Lawrence Frank’s job description is to instill a winning culture amongst a Detroit Pistons team who’s coming off two straight losing seasons, most recently finishing 30-52 last year. One of the main players he will look to in helping him accomplish that goal is third year Small Forward Austin Daye. In preparation for his team’s opener at Indiana tonight, the 2009 First Round Draft pick from Gonzaga University says his first camp under Frank has been a good experience.
“Up to now training camp has been real good”, Daye said. “L Frank is really working us and trying to get us to understand a lot of new concepts. I mean we are all in the same boat, everyone is trying to learn as much about each other as they can, and since the pre-season was shortened we’re going to have to kind of learn on the fly.”
“But I can definitely say coach is a great guy. I think L Frank was the best guy for the job. Now that I’ve been able to be coached by him for a few days, I can just tell he’s hungry to win, and so are we. I’ve heard a lot of people just kind of overlook us. Indiana is over there making moves to their team, Chicago is one of the better teams in the league, Milwaukee made some moves this season, Cleveland has a real young team, but they are loaded with talent too.”
For Austin he began preparing for a successful third season in the NBA just as soon as his last one ended. He worked out with three of the best players in the world this summer in Kobe Bryant, LeBron James, and Kevin Durant, before then taking an opportunity to continue to put his work in overseas in Russia as well during the Lockout. Daye talked about some out that experience as well getting ready for training camp.
“I got to workout with Kobe once this summer and it was a great workout. I got to see how much work he puts in off the court, on the weights, and it just made me realize how important that stuff is.”
“He works so hard and pushes himself in all aspects of the game, it’s no wonder he’s the best player in the game. Same thing with Lebron, he’s probably the most dynamic player in the game, he’s so versatile and I can just tell how his workouts help with all the dimensions to his game. Both of those workouts really gave me a good perspective on how hard I need to keep working if I want to be one of the best.”
“Working out with KD (Kevin Durant) was a whole different ball game, I went out to D.C. with him for a week to workout with him. He’s a guy who I’ve always been compared to because of our body types. KD just loves hoop, maybe it’s because I was with him for a whole week, but we were waking up every morning , 7 a.m. bike rides for 40 miles, come back in the afternoon go 1-1 against each other, get a good workout in, then in the evening we would go play in a pick-up game. It was a great experience working out with him, we are both around the same age so we relate to a lot of the same stuff.”
“When the lockout ended I had been back from Russia for about 3 days, I was so excited to get back to Detroit and play. Russia was great, but there is nothing like playing the NBA, I don’t think any guy that went overseas during the lockout could argue that.”
With all that work in his rearview now, Austin has his sights set on starting this NBA season with a chip on his shoulder looking to prove that he can be a full-time starter for the Pistons and a Franchise type player that can help lead them back to the playoffs.
“I know Joe D drafted me with the intention of me coming in and helping the team get back on top, and I don’t want to disappoint the team, the fans, and the city of Detroit.”
“I still think we have what it takes to make a good run this season, I am not going to sit here and guarantee a playoff spot, but I think we can compete for one that’s for sure. Detroit has had a lot of success this year, the Lions are on the verge of the playoffs, the Tigers upset the Yankees in the 1st round of the playoffs The Red Wings are always in the playoffs every year, we have to continue the trend.”
The opportunity for Austin and his Pistons to continue that trend starts tonight at the Indiana Pacers, tip-off 7pm ET.
“I love this city [Detroit], everybody here is great, the fans deserve a good team, and I think with all the changes that we’ve made this summer on our team, that’s the direction we are headed. I know I’m ready to go.”
Thanks to Sports Media World for coordinating this contribution