The following questions were ones that I asked either one-on-one or within the media scrums (no different than the formats of previous Q/A's). For additional questions and answers, feel free to visit the Orlando Magic's site or the Orlando Sentinel's site to hear the additional commentary from the coaches and players.
How was the Eurobasket? I know that Poland, your nation, lost but what was the experience like being able to play in your own country?
Great experience playing against a lot of guys, the best centers, and the best players in Europe. Probably had the strongest team in the history of Poland and we just didn't use our chance. We've been missing a lot of things with our team. We made it to the second round, although we lost. A lot of experience. I've been playing a different role this time. I was kind of a leader for this team, mentally on the floor and in the locker room so I learned a lot about being a leader too. It's not an easy job. I can understand Dwight now, a little bit, and what kind of situation he is in. I was just trying to do my job and obviously coming after two years in the NBA when you're a rebounder, a shot blocker, and a pick & roll player and you go into the Eurobasket where you got to get 20 points for the team then it's not easy but I was trying to do my job. I guess I did a pretty solid job.
You stated before that you wanted to work on your offensive game during the summer. Were you able to do that during the Eurobasket?
Oh yeah, being able to get 15-20 balls a game in Poland and people tell you to do whatever you want to do and you work on your game.
Were you trying to work on your perimeter game a little bit?
Yes, definitely. That was the main thing and I was working on my shooting skills so I believe I can help this team [Orlando] a little bit more now and I want to be able to score in many different ways.
You talk a little bit about your leadership qualities with Poland. Do you think you'll be more vocal now with the Magic?
Vocal, yeah definitely vocal. I'm going to try to lead this team as a defender, help the guys as much as I can but trust me, the basketball portion of it is way different. The mentality of people is way different. The mentality of the basketball players in Poland and the mentality of people here is different. The coaching mentality is different. It's way, way harder. It's seriously harder. Usually when I play against a guy, I am pretty confident that I can beat him one-on-one with speed and quickness. Back in Europe, you don't have that. You can have five guys making barbecue in the paint, then nobody cares about that. It's five guys waiting for me when I put the ball on the floor and try to steal the ball from me. It's way harder, way, way harder.
Could you talk about the nuances in the European game and the NBA?
Well, first of all, the rules are different. You can do some certain things on defense that you can't do in Europe but you can do in the NBA. Second thing, you don't have the same communication. You're switching a lot, there's a lot of switching, there's a lot of mismatches and situations on the floor to execute that thing. It's way different, the rules like I said. You think the ball is bouncing on the rim, you think you got two points for sure, then all of a sudden a guy jumps to swat the ball from the rim and you're thinking, wow, next time I better go dunk that.
It's just way different and like I said, mentality. The game is shorter. I mean, like I said, I've been running from the first to the last whistle and playing a couple of games, straight 40 minutes. It's four X ten minutes. In the first quarter, I don't get sweat yet and I'm thinking like, woah, this is the end of the first quarter already and I'm thinking like, wow, back in the NBA, in the fifth minute already I'm breathing deep and I'm asking for the oxygen. Over here in Europe, I'm running in the first quarter and I'm not tired yet so it's way different.
Has Patrick Ewing worked with you a little bit on your game?
I say he works with me more mentally. We talk a lot and he's just telling me what I'm supposed to do, but right now, it's just ... I'm working with Brendan Malone, that's the guy.