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It's all good with Walker: Celts star makes peace with Pitino
Thanks Jose Ogando who wrote:
> by Steve Bulpett - Boston Herald
> Tuesday, October 5, 1999
> The cards are on the table. And Antoine Walker is still on the
> Casting aside all questions of his position and his relationship with
> Rick Pitino, Walker showed up for training camp yesterday at The
> Sports Authority Training Center at HealthPoint in Waltham ready to
> reclaim the promise he seemed to squander last season.
> And as regards to the coach, he reiterated what has been noted here in
> the past - that they are tight enough and emotional enough to bark at
> each other and do better afterward.
> ``I've been with coach a long time and I've had nothing but success
> with him,'' Walker said before getting his physical (two-a-day
> practices start this morning). ``Saying playing for him hasn't been a
> good thing for me would be foolish. It's been a great thing for me.
> It's gotten me to the point where I am right now.
> ``We don't have any problems. People try to make stuff out of nothing,
> but I think once we start winning all that other stuff will die down.
> Me and coach have no beef at all. We spoke several times this summer
> and everything is fine. He did his job as president and coach of the
> team, adding good players, and now I have to do my job as a player and
> get ready to play basketball for him.''
> Walker was admittedly not pleased by hearing the Celts were offering
> him in trades, but he knows the NBA score.
> ``We both understand it's a business and your name is going to be
> mentioned in trade talks and everything else, and that's going to
> happen no matter how good you are,'' he said. ``Every year you see
> good players get traded. But I'm here right now, and that's all that
> Walker and Pitino had their meeting yesterday morning, taking an hour
> and a half to talk about the season. They are the two most headstrong
> people on the team, and they are also the most visible standards of
> the franchise. So this was no idle coffee chat.
> ``We talked about getting the team better,'' Walker said. ``It wasn't
> so much about me and him personally. It was about the team.
> ``I respect him as a coach and he respects me as a player, and he just
> told me what he expects out of me. He told me he would give me the
> same respect I give him, and that's all you can ask for in the NBA.
> ``I've been with him a long time, so it's a little deeper for me and
> him. I owe him a lot. He made me a great player. He got me to the NBA.
> I don't want to start out with another coach. I think me playing for
> coach Pitino is the best thing. I think me and coach are on the same
> page. Now I just hope the rest of the team is on that same page, too.
> If we can do that, the sky's the limit for us.''
> In a technical sense, the Celtics must decide where Walker will start.
> He stated last year that he wanted to be more of a small forward type,
> but he's not holding to any of that now.
> ``I don't care,'' he said. ``I'm Antoine, and whatever position coach
> puts me in, I'm ready to play. I'm not isolating myself to one area. I
> just want to be competitive and play the game that will help us win. I
> want to be what the team needs. That's my whole attitude this year.
> ``I think wherever I play I can be successful. I don't want to label
> myself to one position. I just want to get back to playing good
> basketball, whether that's at three (small forward) or four (power
> forward). I played a lot on the block last year, and I want to get
> back to doing both.''
> What he wants to get back to is the time when people were looking at
> him as as one of the game's better talents.
> That tag slipped off last season, and it won't be reattached unless he
> can lead the Celtics to wins.