Sure media day is great for the local media to capture sound bites and learn new faces, but Jim O'Brien will benefit the most because going through the grind of activities today should have each and every player begging to hit the practice floor tomorrow ready to do what they do -- play basketball.
The north end of the Fieldhouse was set up with seven photo stations surrounding a half-court practice set up. The players paraded out one by one to have a series of pictures taken in their freshly minted uniforms. This after going through another series of photo sessions behind closed doors. Once the players step away from the still cameras, the media is waiting to hear their comments on the eve of camp.
Guess what? Everyone is positive the Pacers are going to have a great season. Oh, wait, not everyone. Mike Dunleavy offered some pragmatic comments that were anything but canned when he said he's kind of tired of all the positive talk and how good the team could possibly be and is ready to get started so they can find out just how good the team will be in, you know, realty. I couldn't agree more.
After dealing with the pictures and media requests for comments, the players then attack a huge line of balls, jerseys and other Pacers related items waiting for their signature. At this point, an extra set of lines or suicides probably sounds much more appealing.
Some interesting tidbits from the interviews:
- Brandon Rush was quick with his answers and visibly nervous. He even commented that he couldn't believe how nervous he was for this event. He didn't have a reason why, but obviously he's much more comfortable playing in front of a packed arena with the game on the line than he is facing a line of microphones. His eyes did light up when I asked him about receiving his National Championship ring the other day. He was looking forward to bringing it into the locker room and working toward an NBA version.
- Roy Hibbert on the other hand was smooth and unflappable. He's well aware of the holes in his game and won't ever stop working on them.
- T.J. Ford is healthy and ready to go, not so concerned with his role as a leader as he is interested in winning. JOB mentioned that Ford went to New York over the summer to meet and workout with Troy Murphy and Mike Dunleavy. I like a guy who let's is actions speak for him.
- As I mentioned, Dunleavy is tired of the talk and more interested in the results, as well. He desperately wants to reach the playoffs for the first time in his career and is excited to return for a second year with the same coach running the team. He also mentioned that the team seems to get along great, so far. It's the closes to a college-team atmosphere he's ever been around in the NBA.
- Danny Granger kept the media masses waiting and gave his normal stock answers about the team, but he did mention a team softball game played a few days ago. He said it took Roy Hibbert about three strides to get from first to second base but the sight of Roy sliding into second was something to behold. Makes me cringe just thinking about it. Someone hide the softball equipment, please!