NBA Summer League Interview: Rudy Gay

NBA Summer League Interview: Rudy Gay
Jul 10, 2007, 05:29 am
Matthew Modderno Have you set any goals for this season? Whether are they individually or as a team?

Rudy Gay Of course, there a couple of things I want to address this year just like their were last year. A couple more things I want to work on and get better at. Someday I want to be one of the best guys in the league. Right now I’m doing well, but I’m not one of the best in the league. For now I’m just trying to be one of the good players.

Matthew Modderno What were some of those things you wanted to address last year?

Rudy Gay I wanted to start out well and have a productive rookie season. I wanted to go out and try and be dominate for my team.

Matthew Modderno Some people have questioned your assertiveness and consistency; do you think you put that to rest with a strong rookie season?

Rudy Gay Like I said, there were things I wanted to address and that was definitely one of them. I wanted people to know I could do the things you need to play at this level. I feel that I’ve proven I can be as aggressive as it takes.

Matthew Modderno You showed a mean streak the other day with the two dunks on Yi Jianlian, is that something we will see more of from Rudy Gay this year?

Rudy Gay Yeah I’d say so, minus the technical afterwards of course. That’s just me going out and be more aggressive. If people have questioned that aspect in the past, I won’t give them reason to in the future.

Matthew Modderno What were some highlights of being an NBA rookie?

Rudy Gay Well I think being in the rookie All-Star game. That was kind of a big thing for me. It was just a lot of fun and I enjoyed it a lot. You can learn a good deal from being a part of something like that and being around those other guys.

Another big deal was just making it through the season; you know it’s a long time. It can really take a toll on you. So looking back, just making it through was a big step.

Matthew Modderno On that note, you have to feel pretty good about staying healthy right?

Rudy Gay Oh yeah, definitely; staying healthy is one of the most important factors to trying to have a good season. You can’t make an impact if you aren’t on floor. That’s where conditioning and being in shape can come into play.

Matthew Modderno With that said, what was the transition like going from 20, 30 games in high school and college to 80 some games in the pros?

Rudy Gay Actually its something more like 90 games. We start out and we play preseason and things like that. It’s just a really long season in general. It can be a tough environment too. The trick is to just be ready to go. You have to be able to just fight through it.

Matthew Modderno A common claim from players is that a lot of times practices can be more grueling than playing those 90 games. Is that true?

Rudy Gay Certainly, on game days you have a lot more time on your hands. During practice, guys are working hard to take spots. A guy can be out there trying to outperform another guy and take his spot. That can be the tough thing about practice. You have guys on your own team who are playing their hardest to help their cause. On game day you get time to yourself and then you just have to go out and put together all those things you worked on during practice.

Matthew Modderno What do u look forward to going into this season?

Rudy Gay Going into this year, I just want to improve on what I did last year. I did good last year, I was one of the top rookies but now I need to get to that next level. So for me, it’s just continuing to get better.

Matthew Modderno Are you going to try and beat the rookies in the Rookie-Sophomore game this year?

Rudy Gay For sure, we are definitely going to try and beat them. We kind of got a little embarrassed this year. This is our chance to pick on this year’s rookie class just a little bit.

Matthew Modderno After seeing some of the early summer league results, who are the guys you think will make a big impact out of this year’s rookie class?

Rudy Gay I think the obvious two are Durant and Oden. Other than that, I think this was a really deep draft so anything could happen and any number of guys could go out and have a great year.

Matthew Modderno Going off that, what are your first impressions of Mike Conley Jr.?

Rudy Gay Well he’s got “it.” He seems like he has what it takes to be a very good point guard in this league if he continues to work at it.

Matthew Modderno Who are some other guys on your summer league roster that could have a big impact for the Grizzlies this year?

Rudy Gay I think Tarence Kinsey, definitely. As well as Alexander Johnson who missed a lot of time last year with injuries. He’s worked on his game a lot and is ready to do big things this year I think.

Matthew Modderno What is your specific position, small forward?

Rudy Gay That one of the things about me, I think I can do whatever my team needs me to do. Whether that’s play small forward or power forward. I can do a lot of different things and that’s where my versatility comes into play.

Matthew Modderno The Grizzlies have a good amount of depth in the position that you play. How will guys like Alexander Johnson and Hakim Warrick fit in along side you?

Rudy Gay Well the thing is, they are strictly power forwards. I can play power forward for my team if that is what the situation calls for. If we need a dominate power forward at a certain time we will probably go with one of those guys. But if we want to run I can step in and play some power forward.

Matthew Modderno What do you think of new coach Iavaroni so far?

Rudy Gay I really like what he is doing with the team. He’s definitely trying to bond with us and become a great coach in this league. We are going to try and run some more this year. We also hope to surprise some people with our level of defense.

Matthew Modderno What does Memphis need to do to make the playoffs this year?

Rudy Gay Playoffs is something that I think is in the near future for us. What we need to do is basically just grow up. We couldn’t finish off games really well. We struggled toward the end but that is because of all our young players. If we can just grow up and we can take the next step. We do have a lot of veteran leadership as well though. Damon Stoudamire, Mike Miller, Stromile Swift, those guys have been in the league for a while. They had guys teach them things, and now they can tell us a lot.

Matthew Modderno It’s been said by some of your critics that your skill level hasn’t caught up to your athletic ability yet, what are your thoughts on that?

Rudy Gay Well I think that is true of a lot of guys in my situation. As far as things like basketball IQ, that’s all stuff you can learn. I learn something new during every game. I try and do things like watch a lot of film to build on that. To prepare for an opponent we watch a lot of tape and just scout how the guys play and how they perform. If I know how they play, I can do a lot more as far as trying to limit their touches and things like that.

Matthew Modderno What was it like to play for Jim Calhoun and to play at UCONN?

Rudy Gay From coach Calhoun, I learned how to play through the pain. He was good at that, a really good motivator. He helped me work on that and its something I did this year and it I will carry with me throughout my career.

Playing for such a talented team was fun but it was hard at the same time. Everyone on our team was at an NBA level. Sometimes there weren’t enough balls to go around up there. It was tough on certain days but like I said it was also fun. Practices were kind of crazy because all the guys were so good it was almost like playing in a real game.

Matthew Modderno Almost 11 points and 4.5 rebounds per game are pretty good numbers for a 1st year player, were you satisfied with your play in your first year numbers.

Rudy Gay I’m never satisfied, there is always something else you can work on. You can always go out and build on something.

Matthew Modderno In five years what kind of numbers is Rudy Gay going to put up?

Rudy Gay In five years, I think I can be a twenty and ten type player.

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