Lampe Looks to Light It Up in Suns’ Rookie/Free Agent Camp

by Jeramie McPeek
VP, Digital
By Josh Greene,
Posted: July 5, 2006

The first day of the Suns’ rookie/free agent camp Wednesday had the makings of 2004 all over again. Amaré Stoudemire was once again attacking the basket, guard Romain Sato was looking to showcase his skills for the front office like he did in pre-draft workouts two years ago and Maciej Lampe was once again sporting the purple and orange.

The youngest member of the camp, the 21-year-old Lampe is looking to rejoin a team that saw his services in a combined 37 games over two seasons. Originally coming to Phoenix as part of the blockbuster deal that sent Stephon Marbury and Penny Hardaway to New York in early 2004, the 6-11 big man averaged 3.8 ppg and 2.1 rpg for the Suns before departing for New Orleans with Casey Jacobsen and Jackson Vroman in exchange for Jim Jackson and a future draft pick a year ago January.

“I’m trying to make the team,” said Lampe about his latest NBA goal. “I got traded from here, but I always loved playing for the Suns and playing for Coach D’Antoni, and I would love to play for them again.

“Today was the first day with guys struggling with plays, but everybody worked hard. We’re coming together great as a summer league team. The chosen guys have been great, not only for Amaré’s rehab but for everyone’s individual skills and fundamentals. I’m just happy to be here and to work with these guys.”

The NBA’s first Polish-born player to be drafted in the NBA (2003, 30th overall), Lampe declined an invitation to join his National Team in lieu of working out five-on-five locally at a youth gymnasium in Gilbert this summer. While his workout partners haven’t been Valley youngsters, they do have a local connection. Arizona State products like Ike Diogu and Tommy Smith have been stopping by, as have some overseas players to work out.

Lampe believes the extra summer work he’s been putting in after disappointing showings with the Hornets and Rockets last season will help keep him healthy and productive. Missing time with a string of foot problems in 2005-06, the forward/center plans on dropping another five pounds to hit his 250-lb. target weight as he works his way to what he hopes will be another contract with the Suns.

“I’ve been working really hard on my physical skills,” Lampe said. “I’ve gotten faster, and I’ve gotten stronger. Hopefully they see that. My jumper’s still there. Hopefully I get even better here in the Summer League and they see that and they sign me. Knowing the coaches and all the plays here is one thing, but I still have to go out there and play hard to prove I belong here.”


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