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Will Galen
10-07-2004, 04:00 AM
http://www.indystar.com/articles/8/184415-4838-179.html

Rookie mends, meets teammates
Harrison, who hurt knee in summer league, is feeling good, likes having veterans around.

By Sekou Smith
sekou.smith@indystar.com
October 7, 2004


Indiana Pacers rookie center David Harrison spent nearly his entire summer on the practice floor at Conseco Fieldhouse, working out while most of his veteran teammates scattered about the country for their usual offseason routines.

So the start of training camp has given Harrison an opportunity to put faces to names. It's also allowed the team's first-round draft pick to stop pretending.

"It's great having people in here to actually play against and with instead of having imaginary guys on your back," Harrison joked. "Really, the only guy I hadn't met was Jonathan Bender. Everybody else was in and out of here for a time during the summer, so I had a chance to meet just about everybody before now. But I like this much better than not having all these guys around."

Harrison's summer was interrupted when he sprained his left knee during the Pacers' summer league at the Rocky Mountain Revue. But he is ready to play.

"My knee is about 99 percent," he said. "Every once in a while you can feel it, or you're playing on it wrong. But I'm more than ready to go. For me, this is a time when I just want to play basketball and show people what I can do out there."

Comfort zone

The mood around training camp this season is far less frantic than a year ago, for the coaching staff and the players.

With so few new faces, everyone seems to be in a comfort zone that didn't exist last year, when Pacers coach Rick Carlisle and his staff had barely a month before the start of training camp to familiarize themselves with the players.

"Last year was a blur. It really was for everybody," Carlisle said. "This year, we've had more of a chance to spend time with our players in the summer and work on building skills relative to what we believe our system is going to be. All that helps."

The players have noticed the difference as well.

"I think that's the biggest difference for us right now," forward Austin Croshere said. "We're definitely going to be ahead of the game this time. Last year in camp we were a little behind. This time, everything is familiar and everybody seems to be a lot more comfortable."

Karl does research

George Karl observed the morning practice Wednesday, one of four he is scheduled to attend this week.

The former Milwaukee and Seattle coach said he expects to take in as many as 20 NBA and college practices over the next six weeks, using each stop as an educational opportunity as well as a chance to visit with friends and colleagues.

"To me, it's a sabbatical of studying the game of basketball, studying different coaches and really working on how I want to play in the future," said Karl, who is set to begin his second season as an ESPN analyst. "You're looking at good coaches and how they teach. You get to hang out with them a little bit. It's fantastic. It's a good life."

Karl, who won 708 games in 16 NBA seasons, is continuing a common practice among coaches who are between jobs. In fact, he extended the same courtesy to Carlisle four years ago.

Now that the roles are reversed, Karl said he'll do what any smart coach would, and that's take notes.

"I've stolen everything in my life from somebody," joked Karl, who guided Seattle to the 1996 NBA Finals. "I'm just here to try and steal some things from Rick."

Quote of the day

"Some people say I should let the game come to me. But I'm the type of player that wants it; I'm a player that's hungry, hungry to win, hungry to play good and hungry to outplay my opponent. So I'm ready for it." -- Pacers All-Star forward Ron Artest on why he won't temper his game to pacify his critics

sweabs
10-07-2004, 08:01 AM
"Really, the only guy I hadn't met was Jonathan Bender. Everybody else was in and out of here for a time during the summer, so I had a chance to meet just about everybody before now.

:hmm:
I guess he was too busy working out eh?

fwpacerfan
10-07-2004, 04:14 PM
"Really, the only guy I hadn't met was Jonathan Bender. Everybody else was in and out of here for a time during the summer, so I had a chance to meet just about everybody before now.

:hmm:
I guess he was too busy working out eh?

That quote bothered me as well. I would like to think that Bender was in town at least a little bit. Especially in light of Carlisle's quote:

"...This year, we've had more of a chance to spend time with our players in the summer and work on building skills relative to what we believe our system is going to be..."

So did that apply to everyone BUT Bender? Or maybe Carlisle and his staff traveled down to Mississippi or wherever Bender lives and worked with him there?

ChicagoJ
10-07-2004, 04:21 PM
I've assumed that to be true. I think I've read somewhere that Carlisle, Mike Brown, and perhaps even Chuck Person or someone else on staff traveled a lot to meet with the players this summer.

Hicks
10-07-2004, 04:37 PM
So did that apply to everyone BUT Bender? Or maybe Carlisle and his staff traveled down to Mississippi or wherever Bender lives and worked with him there?



I think I remember reading that the coaches went to him, rather than Bender coming to Indy.

MagicRat
10-07-2004, 09:30 PM
"Really, the only guy I hadn't met was Jonathan Bender."

Uh-oh.....

http://home.comcast.net/~magic_rat/harrison-bender.jpg

ChicagoJ
10-07-2004, 10:03 PM
Now I'm really going to vote for John Edwards to be my vice-center.