Training camp has just started and the excitement over the 2012-2013 season is coming in waves. With the roster almost locked up tight, there is a lot to look forward to. But for four hopefuls – Robert Sacre, Darius Johnson- Odom, Reeves Nelson and Greg Somogyi, the chance to play with the L.A. Lakers rests on their performance over the coming weeks.
Reeves Nelson, a native of Modesto CA, is one of those players who has been given that opportunity. Formally a player at UCLA, Nelson first stepped onto the court for the Lakers during his time in the summer league. Lakers Nation was able to get into contact with the forward and ask him about his summer experience, what he intends to bring this training camp, and his overall impressions of this Los Angeles Lakers team.
On Summer League…
Lakers Nation: Let’s get down to your journey with the Lakers so far. When did you know you were heading to Las Vegas for summer league? What was the first thing that went through your mind when you knew you were going?
Reeves Nelson: I knew I was heading to summer league with the Lakers about a week or so after the NBA Draft, so it was pretty sudden. A lot of things went through my mind. I was kind of speechless since just being invited was a great honor for me. But I remember being grateful, so grateful. I only got excited for a little while; I knew it was time to get back to work.
LN: How did playing with NBA caliber players differ from your game day experience in college?
RN: The speed. Without a doubt the biggest difference between the NBA and college is just the speed of the game. You have to get used to every facet being faster and better executed.
LN: That is something I notice too when I am watching games. It must have been quite an adjustment period. So tell me a little bit about your overall experience. Was it what you expected?
RN: Summer League was pretty much what I expected. I had watched in previous years so I had a little bit of an idea. I mainly was adjusting to the tempo of the game but basketball is what I do so I went into it like you would do any job.
LN: Did you find yourself saying “this was harder than I thought?”
RN: Honestly, it wasn’t harder than I expected. I knew I was going to be working hard in general.
LN: What was the biggest take-away you left with after playing in Summer League?
RN: Overall I had a really great experience and was glad I was given the chance to go. For me, it was nice to see that I could compete and do well in that environment.
On the Current Lakers Players…
LN: I know you grew up in California, so I am sure you’ve watched the Lakers growing up. Plus, you lived in Los Angeles for a few years. What I want to know is whether the Lakers were your top choice for teams you could have played for?
RN: I didn’t really have a top choice for who I wanted to play for because I went into it the prospect of Summer League with a very open mind. I was willing to compete for a job anywhere that would allow me to do that. But I have been a Laker fan my whole life so it was pretty awesome when the Lakers gave me this great opportunity.
LN: Just out of curiosity, if you weren’t training with the Lakers, who would you like to train with?
RN: Honestly, if it wasn’t the Lakers, it would be any other team willing to give me a chance to compete for a job. I am grateful for this opportunity in general and would have been just as welcome to playing somewhere else.
LN: Great strategy. It seems like it was meant to be. The competition is going to be tough to see which of the four of you get a chance to make the final Laker roster. Can you tell me why do you deserve to make this Lakers squad?
RN: Everyone is great and I know I have work to do. But I deserve to make the team because I am someone who will work my absolute hardest every day to get better as an individual, and more importantly, to make the team better in any way I can.
LN: If you did make the squad, where do you see yourself fitting into this Lakers team, especially with the caliber of talent picked up this summer by the Lakers organization?
RN: I see myself as a role player. My role would be to bring lots of energy, defense, rebounding, and hustle plays whenever I step on the court. It’s about helping the team.
LN: Who are you most excited about having the chance to play with?
RN: I’m excited to play with everybody. Since the Lakers are a veteran filled team, I look forward to learning as much as I possibly can from the guys who have been there and done what I aim to do. Especially guys at my position, like Metta (World Peace) and Antawn (Jamison).
LN: Have you hung out with any of the players? If so, who was the most fun to spend time with?
RN: They are all nice and good guys. It would be hard picking someone who’s the most fun. I have enjoyed my time getting to know all of them equally.
Next Page: Proving Himself and Basketball in General