Posts Tagged ‘NBA Rooks’

NBA Rooks: Diaries … Elfrid Payton


VIDEO: Elfrid Payton gets the steal and slam against the Sixers

By Elfrid Payton, for NBA.com

Hey, everyone! This is my first blog for NBA.com since getting drafted in June. I think I’ve been adjusting to the new NBA lifestyle pretty well. All of the older guys on my team have been giving me little bits and pieces of advice on how to stay fresh and survive the long season. Taking care of your body becomes even more important when you’re in the NBA. Stretching, icing, eating right and getting enough sleep all make a difference.

The main difference between college life and the NBA life is figuring out the best way to manage my time. I don’t go to class or write papers anymore, so I have way more free time than I’ve ever had before. Staying in a routine becomes very important to accomplish everything during the day. Otherwise, I’ll let the day slip away from me.

The speed of the game in the NBA is way faster than in college. You get away with certain things in college because you’re usually more skilled or athletic than the guy guarding you, but your tendencies get exposed in the NBA. I already started to work on fixing some of my bad habits over the past few months that I can’t get away with at this level. I’ve learned so much over the past few weeks, so hopefully I can continue to learn throughout the course of the year.

Having another rookie with me helps make things easier along the way. Aaron Gordon is a great teammate and friend, so we go through the process together and have become very close. Going through struggles with somebody makes you closer, so it’s been nice to learn with Aaron so far this year. We push each other every day to stay focused and learn as much as we can. As rookies, you can’t let anyone outwork you, so we try to make sure we aren’t getting outworked. We want to be a part of something special in Orlando, and I think our team has a lot of really good pieces and can win a lot of games.

[Editor’s note: Gordon suffered a broken foot last Saturday and is now out indefinitely.]

First Game

My first NBA game came against the Pelicans back in my home town of New Orleans. I decided not to go back to my house and spend a whole lot of time running around my hometown. I wanted to stay focused on why I was there — to win! Everyone asked me how nervous I was to be playing my first game back home. I really was not more nervous during my first game than any other I’ve played. I just wanted to win and start the season off the right way.

Once the ball went up to start the game, all nerves were gone. I definitely enjoyed playing in front of my family and friends, but I wish we came away with the win. I’ll remember the experience of playing my first game in my hometown for the rest of my life. The NBA has the best talent in the world, so being able to compete against these guys every night is a real blessing.

Thanks for reading my first diary. In the meantime, follow me on twitter to get updates throughout the season @elfrid.

NBA Rookies: Autograph Hunters

ALL BALL NERVE CENTER — A few weeks ago, the NBA gathered all of this season’s incoming rookies here in the New York area for a few days of seminars as part of the Rookie Transition Program. The goal of the classes is to educate and inform, as the young players learn about how to handle various situations they may encounter.

But before the classes started, we began by having a little fun. At the Rookie Photo Shoot at the Knicks’ practice facility in Tarrytown, New York, we corralled as many rookies as we could and asked them some unconventional questions in order to find out the inside stuff.

We’ll roll out videos the next few days. Today’s question: Who is the most famous person you’ve ever asked for an autograph?
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NBA Rooks: Diaries … John Henson



By John Henson, Milwaukee Bucks

Nov. 1, 2012 — These past few months have been a complete whirlwind for me.  Adjusting to independence (i.e. cooking, cleaning, banking, etc.) in a brand new city has taken some getting used to, but I’m getting there.  I wasn’t sure what to expect when I arrived in Milwaukee after spending most of my life in the South. But I can honestly say that I love it here.  The city, the Bucks fans and the lifestyle are awesome.

Thankfully, living away from home during my three years in Chapel Hill, combined with my parents’ guidance, helped prepare me for my professional career off the court.  But the NBA’s Rookie Transition Program (RTP) over the summer was four days of learning life skills that have already helped me tackle the business of professional basketball.

Imagine waking up tomorrow and going to work in your dream job.  Whether it is a doctor, a pilot, a teacher, an actor, business owner or an athlete.  There is no feeling in the world like it and I’m so fortunate to be where I am today.  This is the exact thought that went through my head when I sat down for the RTP — I was soaking everything in.  Being among my friends, former teammates and other guys I’ll be seeing on an NBA court this year.  It was surreal.  I wanted to know everything about what it takes to be successful in my new career and the RTP filled every gap of every question that I had. (more…)

NBA Rooks: Diaries … Tyler Zeller




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.

Moving Day

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.

Check All Ball throughout the season for more NBA Rooks: Diaries …