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Thunder Media Day Notes

by Darnell Mayberry Modified: April 12, 2013 at 5:52 pm •  Published: September 29, 2008

Just got back from media day and I’ve got a lot of tape to transcribe. But I’ll add a couple of quick notes in the meantime. By now, I’m sure you’ve seen the Thunder’s jerseys. If not, here they are. The blue is the road jersey and the white is the home uniform.

Earl Watson models Thunder home uniform
Earl Watson models Thunder home uniform

* Every player said publicly he likes the uniforms. There was an awkwardness on the stage, though, when Jeff Green, Kevin Durant, Earl Watson and Nick Collison modeled the uniforms for the first time.

*P.J. Carlesimo said his No. 1 priority in the preseason is getting players acclimated to the system.

* P.J. also said he wouldn’t put a bar on high good Durant and Green can be. He said there’s no limit.

* As for seeing Durant become more of a vocal leader, P.J. said it has to happen naturally. Durant said he has gotten smarter and intends to become more of a vocal leader this season after being hesitant at times last season because he was so young.

* Speaking of Durant’s age, he turns 20 today but didn’t have that birthday glow about him. It seemed like just another day for him.

* Carlesimo said he wants to hasten Russell Westbrook’s development, much like he did with Durant and Green last season. It sounded like Westbrook has a good chance of starting from Day One, which I thought would have been impossible before Monday.

* Nick Collison was asked about his allegiance to Seattle and reiterated much of what he’s said recently. He said he likes Oklahoma so far, though, and that it reminds him of home.

* Durant, meanwhile, said: “I love the city.” When asked about his memories of his stops through the state in college, the first thing he noted was losing in the final of the Big 12 Tournament. He said he isn’t concerned about nightlife in the city because he likes to stay at home and play video games.

* Durant was one of several players who attended last weekend’s OU-TCU game in Norman. Durant said he signed every autograph with “Hook ‘em Horns” and posed for every photo by throwing up the Horns sign.

* Chris Wilcox said he thinks his mysterious illness in recent weeks was food poisoning. Wilcox said the illness caused him to lose weight, which he hopes to put back on during training camp and the preseason.

* Robert Swift’s appearance was the subject of most of his interview. He said he’s undergone 154 hours of tattoo work but couldn’t say with certainty how many he has because some are connected to form one image. He also showed up with his finger nails painted black. When a reporter brought up a comparison to Chris “Birdman” Andersen and suggested Swift could have the same connection with fans that Birdman did, Swift said, “Yeah. But I’m not as wild as Birdman.” The media got a good laugh out of the line despite having an idea but not being entirely sure of exactly what he meant by “wild.”

* Swift also said he is likely to miss a portion of the preseason schedule with a fractured right hand. He said he should be healed in another week or two but will participate in drills with a protective brace for now.

* Rookie D.J. White said more than anything fans can expect hard work out of him. He also says he keeps in touch with former OU coach Kelvin Sampson, his coach at Indiana, and that he looks forward to seeing him at the season opener Oct. 29.

* Desmond Mason has a new number. No. 34. He’s worn 24 throughout his career. He could have had it with the Thunder with no current players wearing 24. So why the change? No. 34 was his college number, which he said he wanted when Seattle originally drafted him but was taken by Jelani McCoy.

* Derrick Byars, one of the team’s three training camp invitees, thinks he brings something the Thunder doesn’t have much of — perimeter shooting. The 6-foot-7, 220-pound guard/forward might be right. He averaged 17.0 points, 4.9 rebounds and 3.4 assists as a senior at Vanderbilt. He made 79 of 212 3-pointers as a senior (37.3 percent) and 63 of 143 (44.1 percent) as a junior. He was drafted 42nd overall in 2007 but didn’t make the team. He played last season in France, and when I asked him about how hungry he is to get his first taste of NBA ball he said, “Hungry ain’t the word.” He really wants to make this team and stick in the NBA. He might be a guy to keep an eye on throughout the preseason.

* It was announced Monday that Fox Sports Networks will broadcast the Thunder’s games. The Fox Sports Network serving the Oklahoma market will also be re-launched as “Fox Sports Oklahoma.” The network will broadcast 65 Thunder games, and the remaining games will be broadcast by a yet-to-be-named partner.

-DM-

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by Darnell Mayberry
OKC Thunder Senior Reporter
Darnell Mayberry grew up in Langston, Okla. and is now in his third stint in the Sooner state. After a year and a half at Bishop McGuinness High, he finished his prep years in Falls Church, Va., before graduating from Norfolk State University in...
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