“I had the best of almost every world. I had Isaiah Austin who’s a skills guy. Rico was a bruiser. Taurean was a pick and pop guy. Cory Jefferson who was an athlete who could catch lobs and run the floor. I had the best of every world. I had no choice but to get better every day or I was gonna get killed in practice.”
"...I just wanted to give myself a chance again and I feel like right now is a really good opportunity to do so.”
...36 teams across three leagues in Orlando, Utah and Las Vegas play a week (Orlando), four days (Utah) and 11 days (Vegas) of high-octane, helter skelter and frankly, extremely entertaining basketball.
“You learn different things about guys from different countries. Throughout the season you’ll hear them talk about their country. Basketball brings us all together. One game can do that. It’s pretty special how it works.”
“You do this, then you go to the summer league, then hopefully you go to training camp then hopefully get a contract. So it’s all part of the D-League process.
“The fans are what the team is all about. Without the fans there is no team.
"I thought that was the biggest thing in developing players and the mission statement I thought of our organization was one that we met. That is developing players, being an integral part of the community and winning. I thought we were able to accomplish all three of those things. When you accomplish goals that you set out, it becomes a very satisfying thing.”
“I think it’s pretty cool, in either win or loss they come down to show us love. A lot of places you don’t get that. With shoes, a lot of the younger guys kind of know what I’m about off the court. Shoes are a big deal for me and I don’t mind giving them away, especially when a kid wants them and he likes what I do on the court. If he thinks he can play like me with my shoes, I think that’s pretty dope.”
“He’s easily the best big in the league,” Jackson says of his teammate. “He’s making my life easier. Setting good screens and I’m able to get in the paint and drop it off to him and he’s scoring with ease. You got guys double teaming him now, that’s a huge compliment.”
“My job is to be great in the post,” says Warney. “My teammates put me in great positions to succeed. The coaching staff has great plays for me to get the ball where I want to. At the end of the day, it’s all about me being aggressive and ultimately making shots.”
Like the handful of games on their own floor, this would be the team’s longest trip away from home all season, surpassing a five game roadie in December.
“During the game I don’t keep track of (blocks), I honestly don’t,” says the Gabon, Africa native. “Unless my teammates say something, I don’t track them. I just react to people going for layups and read defenses. I don’t really keep track of the count or anything like that.”
When I’m at home we get assistance from the interns (the do-it-all duo of Chris Blakeley/Dustin Berthold). Obviously they’re a huge help whether it’s getting some of the basic things down or grabbing supplies from time to time. Sometimes you’re one person filling multiple roles versus having a full-fledged staff at other levels.”
“We both like movies,” Andre points out. “When movies come out we like to go see them. That’s something we do a lot. Logan was pretty good!”
“Get Out was good, too!” J.J. chimes in.
Andre excitedly agrees. “I love movies, I love movies. We’ll probably go see King Kong (Kong: Skull Island) soon.”
“It was fun,” Dawkins says. “My teammates were finding me, kept feeding me and I was able to get open. Guys were setting good screens for me. It makes my job easy, I just have to catch and shoot it most of the time. I think we played a good game all-around. It’s fun to get out there and just play a real solid 48 minutes.”
“The team knew I had 18 rebounds and they wanted me to go back in,” Warney says through a smile almost as big as his performance. “I got the first rebound so easily, it’s always the hardest thing to get the last rebound. As you could see in the last two minutes I’m running all over the court to try to get the rebound.”
"One of the biggest things you can do is control what you can control."
“I think every basketball player should know what they’re really good at and make it perfect, and then focus on everything after."
“All the guys are really coming together, playing together and sticking as a unit so we can win and finish the season out well. We’ve had this group for a few weeks, things are really flowing now.”
“At this level this is probably my best stretch of basketball I’ve played. I’m trusting the process, practicing and it’s finally great to get over the rust I had from my injuries. This is my best basketball of the season so it’s a pretty nice feeling.”