Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Fernandez and Pritchard: Together again

If it weren't a Summer Olympics year, we'd be lobbing questions at Rudy Fernandez in person. But thanks to love of country, we had to settle for querying Rudy via conference call. Here's the audio for those of you who would like to hear your favorite members of the local media converse with Rudy.

You can also download the audio here.

I have to take my proverbial cap off to Rudy. Answering questions over the phone in a second language is a tough thing to do. He handled himself pretty well. A lot of guys might have relied solely on their translator. I know I would have.

Kevin Pritchard also spoke a bit before the conference call with some members of the television news media. Here's what he had to say.

On the post-draft events:
"Obviously there are some things that we still need to get ironed out with the draft, but I felt like we had a great draft. I’m excited about the summer, looking forward to Summer League, seeing some of these guys playing, but obviously the great news today is signing Rudy. It’s been long process involving many people including Mr. Allen, myself, Nate McMillan, our staff. It’s a great day for the organization."
On what Fernandez brings to the court:
"First of all, he’s a high energy player. I’m not sure if he’s going to be a starter but he has a chance to be. As we look at our team moving forward, we needed somebody to attack the basket and Rudy is really an attacker. He plays all out all the time. He’s exciting. He dives on balls. And he’s gotten better the last three years. When we got him at pick 25 last year we were so excited because we felt like he was a much better player than that. If you put him in this year’s draft, we think he was a top 10 player.

"He’s kind of a wild man out there. He’s willing to make a lot of plays. He takes chances. I call him an ‘X-factor.’ He can so some things that just not a lot of people can do in this league in making plays on both sides of the court. He makes shots and he’s got this really nice skill that he makes everybody around him better. You can never have too many of those."
On the perceived notion that European players struggle with defense:
"... if they don’t play any defense, I’m not sure how Spain is winning World Championships. They’re doing something right. Whether it’s offense or defense, they’re very effective. Rudy will have to improve in some areas, and I don’t want to put too much pressure on him early, but the thing I do know is he’s a talented kid. He’s absolutely what we’re about and this town is going to fall in love with him."
On the process of getting Rudy to sign with the Trail Blazers:
"Recruiting is normally though about in college, but it’s become more of an NBA program because a lot of times it’s the same money or the same process, so we’re excited. We did have to recruit Rudy. He had offers all over Europe for much more money. We know that he took a lesser deal to come play here in the NBA and that was his dream. But we still had to work through some things. Today is such a great day because it’s the culmination of a lot of people’s hard work."
On when Fernandez might make his first appearance in Portland:
"He’s started with the national team in the next week or so, then he goes to the Olympics to try and get the gold medal. And then I would imagine in early September we’ll see him in our practice facility. We can’t wait."

No comments: