Johnson, Moore happy to be playing together


Johnson, Moore happy to be playing together

By A. Sherrod Blakely Celtics Insider
Follow @sherrodbcsn

BRIGHTON As they trekked across the country working out for various NBA teams, Purdue's Jajuan Johnson and E'Twaun Moore were never too far from each other.

A text message from the West coast by Johnson.

Moore replying from the East coast.

The more they talked, the better each felt about their chances of having their life long dreams of being in the NBA, come true.

Little did they know that when those dreams would literally begin the same way their dreams of college stardom began - as teammates.

The Celtics made a draft night trade for Johnson, using the No. 25 pick (Providence's MarShon Brooks) and sending it to New Jersey which turned around and gave the Celtics Johnson (the No. 27 pick) and a 2014 second-round pick.

Boston then used its second round pick, No. 55 overall, to select Moore.

The two newest Celtics made their first public appearances with the C's at the unveiling of a state-of-the-art mobile computer lab at the Edison K-8 school in Brighton.

After putting the new laptop computers donated by the Shamrock Foundation to good use, the two newest Celtics addressed the media.

And not surprisingly, among the first questions they field had to do with them being reunited after one of the greatest four-year stretches of success in Purdue basketball history.

Johnson and Moore share the Boilermakers record for most career wins (107) at the school.

That tradition of winning, they hope to continue now that they're members of the Boston Celtics.

"I was really excited, just to have somebody you're familiar with, you're comfortable with go through this process with you, makes things a lot more easier for you," Johnson said.

Added Moore, "It's definitely exciting that we got chosen by the same team; definitely didn't notice this was going to happen (in advance). We're both excited, and can't wait to start playing."

Here's a glance at some of the other topics discussed by the two Newest members of the Celtics family.

On why they chose jerseys No. 12 (Johnson) and No. 55 (Moore):

Johnson: "It wasn't a lot to decide from. But pretty much the reason I picked 12, my mom used to play with number 12. I couldn't get 25, so I (went) with 12. "

Moore: "It's a motivational number. Growing up, I used to wear 55. I used to like Jason Williams, white chocolate."

On deciding to return to Purdue for their senior year:

Johnson: "It was a great choice for both of us. It gave us an extra year to really develop our games and mature more."

Johnson, whose build is similar to Kevin Garnett when he came into the NBA, on playing with KG:

Johnson: "It's going to be huge for me. Growing up, he's definitely one of my favorite players; just to play alongside of him and just really learn from him. It's going to be big for me."

KG is known for cutting off young players quickly if they don't listen.

Johnson: "I'll definitely listen. If he tells me something, I'll listen. I definitely don't want him to shut me down; I definitely want to learn as much as I can from him."

Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge on the value in having drafted two guys with four years of college experience:

Ainge: "It helps a lot. These guys have improved a lot over the course of their college careers. They played in a lot of big games, a lot of hostile environments. They've been ranked very high at times during the course of their college careers. They've played in a lot of big games, a lot of hostile environments. They've been ranked very high at times in their college career, been expected to win. They've been through a lot. That can only help as they get ready for the NBA."

Moore on his position on the floor.
Moore: "Combo guard; wherever they need me to play at."
Both on the growth of the other:

Moore: "Jajuan has definitely grown a whole lot, confidence wise; and on the court and off the court, being more vocal being more of a leader. He definitely grew a whole lot. He definitely came back, better than ever his senior year, he's a great player and great teammate."

Johnson: "E'Twaun definitely been the one, since day one, held it down with our team. It seemed that time-in and time-out, he'd be the one to hit those big shots for us and really led for us on the court. Him playing at a high level since our freshman year, really helped me bring my game up to where his was."

A. Sherrod Blakely can be reached at Follow Sherrod on Twitter at http:twitter.comsherrodbcsn

Celtics to begin season with Marcus Smart on the shelf

Celtics to begin season with Marcus Smart on the shelf

WALTHAM, Mass. -- The Boston Celtics will be a bit shorthanded for the first few games of the season with Marcus Smart being out with a left ankle sprain injury.
The Celtics were holding out slim hope that it would heal in time for tomorrow’s game against the Brooklyn Nets.
Smart confirmed a report shortly after the injury on October 19 that it would likely be at least a couple weeks before he returned to action.
Following Tuesday’s practice, one in which Smart watched from the sidelines, he gave an update on his ankle injury which occurred in the Celtics’ last preseason game, a 121-96 loss to the New York Knicks.
“A couple weeks, that’s the projection (of a return) they gave me,” Smart said. “They want to make sure we can limit this from happening again.”
Smart said the two-week timetable began from the time of his injury, which means it’s likely that he will miss the Celtics’ first four games of the season.
That’s a much rosier timetable than the left ankle sprain injury Smart suffered as a rookie which kept him sidelined for several weeks afterwards.
“It shouldn’t be too long,” Smart said. “Better safe than sorry.”
His absence will certainly have an impact on a Celtics defense that ranked among the NBA’s best a year ago, and has only gotten stronger with the addition of Al Horford.
But the Celtics have been a "next man up" team for since Stevens has been the head coach. With Smart out, that’s not going to change.
“That’ll be a great opportunity for someone else to step up in his place,” said Celtics head coach Brad Stevens.
Boston guard Isaiah Thomas echoed similar thoughts.
“When somebody’s hurt, the next man has to step up,” Thomas said. “Guys have to take advantage of these opportunities.”
And for Smart, it’ll mean displaying his leadership skills from the sideline.
He’s totally comfortable taking on that role right now.
For his teammates, it might take a little bit of getting used to. Smart has been very loquacious on the Celtics sideline since suffering the injury.
“These last four days, he has been yelling … I told him to shut up a few times,” quipped Isaiah Thomas. “That’s just him, especially when he’s not playing. He’s very vocal.”
Terry Rozier, the likely benefactor in terms of minutes played due to Smart’s injury, agreed.
“He’s been sitting right there in that seat,” said Rozier, adding, “and he hasn’t shut up yet. It’s good; you’re going to need a guy like that who is going to talk to you. It’s like a guy, he says things … it’s like he’s been in the league 10 years. He knows his stuff.”
Smart’s knowledge bank includes understanding that his current injury will probably happen again at some point. The key isn’t dealing with the injury, but how you move forward from it.
“This isn’t my first ankle sprain and I know it won’t be my last,” Smart said. “I just have to let it heal on its own and let your body do what it does.”