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Beno7500
07-22-2008, 03:11 AM
LAS VEGAS Kevin Martin arrived with an agenda and, almost as interestingly, with something to say.

The plan is to impress USA Basketball officials while preparing the U.S. Olympic Team for Beijing. Establish eye contact with members of the selection committee, further enhancing his own future Olympic prospects. Maintain his excellent conditioning. Swap stories with Kobe Bryant, LeBron James and Mike Krzyzewski. And then, when the Olympic team scoots off to Beijing, finish scribbling his introduction for 2008-09.

That long-sought Kings leader? That would be Martin. His words. His time.

"True leadership is having guys who work hard in the offseason and want to be there for one reason, and it's not all about themselves," Martin said after Monday's practice with the USA Select Team at Valley High School. "That's why I came here when they invited me to help prepare the team, to watch guys like Kobe, seeing how he's changed, tries to get people involved. You learn a lot. I'm coming to training camp this year ready to do whatever it takes, being vocal in the locker room, asking to defend the toughest player. I know I'm ready to be the leader, to be that guy."

This was Kevin Martin? Little Kevin Martin? These are big, bold words, considering the source. Though engaging and insightful, Martin always has seemed more comfortable with small talk in private chats. He preferred inspiring conversation with his jumpers and steals and dunks rather than potentially incendiary remarks.

Yet as he sat in a creaky chair after practice Monday, a towel draped loosely over his shoulders, his upper arms thickened by another offseason of weight work, the Kings' leading scorer had something to say. Admittedly emboldened by suddenly keeping company with Kobe and LeBron and the league's other elite sitting or standing a few feet away, the fifth-year player said he was disappointed by last season, by the injuries and all the off-court nonsense, and intends to respond with a powerful voice and performance.

"I watch these guys out here, and they all want to win," Martin added forcefully. "That's what I'm about."

While Monday's practice was closed to the media, Martin impressed at least a few of the NBA scouts and coaches allowed in the gym. Two former head coaches volunteered Martin's name when asked which players were most effective against the Olympic squad. Select Team coach P.J. Carlesimo, soon bound for Oklahoma City with the SuperSonics, was even more complimentary.

"If you watch Kevin even for two minutes, you say, 'This is one of the better young players in the league,' " Carlesimo said. "Some of our young guys just didn't look like they belonged out there today, but he was very aggressive. He defended well, and while we already know he can shoot, when plays broke down, he put the ball on the floor. (USA Basketball director) Jerry Colangelo has a saying: 'You get the young guys in here in the pipeline, for future Olympic teams. I definitely think Kevin is one of the guys you're looking at for 2012 or 2016."

Martin, who has envisioned making the Olympic team since watching the 1992 Dream Team, was most enamored of the 1996 squad. He patterned his game after '96 Olympian Reggie Miller, learned to move without the ball and compensate for a similar lack of heft with quickness and guile. Yet to move from the living room to the same gym with some of the game's greatest players? From a small Ohio town and tiny Western Carolina to the lights of Las Vegas? From being drafted 26th in 2004 to sharing a gym with the league's elites?

Laughing, Martin leans back, then forward, squaring his shoulders. He is motivated by his own small-college, low-first-round-pick story. He has big, big goals.

"I'm ready," he reiterated. "I know I am."
Sacbee (http://www.sacbee.com/kings/story/1099387.html)


I like his attitude.

Kyle N.
07-22-2008, 03:43 AM
Sounds good to me.

BigEric
07-22-2008, 11:48 AM
That's what we are going to need when Artest leaves.

Beno7500
07-22-2008, 02:07 PM
Martin, by the way, said he has gained 10 pounds of muscle, mostly in his upper arms. He says he weighs 190 pounds. "I lost weight during the season," he added. "I finished the year at 180, but you can't believe how much better it feels when you're out there with this added strength."
Sacbee Kings Blog (http://www.sacbee.com/static/weblogs/sports/kings/)

BigEric
07-22-2008, 02:45 PM
I hope the added weight doesn't slow him down that much.

Catfish1314
07-22-2008, 03:31 PM
I like the added strength. Even if it slows him down a little, it's going to decrease the chances of him getting an injury.

sacgiants1213
07-22-2008, 03:34 PM
great attitude and great news on the added strength. very pleased to know that he's using his off season wisely and effectively and not just sitting on his *** at home like k9 is probably.

kmart4mvp

Beno7500
07-22-2008, 03:49 PM
It may slow him down by 3% :shrug:

He will still be in the top 5 for quickest in the league.

Kings Faithful
07-22-2008, 04:45 PM
It isn't going to slow him down at all. The bigger his arms get the more wait his legs have to run around with. His legs will adjust to the new weight and grow a little bit themselves. So good weight gain overall. Im enamored with kevin. lol

sacgiants1213
07-22-2008, 05:47 PM
yep....kevin's the man. one thing he needed was lbs...and that's what he got.

CaptainCool79
07-23-2008, 09:06 PM
Damn...where would the Kings be without our beloved K-Mart??