HANG TIME HEADQUARTERS — We’ve got dreamers, late-bloomers, trail blazers and twins, oh and at least two guys — Kyrie Irving and to a lesser extent Derrick Williams — who are supposed to be franchise saviors.
The NBA Draft is the gift that just keeps on giving, year after year and player after player. The 2011 edition was no different, with tons of colorful sorts from lands near and far joining the party.
The rookies, whether they realize it or not, will probably never be more entertaining than they are right now and in the next few months, when all of this is still new to them, before they are no longer blinded by the lights, cameras and non-stop action that is the daily grind of NBA life.
Of course, we are not talking about Wizards rookie Jan Vesely, who seemed more than a little bit comfortable with the bright lights shining on him and his girlfriend, Eva Kodouskova, on draft night.
But even without the cameras around, the new guys can’t help but make you smile. Because rookies say the darndest things sometimes. After spending a few days with them leading up to the big night, we gathered a couple of examples to share with you:
“Well, I truly believe that Duke is a professional program. The way we prepare, practice, we practice like professionals and that’s what he taught me and that’s what I’m going to carry to the next level is how to prepare like a professional: Countless hours of film, breaking things down in practice, preparing for the next team, thoroughly. There’s not one team that I thought we were unprepared for, even when I was hurt.
“So being a part of the Duke program and shadowing the coaches when I was hurt, I really learned a lot how to prepare like a professional. When I was playing it was a little different, because things were happening really fast. But when I was hurt, things ‑‑ it slowed down for me. So I really got a chance to learn from them, learn from the coaches especially.”
— Irving on why Duke is such a great training ground for future professionals