The Main Event: Byron Mullens working hard to move up the Thunder depth chart

BY JOHN ROHDE, STAFF WRITER, JROHDE@OPUBCO.COM Modified: June 21, 2010 at 11:09 am •  Published: June 21, 2010
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photo - Thunder center Byron Mullens has worked hard with the Tulsa 66ers this past season, and is working hard in the off-season to move up the Oklahoma City depth chart. PHOTO BY NATE BILLINGS, THE OKLAHOMAN
Thunder center Byron Mullens has worked hard with the Tulsa 66ers this past season, and is working hard in the off-season to move up the Oklahoma City depth chart. PHOTO BY NATE BILLINGS, THE OKLAHOMAN

"I didn't take it like, 'Oh, man. I don't need to be down here,' " Mullens said. "I took it as a chance to get some work done and try to get better. I've learned what I need to work on and I'm going to get a lot better. Coming out of Ohio State, I knew that was something that might come into play. I just looked at Tulsa as a second year of college to me. I could still develop my skills, but I also was in the NBA where I wanted to be. Plus, I'm playing against better talent."

The Thunder and 66ers use the same terminology offensively and defensively, which helps with player transitions within the franchise.

"He's got the right attitude," 66ers coach Nate Tibbetts said of Mullen. "That's the way he needs to continue to approach it. He brought a professional approach to practice every day, coming in early, working on his game. He really bought into being in Tulsa. With us, he got to feel comfortable and gain some confidence. He's got a beautiful shot and he's not limited. He's very comfortable facing up.

"He's still a young guy. He's still trying to figure out who he is. If I were to tell you what he can and cannot do, in three years it might be way different. If he can focus on defense and rebounding, it's really going to help him."

We'll learn Thursday night if the Thunder adds more centers to its roster, but Mullens welcomes the competition.

"He's got a great personality and he's really upbeat about what's going on," Tibbetts said. "As a basketball player, you've always got guys trying to take your job."


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