Kings Media Day: Impressions

I had the good fortune of attending the Media Day Fracas at ARCO Arena today, along with Tom Ziller (or rather the person carrying the computer that calls itself T0M Z1ll3R), and our very own jjham15.  A lot of other people were there as well, Rob Small (aka rc360) of Sacramento Press, Zach Harper from Cowbell Kingdom, and of course Jason Jones.  All of them are great guys and it was nice meeting them in person finally.

The setup was a little annoying, as it was hard to get to talk to the players unless you noticed them really quickly.  Tyreke was surrounded really quickly, and knowing Tyreke, we didn't even bother to stick our cameras or voice recorders in there because we knew we'd barely hear anything anyway.  Still, I did get to talk to and hear from a lot of players so here are some of my impressions after the jump.  I have some video I shot as well that I'll probably post sometime later.

 

  • Marty McNeal is hilarious. I could spend this whole article just talking about watching him at Media Day.  Imagine in your mind the most stereotypical caricature of Marty Mac that you can think of, and you probably were more conservative than him in real life.  He's a good guy though, and as I said, hilarious.  He asked JT about the new technical foul rules, which got big laughs.  JT said he's gonna work on that by the way.
  • The Rookie Photoshoot lied. The Kings have not centered the numbers on the front of the jersey, they are still like they have been for the past few years.  
  • I didn't get a chance to speak to Omri, but I did have to turn around to hide my laughter when he walked by and she-who-shall-not-be-named locked on to him like a heat-seeking missile.
  • Speaking of JT, the guy looks and sounds like a veteran and leader.  He says all the right things about working together as a team and that youth won't be able to be an excuse for lack of success forever.  He mentioned that the team had a lot of close losses last year that were a result of inexperience, and he feels that this year they can win those games.  No excuses was the theme coming from JT.  He's also growing these badass mutton chops to go with goatee.  
  • Donté doesn't feel that he grew taller over the summer like everyone said, and mostly attributes that to people just not seeing him for a while.  He also mentioned that he views his competition with Omri as good-natured, and that it will help the both of them grow as players.
  • Hassan Whiteside has gone from stringbean to the Incredible Hulk.  He said he's gained 25(!) pounds since Summer League, just by eating everything he can and lifting a lot of weights, and it really shows in a good way.  Its good too, because he knows he still has a lot of work to do, as once again his answer on what he needed to improve on was "everything".  Hassan looks and acts like a big kid, so I can see where some question his maturity, but I think its a good thing, and believe he'll quickly become a fan favorite.  He's showing he's a hard worker (he's been working all offseason on his game, especially with Shareef Abdur-Rahim) and he wears the #33 as reminder of where he was drafted and how he'll prove the doubters wrong.   I see a bright future ahead for Hassan.  It also looks like he's getting along with all his new teammates and he mentioned how he loves Sacramento, especially the weather.
  • Beno Udrih must have some sort of teleportation device or know how to apparate, because I would see him one moment, blink, and he'd be gone.  I don't know if anybody got a chance to speak with him.  I can confirm that he is not 5'11 though (sorry Kelly)
  • Pooh Jeter, however, is.  I felt weird that I was the same height as a Kings player.  I didn't get a chance to speak to him, but Donté was asked to give an impression of him and the first word that came out of his mouth was "Fast. Really Fast".  He also mentioned that its rare to see Pooh make a mistake on the court.  I have a good feeling about him, he could be exactly the type of sparkplug at the guard position we need. 
  • I only saw him walk by, but Darnell Jackson is a big, scary looking man.  I would not want to mess with him.
  • Carl is really excited about having the chance to play with his brother finally, as growing up they'd always be in a competition.  He also mentioned that he spent a lot of this summer trying to work on his defense, getting into the right stance and staying low rather than trying to defend with his arms.  He said that if he had to play the Small Forward position, his offensive game likely wouldn't change, but he'd need to become a better perimeter defender, because defensively is where position truly matters, so that's why he worked more on his perimeter defense.  He was also asked about his expiring contract, and he said it was too soon to go into details about that and re-signing, but he loves Sacramento.
  • Samuel Dalembert is huge (this is a running theme with our team this year, these guys do the City of Trees justice) and I didn't get a chance to speak with him as he was being led around for photo ops, but he did seem to have a  funny sense of humor, as he jokingly grabbed the back of his escort and ducked down while saying "Linebacker, Linebacker!" dodging through the media scrum.
  • Geoff Petrie likes the direction the team is going, and while he didn't go into specifics, he did mention that the team does have assets in their cap space and future picks to make moves in the future.  
  • Antoine Wright mentioned that he had worked on his three point shot this offseason, so as to hopefully not be a liability on that end of the court this year, and also that he feels like he can be a leader for this team, especially on the defensive end.
  • I talked to Francisco briefly, and when asked about his wrist he mentioned that it was feeling really good and that he was ready to be a leader on the court this season.  He also said that he'd be playing for the Dominican Republic next summer.
  • J.R. Giddens was very engaging to talk to, and mentioned that his time in Boston helped him grow as a player, especially with his work ethic from watching guys like Ray Allen and Kevin Garnett everyday.  He felt that the Kings were a good opportunity for him to showcase his game, as they need a player who can hit threes and also defend.  He wants to be that kind of sparkplug off the bench.
  • Donald Sloan was disappointed with his Summer League showing, but feels he can really improve.  He says he'll bring toughness when he's on the floor and he wants to be the type of guy who when he's in the game will dive for the loose balls and just play hard.  He also said that he'd beat Donté in a dunk contest if they ever went at it.
  • Luther Head and Joe Crawford continued with the theme of the Kings needing outside shooting.  I didn't get to hear much from them outside of that.  Connor Atchley was also interviewed and mentioned that he was different than the other bigs on the team in that he feels he can be a floor spacer with his outside shot.
  • DeMarcus was being led all over the place.  He looks slimmer than he did in Summer League.  I feel like a lot of the question marks with DMC were blown way out of proportion.  Dude is massive, but this isn't Oliver Miller. Not even close.
  • A guy with a news camera came up to me while we were talking to Jason Thompson and asked me if that was Tyreke Evans.  I paused a second before saying no, but I sort of wanted to say yes, just to see if he'd ask him any questions that would relate to Tyreke.  But come on man, Tyreke is plastered 100 feet tall on the side of the arena! (Although on the mural leading to the media entrance, he looks exactly like Kenny Thomas, no joke)
Well thats all I can think of for now.  If I can think of anything else later I'll throw it in the comments. Overall this is an extremely engaging and likable group of guys, and I can't wait till the season starts so I can start rooting for them on the court again.  The mood surrounding the team is all positive, and they feel that through working hard they can achieve great things.  Its a good time to be a Kings fan.
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