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Bulpett: Calbert Cheaney Won't Be Fazed By Pitino
Calbert can't be hounded: After Knight, Cheaney unfazed by Pitino bark
by Steve Bulpett
Sunday, October 3, 1999
It has happened before and it will happen again. Rick Pitino will scream
and a Celtic will shake his head.
But one should not expect any static from free agent signee Calbert
Cheaney. Pitino may occasionally get nutty, but it's not likely Cheaney
``I'm not that concerned about that,'' the 6-foot-7 swingman said with a
smile after finishing a workout in preparation for Tuesday's training camp
start. ``I was under coach (Bob) Knight for four years, so, I mean, it
doesn't get any nuttier than that.
``But,'' Cheaney added, turning earnest, ``I have no problem with the work
ethic. Ever since I got here, they really put you to work. And that's
great. That's what you need if you want to be a playoff basketball team.
``I have no problem with (a coach yelling). I want to be the best player I
can be and at the same time try to help other players - just become a
Cheaney's days at Indiana have never really become a distant memory. Since
leaving in 1993 as a first-team All-American, he has stayed in close touch
with the volatile Mr. Knight. In fact, he sought counsel from the coach
when deciding whether to come to the Celtics as a free agent or take more
money in a sign-and-trade deal and wind up in Miami.
``I talked to him, and he had some influence,'' Cheaney said of Knight.
``It was between Boston and Miami, and he likes both coaches (Pat Riley
and Pitino) and both programs. He just gave me a little input. I respect
coach Knight's help because he's a great coach and a great friend.
``I think I was really steering a little bit toward this way before I even
talked to coach Knight.''
Of all that Cheaney is expected to provide the Celtics - points, defense,
etc. - perhaps the greatest asset he can bring is maturity.
At 28, he qualifies as a grizzled veteran on this club, and the coaching
staff is confident he is beyond petty personal needs. While informing
Pitino & Co. that he is working for a starting job, Cheaney has let it be
known he will handle whatever role comes his way.
Asked to assess the Celtics' needs, he was to the point.
``I think there's the youth aspect,'' Cheaney said. ``As you get older,
you get a little wiser. And they're getting there.
``This team has got a lot of talent on it. They pretty much have
everything you need to win and get to the playoffs, and obviously that's
the goal here. From what I've seen, everybody's really worked hard and
really put the basketball team first as far as getting in great physical
and mental condition.
``And I expect a lot out of myself,'' Cheaney added. ``I'm not going to
lie. The last three or four years have been very disappointing for me, and
I just thought it was a good time for me to get a fresh start. I'm not
looking to score a lot of points - just contribute and give 150 percent
out there on the court.''
Cheaney has also promised not to awaken on a January morning when there is
a foot of snow on the ground and second-guess his choice of Boston over
``Naw,'' he said. ``There's a reason why I came here. This team can be
very good, and I want to be a part of that.''