View Granger's Pacer Press Conference Video and Quotes

Former Lobo was inroduced today as the newest Pacer.

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Danny Granger may have

June 30, 2005

Former University of New Mexico men's basketball star Danny Granger was introduced as the newest member of the Indiana Pacers today at a press conference in Indianapolis. Granger was selected by the Pacers in Tuesday's NBA Draft with the 17th overall pick. He is the sixth Lobo in school history to be selected in the first round.

"A lot of my friends were say how I get to go play with Ron Artest and Jermaine O'Neal, and I was like, "Yeah!" stated Granger. "It's very rewarding. I am coming to a team that I know will make the playoffs next year and that is more experience for me."

To watch clips from today's press conference that include comments from both Danny and his father visit or click here.Below are quotes from Granger, Pacer head coach Rick Carlisle and team president Larry Bird taking from both the draft night press conference and Granger's introductory press conference in Indianapolis today.

Larry Bird Quotes
2005 NBA Draft
June 28, 2005

What are your thoughts on the draft?
"Well I didn't think we were going to get either one of them. I didn't think there was any way that Granger was going to be there and on our board we had him as the fifth best player in the draft, very skilled, long arms, pass, dribble shoot, we're happy. Lorbek at 46 is a kid I've been watching for the last three years, he went to Michigan State a year, he's over in Italy playing right now, but he's solid. He's 6'10 _", not real athletic but knows how to play, strong, can shoot and face up to the basket so we're pleased with what we got tonight."

You said Gerald Green would be the only guy you would take. Did you take Granger because of what he could add to a possible championship team?
"Believe me, Granger is a better player. Granger could come in here tomorrow and play. He's very talented; I never dreamed he would be there. When he came off the court, when he came in for a workout, I couldn't believe he came in for a workout, and when he walked off the court I told him I was sorry for ever bringing him in because he was too good to come in and think he was going to be drafted at 17."

Why did he drop?
"I have no idea."

Could it be a couple of injuries to his shoulder and meniscus?
"I don't know. I saw him play a lot this year, he played alright and we checked out his shoulder and checked everything and they gave us an OK on him so we feel very confident that he'll be ready to play."

Where do you see Granger fitting into the team?
"Well he (Rick Carlisle) didn't tell me what his plans were but we both agree that if we were in the playoffs right now and he walked in that he is one guy that can step in and play and give us some quality minutes."

Rick Carlisle
"There were probably like four or five guys in the draft that could step in and be ready to play in a first or second round series right now and he was at the top of the list."

Are there guys on your roster now that need to pay close attention on how you drafted?
"I don't think they'll believe it until he comes in and starts practicing against them. He's a very multi-talented player and has a lot of skill. I think he makes us better."

Greg Anthony mentioned Scottie Pippen as a comparable player. Do you see that?
"There are some similarities. Scottie was a great defender, a great off-the-ball defender. It's just hard to compare him to Scottie Pippen. But he is a multi-talented player that can grab rebounds, push the ball up the court, make plays, shoot, block shots, defend, he can do about all of it."

Do you think he can add some leadership right away?
"Yeah, I hope so. I've always said that we need some leadership on this team and I think his teammates will love him because he gets after it and he plays hard and he's a great kid. I think we're very fortunate we had the opportunity to draft a young man like this."

Is character a part of the decision?
"Talent. (laughs) He's got the whole package."

As the draft went on did you think "Wow, we have a shot a drafting some of the guys we didn't think we had a shot at?"
"Right up until Toronto. I think Toronto got a heck of a player in Joey Graham. But to have Granger fall to us, I still can't believe it. I think he's that good of a player."

What do you think of the make-up of your team?
"I think we're going to be very deep. This makes us a lot deeper. We got very good players in this draft. We got Ron Artest, we got Jonathan Bender, Lorbek is going to stay in Europe for a year, and Danny Granger. Rick's got to be pretty pleased with this draft."

Rick Carlisle:
"The good thing about Granger is he's a multi-dimensional, multi-positional player. He can play small forward, he can play the finesse power forward position and I still happen to believe he's good enough to play a little of two here and there with certain match-ups. He's a pure basketball player. He's the kind of guy that which would fit in 20 years ago when we were playing. He just plays the game and loves to play and happens to be not only a talented player but a terrific kid. Every once in a while you get really lucky like this."

As a coach how enjoyable would it be to have Granger play three different positions? Rick Carlisle: "It's great to have those options and it's also great to have somebody that, we had a situation this year where Ron was out of the lineup the whole year and I don't think that's likely to happen again but if it did, we have a guy behind him that's very much a quality player."

With Reggie gone, can drafting a guard ignite a low confidence in the guys you still have on the roster?
Rick Carlisle: "We think the guards we have are good players. But our moves tonight don't preclude us from doing other things with trades and free agency. But that's Larry's department."

Are there any other teams across the East that improved themselves?
"I really haven't looked at it. I was there when they were drafting but teams had multiple picks before us and I thought they went pretty well but I was so concerned with our pick because early on it didn't look like it was going well for us. At the end, I'm on the record now saying this guy is a helluva player, he better be able to play and he can and I think he's going to be a great addition to not only our team but our community."

Rick Carlisle: "The great thing about getting to draft a guy like Granger is you add good players to the mix and the competition makes your guys better. They have to play at a high level to get their jobs and keep their minutes. That's what this is about, it's about being the very best you can be and the only way anybody gets better is to draft really high level players."

Does this give you freedom to make other moves later on?
"Yes. We're not done yet, we don't have major plans but we have things we'd like to do. We solidified two positions."
Rick Carlisle: "What is great where we could use him is that he could have gone to Yale." (Laughs)
Larry Bird: "Yeah, he does a lot for us, I'm telling you. He really makes it easy for us. I wish I was coaching again."

Was there any talk of moving up?
"Yes, and we would have like to but if we were going to get Granger I thought we had to go number five. I knew there was no way of doing that. But we did try to move up to 13 one time and we couldn't do it. Like I said earlier, when the draft was going on we were holding our breath for awhile because every pick I thought Granger was going next."

Why did Granger come for a workout?
"Because his agent was doing me a favor. Last summer I brought one of his players in to go through our camp and I talked to him to see how the kid was doing and he said he had Danny Granger and I said I'd like to get him in here just to see how good he is and he said if I got him in early he'd bring him in. So he was one of the first guys we brought in."

Did you figure you were wasting your time?
"We brought some other players in and I just wanted to see if he was as good as advertised and he did pretty well."

What did he say when you apologized for bringing him in?
"He just laughed. He knew it. He was sure he was going to go in the top seven or eight."

Do you think he is like Paul Pierce when he dropped?
"That's what I felt like in the draft."

Do you feel like you got a Paul Pierce? "I don't know about Paul Pierce but I just never dreamed this kid would be there. Now we'll see if he can play."

Rick Carlisle:
"We talked to him and he was really thrilled to be coming to us. I think he feels like this is a situation where he can be on a winning team right off the bat. You like to have that as a motivator by winning."

Does this impact the need or desire to bring back James Jones?
"James Jones is very much in our future. We'd love to have James back."

Rick Carlisle Quotes
NBA Draft 2005
June 28, 2005

Opening Remarks
"Well, this is kinda shocking really, that we have an opportunity to draft a guy like Danny Granger. We were hoping to be able to take somebody that was experienced and ready to help a team like the Pacers. We had him rated as the fourth or fifth best player in the draft. Why he dropped so far, I'm not sure but a lot of people wonder how Paul Pierce dropped so far back in '98 or '99, whenever that was. But Granger is a complete basketball player, highly skilled at the three position with the ability to play some at the finesse four spot and the skill and quickness to play a little at the two if he had to do that. It gives us great insurance at the small forward position and other positions as well. I know that he was a great scorer at New Mexico. 6'7", 6'8"-ish; but with over a seven-foot wingspan. So he's built like a true basketball player that can block a lot of shots too."

Did your eyes get big when you saw Granger drop to 17?
"There were some surprises. The tenth pick was a pivotal pick because Bynum was taken at ten and a group slid down. Villanueva going at seven shook things up below that. So I think there were some things that happened a little differently than predicted. This has been a strange draft in many ways. We were looking at the possibility at one point at Graham, Granger and Warrick, all guys we had very highly rated. So our scouts also liked Green as a prospect. But when Granger came down to us, we were just amazed. He was a guy that everyone in the draft room agreed would be a great player for us and really ready to help right now, which is really important in the position we're in right now."

Did Granger's experience influence the decision?
"When you hear the phrase `best player available,' we really felt if we would have had the fifth pick he would have been the best player available. That's how strongly we felt about Danny Granger's ability not only to play in this league but on our team. We were very fortunate tonight and very happy."

Any theories as to why he dropped this far?
"No, but one thing I've learned over the years, 20 years in this now is that when guys unexpectedly drop, there isn't always a real reasonable explanation. Sometimes it just happens. I happen to believe that the pick at seven set up some changes as the draft went on and Bynum coming into the draft at ten changed the complexion and not many people had May going to Charlotte at 13 and that was another sort of place where things changed a little bit."

Is there a position Granger plays best?
"He's one of these guys that he can play any position on the floor. You hate to pigeon-hole him by saying he can only play this. He's a guy that plays the game well and has a very good feel for the game. His natural position is probably the three spot but it would not preclude him from playing some four and it would not preclude him from playing some two in some situations. But, you know, we're in a great position having a guy like Ron Artest at three but having a guy like Granger with his kind of abilities and experience is great insurance at the 3, 4, and 2 spot."

Will he compete for playing time?
"I don't think there is any question he is going to compete for playing time. I can't tell you the number of minutes he's going to play but you're talking about one of the really accomplished players in this draft in terms of skills and abilities. He has a great track record, he's done it over a period of years now in college at a high level. Those things mean something." Was there anything from his workout that stuck with you?
"Well, he had an opportunity to go to Yale and turned it down, when we talked to him and that's impressive. And really, truthfully we had him in here pretty early in the process with three other guys not thinking that the was any way we'd have a chance to get him at 17 but it was great that he agreed to come in. The kid presented himself as a humble kid, very upbeat, much in awe of the prospect of coming to the NBA on one hand, and in the other hand, very eager to prove himself. He's really a top-notch quality person based on everything he's done. All the people we've talked to, coaches, he's just one of the people you don't hear any bad things about."

NO milk drinkers?
"Yeah, we said we didn't want ALL milk drinkers. We will allow some."

You guys said there was no way you could get him.
"After we saw him in that first workout, I said to Larry `Do we actually have a chance to draft this guy?' And Larry said `No, probably not.' But he agreed to come in, and maybe because he just wanted to be here, I don't know the reasons for that for sure. It's certainly an unusual situation. His game and his skills, he's a four-year guy with some similarities to Tayshaun Prince with the long arms, ability to score, good shooter, those sorts of things. Certainly not exactly like that but there are some similarities especially when you factor in the fact that he played four years."

Greg Anthony said he was like Scottie Pippen.
"When you look at the body type, and the wingspan and sort of his level of basketball IQ and those sorts of things, the comparisons are not unreasonable. Of course we're talking about Pippen who is a sure fire Hall of Famer, but a lot of the tools are similar."

When your turn came, was there any hesitation at all?
"No. No hesitation. We were down to the last three picks and we were sure Granger would go in the next two and when he didn't it was just like an initial shock. And Larry went around the room and everyone said Granger. It was very decisive."

Was anything said that you remember?
"Just that as it went along and as it gets closer to your pick. It seems like that five minutes for each pick gets shorter. The guys at the table kept saying `Boy, there is no way Granger could fall to us is there?' And one person after the next was saying it. It was shocking but we feel very fortunate. This is another complement to the guys we have and a really high, high guy and a real competitor."

How do you think he'll fit in with Artest and Jermaine?
"Well he's a very good outside shooter. He has the ability to post up at the three. At the four, he can step out and face and drive the ball. He's got good rebounding numbers and he is just a very attractive player to us because of his experience. He's a four-year player, he has a good track record, he's got consistent stats that got better each year in most areas and his level of maturity is something that we were drawn to."

Was there a temptation to contact teams ahead of you?
"There was a lot of that over the last 10 days with not much luck. We had an opportunity to move up two or three spots yesterday and today and that didn't work out. The player we were thinking of taking at a higher level, we never dreamed it would be Danny Granger. So this was one of those times that we really had some good fortune."

Danny Granger Press Introductory Press Conference
June 28, 2005

Opening Remarks from Larry Bird
"Good afternoon, we're here today to introduce our newest member of the Indiana Pacers. As tradition, you know this is his day. I won't say much other than a couple remarks and Rick will have a couple. But I feel the same as I did last night. I think we have a quality young man who's got an opportunity to do good things in this league. He's one of the good guys, so I hope this league after two or three years doesn't poison him. He's got a lot of things going for him other than on the court so we're very happy and very proud to have an individual like Danny. Danny Granger Sr. is sitting over there, you can stand up."

Opening Remarks from Rick Carlisle
"Yeah, we talked a lot about this guy last night. He is the epitome of a basketball player. He can do a lot of different things on the basketball court. We're very fortunate today to be able to introduce him to you."

Opening Remarks from Danny Granger
"I just want to say I'm very happy to be here and I'm glad I was selected by the Pacers and I'll do my best to help my team win in any way possible. Questions?"

Just talk about your emotions right now.
"It's pretty overwhelming to step right in here, because I didn't get much sleep last night. It's a long process but I'm glad I'm finally here. A lot of people dream about going to the NBA and I'm very fortunate to have the opportunity."

How nice is it to play in a basketball state?
"It's very nice. Like you said, this is a basketball community. Whenever you have the community supporting you it makes it that much more rewarding. To play basketball and come in with a winning team like the Pacers that went to the playoffs last year, I would not sell that, it's really good to come in."

Larry said last night that if the playoffs were tomorrow you could come in and play.
"It means a lot. I mean I'm glad he has confidence in me. I have a lot of confidence in myself. I played four years in college and gained experience and with that I think that I can help the team."

Do you think staying in school for four years will help you?
"Most definitely. I think going four years in college is an experience. Whether it is bad or good you learn from it. So I went through that and having done that, I feel it has prepared me for the NBA."

After having injuries the last three years, how are you feeling right now?
"I'm feeling really good, I think I had only one injury where I missed games and that was my knee my senior year. But I'm pretty good right now."

After talking to your college coach, he said you wanted to play when your starting center went down and you were still injured. Is it your mindset that you always want to be on the court?
"At that moment I don't know if I was ready to play. Honestly, I would have played but coach wouldn't let me because he didn't think my leg was ready when our center went down. But definitely, I want to win. Sitting on the side watching my team lose at New Mexico was real tough when I was injured so I was trying to get back as soon as possible. That's always my mindset, whatever I can do to help the team win I'll do it."

How well do you know the Pacers?
"I've watched the NBA since I was young. I could probably tell you the starting lineups for a lot of different teams around the league. Just as well, I know the Pacers. Last year no one thought they'd make the playoffs but they made it anyway with all of the things that were going on. I think that's a tribute to the organization and coaching staff that they did go so far and that they'll do better next year."

Talk about how it will be to play with the Pacers.
"A lot of my friends told me I get to go play with Ron Artest and Jermaine O'Neal and stuff like that. It's really rewarding because I'm on a team that will make the playoffs next year and that will be even more experience for me. Sometimes if you get drafted really high to a losing team, you won't make the playoffs for two or three years. I'm definitely in a good situation."

Your junior year you put up better numbers than your senior year but you enjoyed your senior year more because you contributed to a winning team?
"I think winning is the ultimate goal. I had better numbers my junior year than my senior year but we were 14-14, right at .500. So I think winning, when you lose it gives you a feeling you really don't want to have. The whole purpose of an athlete is you want to compete at the highest level possible and if you are capable of winning that game you want to win that game. Winning is definitely what you're going after regardless of how many points you're scoring. If I don't score any points and we win the game, I'll be happy."

What colleges did you consider out of high school?
In high school I was more of an academic student so I wasn't that highly recruited. I was recruited a little bit by LSU and Tulane. I had an opportunity to go to Yale because I was at the top of my high school class. I had a chance to go to Columbia, schools like that and I was a civil engineer major so I ended up going to Bradley because it was one of the top civil engineering schools in the Midwest."

Were you a late bloomer in high school or were you unknown?
"I was a little unknown and a late bloomer. I think when I set my mind to learning something, when I focus on it, I pick it up a lot faster. When I turned my focus to basketball, while still trying to concentrate on academics but turning my focus my sophomore year, I actually tried to get better at basketball, practicing and everything, I started learning really, really fast. I started picking up things and I still haven't learned all that I can so I have a long way to go."

What are your plans between now and the summer league?
"Honestly, I don't know. I got a call yesterday saying I had to call the Pacers so I could fly in tomorrow morning so I'm just taking it day-by-day. After this is done today I'll find out but as of right now, I don't know."

Is it going to be helpful having your Dad in town living with you?
"Definitely, I don't know about living with me. (Laughs) He might live close by or something. But it will be nice to have my Dad around because he's always in my ear whether it's negative or positive."

How did being a Jehovah's Witness shape your life?
"I was raised in a Christian home, Jehovah's Christians. We weren't allowed to curse as kids, we were brought up in a really respectful way with really good values and that helped me coming along as a man because a lot of days some kids were brought up in the wrong way and luckily my parents brought me up the right way."

Where did you think you'd be drafted?
"I was thinking, along with a lot of other people apparently, that I wouldn't fall out of the lottery, as high as four and as low as 14 or something like that. But some people were saying 20 or whatever and there was a lot of speculation that Utah would take me but then Utah traded. I've learned that you don't believe what NBA people tell you. (Laughs) I've learned that along with a lot of other things. We all had a little conversation about it like `man, don't believe nothing they tell you, it's not true' so I'm just happy to be here. I'm glad it's all over with. It was a fun experience and I'm glad to be here."

What were you thinking as you dropped?
"Actually once it got out of the top 10, I was kind of hoping that we would get to the Pacers because when I came here to workout I loved it. I had no intention that I would actually fall that low and I would come here. But it was nice, I was sitting at the table with my agent and we got past 10 and once you get into that lower range it's not that big of a difference going 12 or 15, it really doesn't matter. My agent said he hoped I could go to the Pacers and I said I didn't know if I'd fall that low and he was like you might so I was like we'll see. So then we got to the 16th pick which was Toronto and I was like well the Pacers are right there so we were just praying that they (Toronto) wouldn't take me because we wanted to go to the Pacers and they took Joey (Graham) which is a friend of mine and the Pacers were next."

Did you feel like you were wasting your time at the workout?
"I didn't feel like I was wasting my time, I was happy. I got to meet Larry Bird; all my friends at home were tripping out about that. I didn't think I was wasting my time. I came in, did the workout, my agent was kind of skeptical about sending me because he thought I was going to go higher. But I thought the workout was good."

What do you think you do best?
"My game, I do a lot of things well. But that's what makes me special. I rebound, I block shots, I'm a pretty good passer, I can steal and I make three's. So I think I have the ability if my role isn't to score, I can do a lot of things to make the game. A lot of players, if they aren't scoring, they aren't making their presence felt on the court. But I think I can do that."

Will you have any motivation against the teams that passed you up?
"Maybe a little motivation but I don't really take it personal. Like you said, some teams drafting for me, some making a trade and have ulterior motives in their mind so I don't really take it as a personal issue. I may mark all the teams that went over me, I might circle that date on my calendar next year when we play them or something like that but don't really take it personal. I'm just going to take it at them no matter what."

Do you feel transferring to New Mexico ended up being a good thing in the long run?
"I think it was a great thing actually. I love New Mexico. I probably wouldn't have rather played in any other place. When I transferred I had an opportunity to go to a big conference like the Big 12 or the Big 10 but I chose New Mexico and I think it was the best decision of my life."

Even though you are a very nice guy off the court, you play with a bit of a mean streak on the floor. Where does that come from?
"It comes from my Dad. You have to play with some kind of chip on your shoulder in a game. I mean, once the ball stops bouncing and you're off the court, you should be friends again and leave it all on the court. But I think once you're on the court it's a competition, the weak don't survive. I think you have to go out and play your hardest and shake hands afterward, go out to dinner or something but while you're on the court you're competing."