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Charlie Villanueva Sharing his Thoughts on Training Camp


TRIBE Member
'Chip on my shoulder'


Each week until the start of the NBA regular season, Raptor rookie and first-round draft pick Charlie Villanueva will share his thoughts with Star readers in this training camp diary. Here's the first instalment.

I'm really glad that training camp has finally arrived. I've been excited and anxious to get out on the court and get going since the draft. I don't think I'm nervous or anything, it's more anticipation than anything because I want to get started.

One thing I am doing is coming into camp with a chip on my shoulder and something to prove. There were a lot of negative comments about me when I got drafted and I want to prove all those people wrong for what they said about me.

The comments hurt me, because people didn't know me and what I can do, or how hard I was going to work to prove everybody wrong.

The comments those so-called experts were making cut me because a lot of people were watching. I heard from a lot of people, I mean a lot of people and all it really did was make me realize I've just got to end up proving them all wrong. Those ESPN guys don't know me and don't know what I can do.

Most of the summer I spent in New York getting ready for camp because I really want to get going right away when we started. I hired a basketball trainer and a weightlifting trainer and we'd be in the gym from about 10 in the morning until 2 in the afternoon. We'd do basketball drills for about an hour or an hour and a half, and then we'd hit the weights. It's important to do it all because it's a long year and handling the grind will be tough.

We'd play some pickup games every day to stay in shape that way, but most of the time was working on my own. I know I can improve in all areas of my game and that was my main goal all summer.

I'm not sure what camp and practices are going to be like, but I know coach (Sam) Mitchell is going to work us hard and we have to be prepared. I just want to come in and do whatever he needs me to do; play defence; rebound; get out and run the floor.

I think we're going to surprise some people. I know I want everyone to see what kind of game I've got, just so they know me being drafted where I was wasn't a mistake or a bad pick or anything like that.

One thing I want to do is get out and see the city a little bit more once we get back from training camp. I've been here for about a week now and spent some time here when I came up for my press conference after the draft and it's a beautiful city. It reminds me a lot of my hometown, New York, a big, beautiful, beautiful city. I think I'm going to feel really comfortable.

But first we have to get our work done. We have to learn how to play together, see what the coach wants us to do and how he wants us to play. And I have to do my best so I can prove all those people wrong.


TRIBE Member
The studying is over — I'm set for the test


Raptor rookie Charlie Villanueva is sharing his thoughts on training camp and the pre-season with readers of the Star. Here's this week's instalment of his diary:


I'm very excited about tonight, it's my first legit game as a professional in the NBA and I can't wait to get out there on the floor and be playing in front of our home fans.

I've heard a lot of good things about the fans in Toronto, it will be nice to get out there and show them what I can do.

After all I've gone through since the draft, all the criticisms I heard, all the stuff that was said and written about me and the Raptors and the pick, I'm really ready to get out there and shine.

It'll be good to be playing against a real team; it was getting pretty old going against my teammates every day for a week. The scrimmage in St. Catharines on Saturday was fine, I was a little nervous the night before, but it won't be anything like tonight's game. That's when I can really see how far I've come in training camp.

Camp was pretty much what I expected, especially after I'd worked so hard in the summer to get ready. Now I think all that time in the gym was like studying for a test and now I've done the first part of it.

There were a few things that caught me by surprise in camp. I think every day I kept getting a little bit better and more comfortable. The speed of the game caught me a bit by surprise at first but I got used to it pretty quickly and things like the 24-second clock were tough to get accustomed to, in college we had 35 seconds and we had a bit longer for plays to develop.

Here, you get the ball, get into your sets and get going. I like to play at a fast pace so that was okay once I got used to it.

St. Catharines and Niagara Falls were good, but there was so much work at practice we didn't have time for a lot of off-the-court stuff. We'd be in the gym from about nine in the morning until afternoon, we'd go back to the hotel and get some treatment and rest, have something to eat and it'd be time to pack it in.

I'd watch a few movies, that's about it.

I've got my place in Toronto, and I've just been resting there since we got back, watching movies, not doing much.

I'm looking forward to getting out in the city once we get settled and into the season but right now I'm concentrating so much on getting better every day that there isn't time for anyone else.

How am I going to feel tonight? I think I'll be a little nervous, and a lot excited.

This is what I've been waiting my whole basketball life for, to play in the NBA. Can't wait