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News » Portland Trail Blazers Notes, Quotes 2008-05-29

Portland Trail Blazers Notes, Quotes 2008-05-29

Portland Trail Blazers Notes, Quotes 2008-05-29
--The Blazers got the 13th pick when the Draft Lottery was held May 20.

--Besides the Blazers, coach Nate McMillan's other major focus this summer will be the U.S. Olympic team, which will participate in Beijing from Aug. 8 to Aug. 24. McMillan, an assistant coach to Mike Krzyzewski with Team USA the past three years, has already attended one weekend coaches' meeting. Players and coaches will convene again May 27 to May 29 in Las Vegas, after which the final team selection will be announced. McMillan said he is unsure whether he will attend, depending on draft responsibilities.

Players and coaches will report to training camp in Las Vegas on July 20, fly to China on July 26 and return to the U.S. on Aug. 25.

"I'm happy to have this opportunity," McMillan said. "I'm also happy this is our last summer. It's been three busy years for me.

"But I'm looking forward to the Olympics this summer and us trying to win gold. It's been great working with the players and coaches and seeing how they prepare for the games, the strategy that's used. There's so much that you can take from that and add to what you already believe in."

--Meanwhile, McMillan recently met with Greg Oden at an undisclosed location for a week to check on the progress of his rookie center, who continues to rehab the knee that underwent microfracture surgery last September. Oden is living in Columbus, Ohio, this summer, taking summer classes at Ohio State while he works on getting his knee back to full strength.

"Greg's coming along fine," McMillan said. "I hadn't had a lot of opportunity to spend time with him during last season, so I just wanted to get together, work out with him a little bit and talk to him about a number of things."

What is Oden's mindset?

"That's what we're working on -- what he needs to do to be ready for next season," the Blazer coach said.

Oden made an appearance for Topps Trading Cards Tuesday in his native Indianapolis, playing horse and a game of one-on-two against two contest winners, "hitting long jumpers and throwing down a two-handed dunk," according to the Indianapolis Star.

"I've been lucky to have some stuff happen to me without even playing and proving myself that some guys who have been in the league 10 years don't get," Oden told the Star while decked out in a Trail Blazer shooting shirt and shorts. "I've been lucky. Portland's been awesome with the support they've shown me. Even knowing I wasn't going to play this year, they've been with me every step of the way."

QUOTE TO NOTE: "I know I'll be in the back, which is a good place for me. And this year, I'm taking Kendall with me. If her lucky charm worked last year, I need something a little bigger this year." -- Portland GM Kevin Pritchard, on bringing his 10-year-old daughter, Kendall, with him to the draft lottery. Last year, she gave him a ladybug to bring good luck at the lottery, and the Blazers wound up with the No. 1 pick. This year, they got No. 13.

Author: Fox Sports
Author's Website:
Added: May 29, 2008


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