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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    NBA Suns to hold scrimmage in McKale

    Phoenix+Suns+guard+Steve+Nash+goes+for+the+layup+at+Thurrdays+training+camp+held+at+McKale+Center.+The+Suns+willhold+up+public+intrasquad+scrimmage+tonight+at+5+in+McKale.
    Phoenix Suns guard Steve Nash goes for the layup at Thurrday’s training camp held at McKale Center. The Suns willhold up public intrasquad scrimmage tonight at 5 in McKale.

    Who knew McKale Center would see more than one team within the last year attempt to learn a whole new offensive plan as the result of a coaching change?

    First it was Kevin O’Neill, who took over the UA men’s basketball season for Lute Olson on an interim basis. His influx of more set plays slowed the Wildcats’ pace down, throwing many players off.

    Now it’s new Phoenix Suns head coach Terry Porter, who replaced Mike D’Antoni and the former coach’s run-and-gun style with a plan more focused on defense, which slows the pace of the game.

    “”It’s a little different approach,”” said Suns general manager and former Wildcat Steve Kerr. “”What we talked about when we were in this hiring process is, we still want to run. We don’t want to become a team that scores 80 points but we want to be balanced.””

    The Suns, whose training camp runs through Saturday, will hold a public scrimmage today at 5 p.m. in McKale Center. Suggested donations are $6 for adults and $3 for youth under 18.

    “”It’s a totally new system at both ends of the floor, a totally new philosophy so it’s going to be important to really pay a lot attention to those preseason games how we’re making progress,”” Porter said.

    Suns center Shaquille O’Neal said the players are still adjusting to Porter’s style of play, but they’re excited to flaunt what they’ve learned thus far in the scrimmage.

    “”We’re a little bit all over the place,”” O’Neal said. “”It’s a new system for everybody. But guys have been very enthusiastic, guys have been playing together, guys have been playing hard. We’ll be fine. I’ve been around many years to know if it’s a good team or a terrible team, but we have all the pieces.””

    With such a hefty preseason transition, Porter believes the voyage south to Tucson keeps the off-court distractions away from players, allowing the Suns to completely focus on basketball.

    “”We have new staff, a couple of new pieces as far as players – it gives us a chance to get away and kind of bond us right,”” Porter said. “”The distractions of being at home, the kids and some of the day-to-day things that you have to attend to when you’re at home.””

    Added O’Neal: “”Tucson looks like Phoenix to me. There’s cactus everywhere. It’s a very hospitable city. We’re down here with the college kids, joke around with the football team. It’s very, very peaceful down here.””

    Suns take precaution, send Stoudemire to Phoenix doctor after poked eye
    Just as Amaré Stoudemire seemingly reached the end of his recovery path from a lingering sprained ankle, the Suns forward suffered another setback. He was poked in the eye during a scrimmage Wednesday night.

    The Suns sent Stoudemire to Dr. Jay Schwartz back in Phoenix with a bloodshot eye and blurry vision, but Porter said the measures were strictly precautionary.

    “”You hate to see (it) – he’s just on the road of recovery as far as his ankle,”” Porter said. “”For us it’s important he gets back and gets up his conditioning. As soon as you get a couple steps forward, you got to take a couple steps back for him unfortunately. It’s just part of what happens. We just got to make sure everything is alright with his eye.

    “”Give him some goggles and maybe have him the second coming of Kareem (Abdul-Jabbar),”” Porter joked. “”Who knows, he may not need goggles.””

    Suns center O’Neal poked fun at the situation, calling Stoudemire, “”Kareem Abdul-Amaré.””

    Nothing new with Barbosa in Brazil
    Kerr said there was nothing new to report about guard Leandro Barbosa, who flew home to Brazil Tuesday to tend to his ill mother.

    “”We’ve just expressed to him, obviously, to take as much (time) as he needs and to take care of his family and get back whenever things are OK for him one way or the other,”” Kerr said.

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