“It’s definitely a difficult transition (from college to pros). Most guys don’t come into the NBA and then given a ton of playing time right away. Usually it’s just a few select guys a year that get that. It’s all about working hard, staying up, staying positive. Working hard as you can, and when you’re given your opportunity, go out there and show that you can play. I think the biggest thing is that you just keep working hard and control what you can control. There’s not a lot of things that you can control in this league, and you just work as hard as you can and control your attitude, control how you’re working and those are the things you can control. Don’t worry about the rest.”


“A couple words about what we call mental preparation. It is also a process, daily work. I personally prefer to work alone, without a psychologist, because I think that a third person between the player and the coach is not necessary. The coach must also be a psychologist, understand the soul of the players and get inside their heads and hearts to find out what they have inside. You have to talk to them a lot, alone or with everyone else in the locker room, but you must always ask more from the best players. I was accused of not being able to deal with stars, but I think the opposite: I was always more critical with the best players because I knew they could do it and that’s why we got to the top many times together. You cannot be as demanding with the young ones, you have to teach them trust and be patient with them.”


“I don’t see any negative from practicing hard. I don’t see any negative from playing hard. You’re building habits every time you step out there. I think you’ve got to develop a physical toughness and a mental toughness along the way. Because down the road when you do get there, there’s going to be a lot of fire that you’ve got to go through. And you’ve got to be prepared to deal with it.”

“There’s not a lot of difference between the elite teams. It’s will, determination. That’s not something you develop once you get there. You’d better develop it all along the way.”