[UPDATE: Here's a link to watch the press conference. Sure seems like some genuine excitement expressed from all involved. -Cornrows]
The Pacers officially introduced rookies Roy Hibbert and Brandon Rush this afternoon at the Fieldhouse. Hibbert continues to say all the right things, which in his case includes ample doses of talk about hard work and defensive effort.
“Obviously, being a defensive presence is one thing a big man has to make sure he does,” Hibbert said. “Shooting and scoring, that’s one thing. But at the same time, I have to protect the basket, so I’m going to make sure I do that to the best of my ability.
“I know a lot is going to be asked of me, and I’m going to make sure to bring it every day.”
Here's the presser transcript. The Pacers also announce the signing of both players which is a formality with the rookie salary scale already in place.
Both Larry Bird and Jim O'Brien spoke and spoke highly of both players. They've set the expectations high, which is nice. Both players seem mature enough to handle being pushed to exceed their own expectations. JOB didn't waste any time lighting a fire under his rooks.
We have challenged Brandon and Roy. I’d like to contradict something Roy said and I did this the first time I met with Brandon. I said to Brandon, ‘What are your expectations for this year?’, and he said ‘I’d like to just come in and fit in,’ and Roy just said about the same thing right there. I’m not interested in these guys coming in to fit in and not step on anybody’s feet. As a matter of fact, I would like them to compete for starting jobs. That’s what we want. I said to Brandon, ‘If you want to come in and fit in, the veterans would be more than happy to let you fit in.’ We want you to compete against the veterans. The good thing about Brandon and Roy is we think they are guys that we expect to contribute at a high level this year. Certainly, they’re rookies and they have a long way to go but this will be an environment that is open-ended. We don’t believe that since they’re rookies they should play a certain role. That’s not where we’re coming from at all.
Bird also mentioned they were set on taking Rush at 11 but realized they could save a few bucks, drop back to 13, add another player and still pick the guy they wanted. Great move on paper, now Rush and Jack will have to deliver the goods to make it a critical move in the Pacers effort to "restore the pride."