NBA Rooks: Diaries … Khris Middleton

By Khris Middleton, Detroit Pistons

Hoops Update

We are well into the second half of the season, and I  feel like I am really part of the Detroit community. The fans here are great and have supported me since day one. It’s especially nice because sometimes when I see fans out at a restaurant or in a store, they’ll stop me to tell me I’m doing a good job, to keep working and that they love me. It’s a great feeling.

My confidence is great right now, and that’s mostly because of my teammates. They have been telling me all season long that my time will come and to be ready.  Teammates Corey Maggette, Greg Monroe and Jason Maxiell have been especially supportive. Everyone on the team has chipped in and been there for me during some challenging periods of the season. My coaches have always recognized what I can do, and they see that I can also do the things they want me to do on the court. If they feel like I’m having a good game and in a good rhythm, they will leave me out there on the court. When I’m in the game, I’ll do whatever it takes to help my team win the game.

I think I’ve improved my overall game throughout the season. I try to work out as much as I can and am always trying to find ways to improve. I am constantly working with the Pistons trainers and coaches, especially Dee Brown and Steve Hetzel, who help me work on certain moves that will make my game more efficient. They also give me workouts to do before and after practices, and before and after games. I am focusing a lot on my strength training and know that in order to continue to play on a higher level in the NBA, I need to get stronger.

Off the court, the coaches talk to me about the importance of being prepared and making sure I eat right. Before I got to the NBA, when I was hungry I would go to McDonald’s and get a burger or some chicken nuggets. Now, I try to eat healthier. Instead of fast food, I’ll cook up some fish or stop by a restaurant and pick up something healthy. I really don’t like cooking that much, but it’s something I have to do sometimes!

Right now, I am starting to feel the wear and tear a little bit from an 82-game season. Playing in the NBA is very different on your body than college basketball, mostly in terms of the travel schedule and number of games. Even though it doesn’t look like we are going to make the playoffs, I am staying positive. I am continuing to work on my game and also looking ahead to next year

March Madness

I did do a bracket, but I had Georgetown winning the whole thing and since they got knocked out in the first round, my bracket isn’t doing too great! My college Texas A&M didn’t make the Tournament, so I am watching the games as a regular fan this year. The games have been exciting and great to watch!

I am really impressed by Florida Gulf Coast. A couple of their players are playing really hard and are very athletic. They are definitely an impressive team right now. LaSalle also shocked everybody just by winning that first game. Of course, the most disappointing moment for me was the Georgetown loss because I had them winning it all! I’m definitely trying watch as many games as I can – it’s win or go home. I just love watching as a fan!

A lot of my teammates have played on the national college stage before, so we are having a lot of funny conversations about the Tournament. The biggest smack talker was probably Greg Monroe until Georgetown lost, and then he quieted down! Now it’s probably Jose Calderon. He did a bracket and had no idea who he was picking, and now his bracket is better than everybody else’s.

If I have to make a prediction now, I’m going with Duke to win it all – they have a good team from top to bottom. If you want to hear more about my thoughts on March Madness, follow me on Twitter @Khris22m and instagram at k_mid32

Khris Middleton is a 6-foot-7 forward from Texas A&M. He was selected by the Pistons with the ninth pick of the second round in the 2012 NBA Draft.

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