By Tyler Zeller, Cleveland Cavaliers
Monday, Oct. 1, 2012 — Training camp starts today. I’m a little nervous because it’s my first one, and I’ve heard they are very intense. But, I’m also excited to get going and see what I’m up against and what I need to work on to get better. I do already have an idea, but I am eager to find out for myself and see where I fit in on the team.
Since I got to Cleveland, my schedule with the team has been mostly Monday through Friday and then off on the weekends. We lift, then play, then do a miniworkout. Being as young as we are, majority of our team has been here all summer and it’s been great so far.
We have a really good core of four or five coaches that work with us every day. I am getting to know them and they are getting to know my game, too. Working with them has been cool because they each have different insights and help us with different things. It’s also been fun getting to know my teammates and learning from them. We are a young group, and we all work together to help each other out.
I moved into my apartment in Cleveland about a month ago. I stayed in North Carolina part of the summer living in my college apartment. My two roommates were there studying for their CPA exams, and since I didn’t know at the end of last school year where I’d be moving yet, we decided to hang on to the apartment until last month.
My apartment here is very convenient, around the corner from the gym. Currently, my living room is full of boxes on the floor, with a chair in the middle of the room. I have a TV, thankfully … or else I’d be bored out of mind. I’m enjoying living alone for the first time. The tough part is not having people waking up at the same time as me; I worry a little bit about oversleeping. But it’s nice coming home to a quiet apartment after you’ve been playing all day.
I don’t know the area too well yet, but I have found the important places, like Target and the grocery store. We have a chef at the gym, so breakfast and lunch are provided. For dinner, I’m on my own. Sometimes I get lazy and throw a frozen pizza in the oven, other times I try to cook. I do a lot with hamburger meat and eggs, my special ingredients. I tried to make pancakes for the first time a couple weeks ago, which was interesting. I didn’t believe it only takes two minutes to cook a pancake. The first one was perfect, but I fried the second one because I insisted on waiting three or four minutes!
When I’m out in the city, people seem to recognize me quickly, no matter where I go. It’s kind of cool how strong the Cleveland fan base is … and being a 7-footer, there’s not a lot of hiding that goes on!
Distinxion Camp Comes To Cleveland
This past Saturday was a special day. We held a Distinxion/Cavs camp here in Cleveland. Distinxion is a program that my family started about three years ago in Indiana. Basically, we are trying to provide positive role models and environments to kids so that they can learn about life values and character. One of our mottos is that we are trying to make better basketball players, as well as better people.
We had almost 40 kids attend on Saturday, and it was a lot of fun. We try to keep it a smaller, more personal group so that we can interact with as many kids as possible. We talk about different things, like making a first impression and shaking a person’s hand while looking in their eye. We do a skit about dinner table manners. Then we have two trainers who run the drills. My mom was there, and we had one of the Cavs’ pro scouts come in, which was cool. My teammates have been asking how the camp went; I thought it was cool they really cared about it.
But for now, my focus is on basketball. I’m ready to get training camp going!
Tyler Zeller, a 7-footer from North Carolina, was the 17th player taken in the 2012 NBA Draft. He and Duke’s Shane Battier (2001) are the only Atlantic Coast Conference players to earn ACC Player of the Year and Academic All-America in the same season.
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