McLemore and McCallum dish on preparing for their Summer League debut. Plus, Coach Malone provides a mini-camp assessment and goals for Saturday’s game.
After seven practices in 3.5 days – filled with competitive drills and spirited scrimmages – Kings players and coaches collectively look forward to the team’s first Summer League contest on Saturday.
“I’m really excited – this is something I’ve watched since I was a little kid,” said rookie Ray McCallum. “(I’m) finally here to have the opportunity to play in it (and I’m) going to make the best of it. I feel like we have a great team and (we’re) just ready to go out there, see what we have and just try to win this (Summer League championship).”
No. 3 – who directed the offense as the team’s primary ball-handler throughout mini-camp – is ready to seize the opportunity in front of him after working closely with the Kings coaching staff.
“I think I’ve really come in here and tried to take leadership of the team – it’s my job, being the point guard – and just really tried to pick up on everything they’re hitting us with,” said McCallum. “It’s a lot of new terminology. I have to pick up on it quickly … I have to know where everyone is on the floor, and just during practice, going on the side and talking to them has been helping me a lot.”
Fellow first-year standout Ben McLemore believes scrupulously studying offensive and defensive sets, as well as developing team chemistry throughout morning and evening sessions, has prepared Sacramento for game action.
“We put a lot of work in these four days in practices to learn a lot of new stuff,” said No. 16. “I think we’re ready and prepared for the first game.”
Reflecting on his team’s improvement since Day 1 of mini-camp, Head Coach Michael Malone characterized the progress as “tremendous.”
“When you take 15 individuals coming from all different places, you bring them in, now you have a completely new staff, new terminology, new philosophy – so the first couple of days was a lot of drill work, a lot of teaching and when we started to play live basketball early it was very sloppy,” said Malone. “But now, you go into (Friday’s) practice, and they have an understanding of what we’re about, what our terminology is, what we’re looking for. They’ve bought in (and) they’ve given great effort.”
More so than coming out victorious, Malone hopes Sacramento’s defensive identity and main objectives from the prior four days carry over into Saturday’s matchup against Dallas.
“More importantly for us is to get all these guys – especially Ben and Ray – to understand we’re going to defend, we’re going to rebound, we’re going to run with discipline and we’re going to value the basketball,” said the Kings leader. “All the other stuff will take care of itself … winning will take care of itself.”
– During Sacramento’s final mini-camp tune-up, Assistant Coach and Summer League Team Head Coach Chris Jent focused on reviewing potential defensive schemes and implementing several new play calls.
“We wanted to go over a couple of scenarios we hadn’t seen yet … playing against Dallas, they’ve shown some zones, so we wanted to go over that a little bit,” said Jent. “We added a couple of plays – last-second shots for a two or a three, just so it’s familiar because the timeouts are so short.”
– The Kings tip-off 2013 Summer League competition Saturday at 3 p.m. against the Mavericks.
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– On Friday, the Kings released Shane Gibson, Chris Evans and Ashley Hamilton. The team’s Summer League roster now stands at 12 players.