Tags Posts tagged with "Craig Smith"

Craig Smith

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Goodbye, Kevin Garnett, Traded to the Boston Celtics, Minnesota
Kevin Maurice Garnett is an American professional basketball power forward and center with the Brooklyn Nets of the National Basketball Association (NBA). Photo: shutterstock.com
Today I got the unimaginable news that Kevin Garnett was traded to the Boston Celtics. Being out here in Minnesota and hearing this news was interesting because it is the most talked about thing in almost every circle in which I move. Friends from out of state are emailing me about it. A non-sports radio station “wished Kevin safe travels to Boston” tonight at 10pm while I was driving home.

Here are a few memories of the Kevin Garnett that I know. This is the side that the public doesn’t see every day.

One Cardinal rule in our locker room is this: Never wear gear from another NBA team. So when our new assistant trainer from Oklahoma had a Dallas Mavericks screensaver on his cellphone, Kevin Garnett found it and enforced the penalty. When I say penalty, Kevin made him sprint two hundred yards from our team bus to a pickup truck parked in the distance and then yell out “I love the Timberwolves!” three times.

When Craig Smith came into practice wearing some Golden State Warriors practice shorts, Kevin brought out the entire team and had Craig go to center court and hold up the shorts and say “I will never wear these shorts again,” while he held the shorts up and walked around three times. Everyone was laughing. Craig was laughing too. KG loves Craig on and off the court. I’ve never seen a rookie big man like Craig come in and win over the trust and confidence of Kevin so quickly.

Our offense calls for two “big men” to be on the court at the same time and it takes quite a while to learn all of the defensive rotations. Kevin Garnett expects nothing short of perfection on defense. Mark Blount is one of the smartest veteran centers in the NBA and he and Kevin read each other all the time. Where I have been impressed with Craig is that he’s beyond his years on defense. On offense, he’s been tearing up the other team’s interior and scoring in bunches. But in some ways he’s been even better on defense.

But getting back to the theme of this blog. I never thought Kevin Garnett would be apprehended by our own locker room fashion police. But it did happen a few months ago. It all started after practice one day when a few of us got into the locker room to shower and get ready to go home. KG was still down in the weight room lifting weights. Rashad McCants went over to Kevin’s locker and pulled out his shoes and put them out for everyone to see. “What the heck are these?” Rashad said as he pointed to Kevin’s shoes. As everyone looked down to Kevin’s locker we were shocked to see that his shoes had the words “Portland Trailblazers” alongside the Trailblazers logo! All of this was of course in Trailblazer red and black colors!

I’ve never seen so many guys so excited to bust Kevin’s chops. When Kevin finally got up to the locker room he walked in and saw his shoes out for everyone to see. Kevin busted out smiling and yelled out, “Who was in my locker! I don’t know who was in my locker!” Rashad stood up and called out, “I peeped it out when you walked in here this morning!” Trenton Hassell was having a field day. “Throw those shoes in the trash” he yelled out. It was my job to take the shoes and stomp on them and then take them to the garbage can. Kevin was laughing so hard. I guess Adidas had sent out a bunch of walking shoes to Kevin and the shoes all had logos of different NBA teams.

Kevin told us how he had gotten up that morning and tried on the Portland shoes and that they had looked good. So he asked his wife “What do you think? Can I wear these in to practice?”

“Well Kevin, I don’t think so. I mean, the Trailblazers are in your conference and you play against them, right?….” she said.

Kevin decided to wear the shoes in anyway and explained how he “had pushed his jeans down over the Trailblazers logo and walked into the locker room really quickly.” He even showed us how he had pushed his shoes way to the back of his locker area under his chair so that none of us would see the shoes. Well, nothing gets past Rashad fashion wise. We had a good laugh that day. But the story didn’t end there. Trenton Hassell called out:

“Man I’m going to use those shoes…..I’m getting them out of the garbage can. I’ve got my guy in Chattangooga Tennesse and he’s 6’10” and wears size fourteen too!”

————–

Back to a serious note. Kevin Garnett is one of the mot loyal individuals I have ever met in my life. We’re all gong to miss him and we all wish him well.

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Happy Thanksgiving, Holiday, Minnesota, Ricky Davis, Oklahoma City, St. Louis Park
Thanksgiving Day (Jour de l'Action de grâce in Canadian French) is a national holiday celebrated primarily in the United States and Canada as a day of giving thanks for the blessing of the harvest and of the preceding year. Photo: shutterstock.com
Thanksgiving has always been one of my favorite Holidays. Last year I had my brother and his wife living in St. Louis Park in Minnesota, but this year they took off to germany for a fellowship as he is a doctor. I’m headed over to Ricky Davis’ house for Turkey day and I’m looking forward to it. I just hope that Ricky isn’t the one cooking the Turkey and the stuffing. He can shoot the three and go to the hole with the best in the world, but I’d never trust him to cook me anything….maybe that’s why he has a full time chef! No, but in seriousness, Ricky is having a lot of us over to his house that don’t have family in the area so we are all grateful for his hospitality. I’ll be sure to let you’all know how the food is!

We beat the Knicks last night, and so many guys on the team played well. Mark Blount had a huge game even though he only played about 18 minutes due to foul trouble. Blount is one of the true professionals in the NBA. He is always at practice early working on his shooting and he stays late with KG to shoot some more. Once again, Craig Smith continues to be a dominant force in the paint. Tonight he had a monster dunk in the second half that reminded me of Charles Barkley. I’m still shocked that we got Craig in the second round. He’s going to have a very long and storied career in the NBA because he is a GREAT player but more importantly he is a great human being.

The thing I’m most grateful for today is for the blessing of family. I’ve got the two greatest parents in the world and nine siblings and we’re all close. Of my six married siblings, there’s sixteen neices and nephews so the things I’m going to miss most today is hanging out with them and messing around playing some games and stuff. At 6pm I’ll be on a flight w/ the rest of the team going down to play against the Oklahoma City Hornets!

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Craig Smith
Craig Smith!
Last night against the Chicago Bulls I think that we showed some flashes of what is to come. First of all, Craig Smith threw down a thunderous dunk in the first have that had people on the bench remembering what Charles Barkley used to do on the court. Craig Smith has had a phenomenal training camp and pre-season. Trenton Hassell compared Craig’s jump hook to the way Antawn Jamison is able to score on much taller defenders using the same un-blockable shot. Craig and I have become good friends. I didn’t realize it, but he was in High School at Fairfax High in Los Angeles at the same time that I was in my first few NBA seasons with the Lakers. I think that Craig is going to be a big time contributor this season as a rookie and it is clear that we got a steal by getting him in the Second round of the draft. One of the reasons why Craig slipped is because he had a wrist injury around draft time and he wasn’t able to workout for teams so they didn’t want to take the risk. The funny thing is that I’ve had a similar wrist surgery and the only bad thing about it is that it just takes a long time to get better (3-6 months). Once it’s better though, you are as good as new.

We’re staying in “The Lodge” hotel close to Moline, IL and on the border of Iowa getting ready for our game tonight. Every time we get close to Iowa, Fred Hoiberg always sings the same tune: “Iowa is the best state in the union.” Freddy, I like Iowa too, but I just hope that Iowa State doesn’t have to face Stanford in the NCAA tournament!

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Training Camp, Craig Smith, Randy Foye, NBA Players, Glen Taylor, Newcomer
We have just finished day #2 of training camp and how good our two new rookies are. Photo: shutterstock.com
We have just finished day #2 of training camp and most of us are exhausted. The biggest surprise so far to me is just how good our two new rookies are. Randy Foye is a scoring guard who seems to be able to go around anyone on the perimeter at will. Craig Smith is a beast. Craig is about 270 pounds and he is really light on his feet and he scores really well inside with both hands. It’s hard to think of who you might be able to compare Craig Smith to. Part of me wants to compare him to Charles Barkley, but I think a comparison to Elton Brand could be a good one too. As far as Randy Foye, I would compare him to Baron Davis or Chauncey Billups. Both of our rookies are extremely strong and continue to impress everyone.

Our first day here in Mankato started with having an awesome dinner at our team owner’s house (Glen Taylor) in Mankato. Glen has really done a lot of interesting things with his life. The one thing he told us at our meeting was that if we ever wanted to just crash and get away from our hotel in Mankato that we could go over to his house anytime and crash, watch TV, play video games, etc. I’ve never heard of a team owner giving an open invitation to his home to his team of NBA players but it was well received by the team. The only problem is that none of us has been able to take him up on it because we are going two practices a day and we mostly just try to recuperate at the hotel between practices.

During our first team meeting, newcomer, Mike James told the entire team something like, “We’re all grown men here….if somebody has a problem go to the person directly and say what’s on your mind and let the repurcussions follow.” Mike is a GREAT guy to be around and has been playing really well.

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Training Camp, Craig Smith, Randy Foye, NBA Players, Glen Taylor, Newcomer
We have just finished day #2 of training camp and how good our two new rookies are. Photo: shutterstock.com
We have just finished day #2 of training camp and most of us are exhausted. The biggest surprise so far to me is just how good our two new rookies are. Randy Foye is a scoring guard who seems to be able to go around anyone on the perimeter at will. Craig Smith is a beast. Craig is about 270 pounds and he is really light on his feet and he scores really well inside with both hands. It’s hard to think of who you might be able to compare Craig Smith to. Part of me wants to compare him to Charles Barkley, but I think a comparison to Elton Brand could be a good one too. As far as Randy Foye, I would compare him to Baron Davis or Chauncey Billups. Both of our rookies are extremely strong and continue to impress everyone.

Our first day here in Mankato started with having an awesome dinner at our team owner’s house (Glen Taylor) in Mankato. Glen has really done a lot of interesting things with his life. The one thing he told us at our meeting was that if we ever wanted to just crash and get away from our hotel in Mankato that we could go over to his house anytime and crash, watch TV, play video games, etc. I’ve never heard of a team owner giving an open invitation to his home to his team of NBA players but it was well received by the team. The only problem is that none of us has been able to take him up on it because we are going two practices a day and we mostly just try to recuperate at the hotel between practices.

During our first team meeting, newcomer, Mike James told the entire team something like, “We’re all grown men here….if somebody has a problem go to the person directly and say what’s on your mind and let the repurcussions follow.” Mike is a GREAT guy to be around and has been playing really well.