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Pierce sheds pounds, Simien looks ahead


Each week, KUSports.com will get you caught up on Jayhawks both former and current getting some ink from outside of the area.[Boston Globe: Pierce weighs in on defense][1]Upon arriving for the first session of his weeklong camp at the Basketball City facility across from TD Banknorth Garden yesterday, [Paul Pierce][2] went right to work, instructing youngsters on the importance of getting down on defense. The Celtics captain has placed a similar emphasis on his own offseason workouts as he prepares for the upcoming season and hopes to be in top form after an injury-riddled 2006-07 campaign.If all goes as planned, Pierce will start the season at close to his college playing weight of 230 pounds in an effort to improve his quickness and ability to guard players at different positions."The last couple years, I played at 240, 245, but I think I'm going to go back down to my college weight and play at 230," he said. "I'm at, like, 238 now. Playing at 240 or 245 is not bad, but I want to come in lighter and faster."I'm focusing on my defense, being able to guard all three positions. The stuff I think about is if I have to go to shooting guard and defend and take pressure off Ray [Allen]. I don't need that much extra weight. I just want the footwork and quickness to guard shooting guards."In another sign of extra commitment, Pierce has already made his offseason move from Los Angeles to Boston. Usually, he waits until after Labor Day to shift his base of operations. With the exception of a trip to China next week for a promotional shoe tour and a few days back in LA to pack, Pierce plans to be in the Boston area for the remainder of the offseason. He hopes Allen and Kevin Garnett can soon join him for informal workouts.Local Take: Well shoot, if you were in an organization which had sunk to the bottom of professional sports' most pathetic conference, and suddenly you're surrounded by two of the best players of your generation, wouldn't you have a little extra motivation, too? Good for Pierce. Talk about a guy who has paid his NBA dues for a decade and now deserves a title. Who cares if it came at the expense of the franchise's future foundation...Also, [this piece][3] from the Boston Herald is worth the read.[Houston Chronicle: NBA players gear up for retirement in Stanford program][4]The program, which features speeches and presentations from Stanford professors, investors and entrepreneurs, provides the players with tools and concepts to evaluate business opportunities."I know I'm not going to be able to play ball forever," said the 32-year-old James. "So this is something that is going to help me live and thrive for the rest of my life."I've probably been thinking about my after-basketball life since I was about 25 and trying to learn little things. But this experience, this program, has speeded things up and given me some real solid knowledge."Other NBA players taking part are: Cuttino Mobley, Bruce Bowen, Jarron Collins, Matt Carroll, Devean George, [Wayne Simien][5], Brevin Knight, Mark Madsen, Malik Rose and Aaron Williams._Local Take: Gosh, it'd be so much easier to follow professional sports if only all the athletes were this smart. Simien seems to get the point well that just because you made it to the NBA, that doesn't mean your earning responsibilities in life cease to exist.[Chicago Sun-Times: Rideau making his play][6]_Mike Hass has been the young wide receiver not named Devin Hester to create a buzz during training camp, but [Brandon Rideau][7] created some positive momentum Saturday with three catches for 43 yards.The 6-3, 200-pounder from Kansas spent the majority of last season on the practice squad after being in Cleveland for a year.''It's been a while since I had the chance to get on the field and play against someone else,'' Rideau said. ''I'm taking advantage of my opportunity.''Rideau does not consider himself in a battle for a roster spot with Hass, who did not have a catch Saturday on a night when 17 other Bears did. The Bears might keep six receivers, but that's no guarantee. They opened last season with six, but Mark Bradley and Airese Currie were not 100 percent.Local Take: Rideau could have packed it in after a disappointing senior season at KU in 2004, but he's toiled on practice squads for two seasons so far (one with Cleveland, one with Chicago) and from the sound of it further down in that story, he's garnered his teammates' respect. Looks like it'll come down to the preseason wire for him.[The Press-Enterprise: Some risks too great][8]Early last week, Sproles muffed a couple during punt team drills. Friday, he was catching 'em cleanly.But that position has become competitive. Second-year defensive back Antonio Cromartie and backup tailback Michael Turner returned kickoffs a year ago, while Parker handled most of the punt returns.Cromartie, last year's first-round draft choice, is returning punts this year in camp. So is Craig Davis, this year's first-rounder, who averaged 12.9 yards per punt return with a touchdown at LSU last year. Third-year receiver Greg Camarillo and second-year guys [Mark Simmons][9] and Tyronne Gross are also in the mix.Local Take: This is a story on Olathe product Darren Sproles, but Simmons, one of the more productive receivers in KU history, snuck some mention in there. On a team with nothing but young and inexperienced receivers, I'd guess he has as good a shot as anyone at making the roster.[Portland Tribune: New Beaver serves up optimism][10]Irresponsible behavior it's a topic that Giles has addressed and will need to address throughout his career, although he doesn't admit to learning from past transgressions or needing counseling."It wasn't anything, really," he says. "Just me growing up, like everyone else, being immature. It's behind me."His dismissal from Kansas related to image, he adds. The Jayhawks couldn't afford to have a perceived troublemaker on their team. "And I understand that," he says. "We ended on good terms."Coach Jay John gave Giles the proverbial second chance at Oregon State, after suitors such as Tennessee, Syracuse and Old Dominion inquired about the 6-11 shot blocker and rebounder.Giles wanted to stay close to home, hailing as he does from Seattle and Rainier Beach High. He likes the Beavers and their prospects for 2007-08, despite the extremely tough competition expected in the Pac-10.With players Marcel Jones and Josh Tarver back and newcomers such as Giles and Calvin Haynes, the Beavers should be better but will it translate into a winning record?"We have solid players who can compete in this league," Giles says. A scaled-down OSU team, minus newcomers, will go to Italy for some exhibition games Aug. 21 through Sept. 4.Giles will stay in Corvallis and work on his game. He envisions games of two points, 10 rebounds and four blocks, stressing that his offensive skills could be better."Defense first. Coach Self instilled it in me," he says. "I'm mostly trying to work my way out to the perimeter (offensively), working on my handles and bounce-and-shoot."He also plans to be a leader. At Kansas, he was led by the likes of Aaron Miles, Keith Langford and Wayne Simien. It's his turn, he says.Academically, Giles has taken some summer schoolwork math, anthropology, sociology, a hip-hop class and he also works with OSU broadcaster Mike Parker on radio shows. Giles doesn't foresee any eligibility issues; because he transferred during last season, he won't be eligible until Dec. 8.Speculation has Giles playing well this year and then bolting for the NBA for him to be first-round draft material in talent and character remains to be seen."It's not on my mind right now. I love college ball," he says. "Could happen. It's a possibility."Local Take: Yes, once a Jayhawk, always a Jayhawk. No one can really say they don't hope for the best for C.J., but no matter what he says now, no one will truly believe he's turned any corners until he proves it. Good to hear he's at least taken some steps so far. [1]: http://www.boston.com/sports/basketball/celtics/articles/2007/08/14/pierce_weighs_in_on_defense/ [2]: http://www.nba.com/playerfile/paul_pierce/index.html [3]: http://celtics.bostonherald.com/celtics/view.bg?articleid=1017113&format=&page=2 [4]: http://www.chron.com/disp/story.mpl/sports/5042761.html [5]: http://www.nba.com/playerfile/wayne_simien/index.html [6]: http://www.suntimes.com/sports/football/bears/507835,CST-SPT-bearnt13.article [7]: http://www.nfl.com/players/brandonrideau/profile?id=RID206705 [8]: http://www.pe.com/sports/football/stories/PE_Sports_Local_D_chargers_12.3ee35cf.html [9]: http://www.nfl.com/players/marksimmons/profile?id=SIM271899 [10]: http://www.portlandtribune.com/sports/story.php?story_id=118642899491863200


Confrontation 10 years, 9 months ago

"one can really say they don't hope for the best for C.J."

Wrong. Many of us don't care about this woman-abuser.

Uhlrick_Hetfield_III 10 years, 9 months ago

Abusing women is more than just immature. Giles character fits all too well into the lifestyles of many NBA players. Simien on the other hand is bright and clearly oriented to a future beyond what appears at present to be a mediocre NBA career, but then look at what Ostertag's managed to do with his career.

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