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Projo: Pitino: Walker In Good Shape
Pitino, however says he hasn't seen Antoine for months,
and is glad he didn't attend the Celtics summer workouts...
Pitino looks for a Celts playoff run
The chase begins with the opening of training
camp next week.
By KEVIN McNAMARA
Journal Sports Writer
PROVIDENCE -- Rick Pitino is no doubt used to hearing
far-flung questions every day, some more bizarre than
Yesterday, the Celtics' coach was at the Urban
Collaborative Accelerated Program (UCAP), a school that
works with at-risk kids in the seventh to ninth grades.
A worker at the school approached the coach, introduced
himself and asked ``Coach, do you think you can win a
championship this season?''
Pitino stepped back a bit and politely answered,
``Well, we have to get back into the playoffs first.''
The Celtics begin their quest to end a four-year
playoff drought when training camp opens next week.
Pitino, set to begin his third season in Boston, has
said he thinks this year's team can make the playoffs.
Yesterday, he told the students at UCAP that ``it's an
exciting time for New England sports and time for the
Boston Celtics to step back into the playoffs.''
The Celtics' preparation for a playoff run never
stopped in the off-season. Pitino sent teams to two
summer leagues, and they went unbeaten in both.
Workouts at the team's practice facility in Waltham
have also been well-attended, headlined by Paul Pierce,
last year's rookie star.
``It's been not only a great surprise, but our new
facility has encouraged them to come in,'' Pitino said.
``The only people that aren't in are Eric (Williams),
Antoine (Walker) and Kenny (Anderson) and we've been in
contact with all of their strength people and they're
all in good shape.''
Any talk of workouts and training camp instantly shifts
to Walker, the Celtics' captain and human lightning
rod. After the labor lockout ended last winter, Walker
showed up to an abbreviated training camp overweight.
Pitino vowed that would never happen again, but it's
three days before camp opens and he hasn't seen Walker
Asked if he's upset that Walker hasn't been Mr. Celtic
this summer, Pitino insisted he has no problem with the
team's young star.
``He's been working out. I'm actually not disappointed
by Antoine not coming in. If I had my choice I'd rather
him not come in,'' he said. ``We're working on a lot of
things right now that are very, very important to the
developement of the young players. It's beneficial that
Antoine's not there.
``I know he's in decent shape. I know he'll come in
okay because of his professional pride after last
In the next breath, Pitino stressed the importance of
players arriving for camp in good shape. He said camp
elevates them to great shape.
``It's changed so much. The days of the old baseball
teams coming to camp to lose their gut are gone,'' he
The Celtics have 14 players under contract but Pitino
will find a way to get down to the 12-man roster limit.
Greg Minor (hip) is likely gone for the season, and his
career may be over. Surprisingly, Pitino said the
team's other frequently injured veteran is running
``Even Pervis (Ellison) is back. I call him our wild
card,'' he said. ``If he's ever going to perform for
the Celtics, I think this is the year. It's his
contract year and he wants to continue.''
Pitino and Citizens Bank announced the presentation of
200 tickets to students at UCAP for the Celtics'
exhibition game in Providence against the Atlanta Hawks
on Oct. 15. Tickets are on sale at the Civic Center.
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