and some guys can’t. But it’s just a higher level. And I’m just excited to just get out there and play – different guys, different matchups.
I know it doesn’t really “count,” but the goal of Summer League is to win. That’s kind of the main goal with anything. I just want to go out there and help my team and put us in good situations. I will definitely come out and play good defense.
And it’s important to get to know some of these guys – my teammates and the opponents – what they do, what they like, what spots they like on the floor.
This is the first time that Summer League is going with tournament-style play. We’ve already had a talk about it as a team. And we are coming into these two weeks ready to go.
I’ll make sure to check back after we get a game or two under our belts. Hopefully I’ll be checking back after a pair of wins.