Life moving fast for UConn's Kemba Walker

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Life moving fast for UConn's Kemba Walker

NEW YORK -- With the lights dimmed, an oversized video was projected on to the blank wall. Kemba Walker flashed across the screen. Hustling. Grinding. Only this time it wasnt a highlight reel.

This summer Walker signed on with Under Armour, and on Wednesday night he was part of the Are You From Here? fall basketball campaign event along with Brandon Jennings, Greivis Vasquez, and fellow rookie Derrick Williams in New York City.

Its a dream come true, he told CSNNE.com. As a young kid, you always dream of being in commercials and having your own sneaker and signing with a sneaker company and things like that. Everything is just moving so fast for me. But Im having a blast.

Walkers life has fast-forwarded since leading the University of Connecticut mens basketball team to the 2011 NCAA championship in April. In June he was selected by the Charlotte Bobcats with the ninth overall pick in the NBA Draft, and the following month the 21-year-old became part of the Under Armour group.

It was only during the time off of the NBA lockout that Walker was able to reflect on the Huskies title win months earlier.

It feels like a long time, but it hasnt been that long, he said. But I still remember it like it was yesterday. I remember everything. It was a rough night, I know that. We couldnt make a shot, both teams actually. But I know we came out with a win and we were just very excited. All of the confetti started to come down and we just celebrated.

I definitely had to move fast to the draft, but being that theres a lockout, it gave me the time to let it all sink in. I even got a chance to go up there with the guys and be with them throughout the days and sit back and watch some old games and things like that. It definitely sunk in then.

Walker looks forward to joining a long lineage of UConn alum in the NBA. He feels a sense of camaraderie among those who have suited up for the Huskies, and knows he has a support system around the league.

Its special, he said. A lot of greats went to that school and a lot of those guys still play in the NBA. Its great to know that I have guys that whenever Im having trouble, I can lean on those guys and ask them questions.

He added, I actually saw Ray Allen at UConns Midnight Madness. We didnt really speak about anything as far as the NBA lockout or anything like that. I hadnt seen him in a while so we just enjoyed each others company. Ray is a great guy. I have his number so I can text him whenever I want to to get info and things like that.

Walker, a Bronx native, is excited to play his first game at Madison Square Garden against the New York Knicks and to return to New England to play the Boston Celtics at TD Garden. While he has yet to find out how he will fit in on the court with the Bobcats, he knows what he wants to bring from his days at the University of Connecticut to the NBA.

A winning attitude, he said. I just want to do anything possible to help the team get better. Thats really it. I just want to play my role and become the best player I can be . . . Honestly, I have no idea what my role will be. Whatever they need me to do, basically. Thats the kind of player I am.

Jae Crowder talks about constant trade rumors; love for Boston and Brad Stevens

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Jae Crowder talks about constant trade rumors; love for Boston and Brad Stevens

Celtics forward Jae Crowder talks with Mike Gorman and Brian Scalabrine talks about building on a breakthrough season last year, and the love for his head coach Brad Stevens, and for the city of Boston.

Also, Kyle Draper and A. Sherrod Blakely talk about what lies ahead for Crowder in 2016/17.

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Bradley knows the risks of his all-out brand of defense

Bradley knows the risks of his all-out brand of defense

WALTHAM – There are a number of NBA players we have seen through the years whose effort level has been questioned.
 
But when it comes to Boston Celtics guard Avery Bradley, that has never been an issue.
 
In fact, Bradley’s all-out style of defense has been a major factor in him being sidelined for an extended period of time in each of his six NBA seasons.
 
Although he’s only 25 years old, Bradley is starting to embrace the idea of less all-out defense might not be such a bad idea.
 
“It’s hard to control my injuries because I play hard every single possession,” Bradley told CSNNE.com following the team’s first practice. “I can’t say that every NBA player doesn’t, but I know there’s not a lot. I play hard every single possession especially on the defensive end. That can take a toll on your body. I just have to make sure I’m taking care of myself and picking my spots a little better.”
 
Prior to the Celtics selecting Bradley with the 19th overall pick in the 2011, he suffered a dislocated shoulder injury. Throughout his five NBA seasons, the veteran guard has a long list of injuries which has sidelined him for at least five games every season in addition to missing some playoff games.
 
Knowing the risks involved in continuing his all-out brand of basketball, the fact that Bradley is even open to the idea of picking when to assert himself defensively and when to be more passive, is progress.
 
“I’m pretty sure someone like (ex-Celtics) Tony Allen …  he’s not going to go hard like every possession,” Bradley said. “He’s going to pick his spots, still play good defense.”
 
Which is exactly what Bradley is striving to do this season, and show that last season’s all-NBA First Team Defense nod wasn’t a fluke.

But as we have seen with Bradley throughout his career with the Celtics, he has a way of coming back every season having made a significant stride in some facet of the game to become closer to being a two-way player.
 
“That’s my goal; I want my teammates to be able to count on me playing well at both ends of the floor,” Bradley said.
 
And as I mentioned earlier, Bradley is still a relatively young guy who turns 26 years old in November.
 
‘I’m still a 90s baby’ just like everybody on this team,” quipped Bradley.
 
Being so young puts a premium of sorts on players to learn all they can as quickly as they can in relation to their respective team.
 
“I feel young; I feel young,” Bradley said. “I feel young. I still haven’t even played a full season yet. This will be my first season playing a whole season.”
 
Listening to Bradley talk about adjusting how he plays defensively, it’s pretty clear that he’s having an internal tug-of-war between continuing to play elite defense and easing up defensively.
 
“That’s just me. Some people can do it. Maybe I could take some (plays) off, play passing lanes,” Bradley said. “But I don’t think I’ll ever change into that. It could help our team out a little bit.”