First round draft pick Arron Afflalo is having a NBA moment.
MF: First off, congratulations on going in the first round.
AA: It was an exciting time for me, I appreciate that I’m in a good position right now.
Did you celebrate?
I didn’t do a whole lot, I didn’t have a party or anything like that. I had my family with me and I went to New York then I went straight over to Detroit. I didn’t do too much to celebrate, honestly.
You were playing in the NBA summer league in Vegas last month, how was it?
It was a good experience to get out there and play with some older guys who are playing for an opportunity to play in the NBA. There was a lot of competitive spirit out there and it was really good for a first experience.
Did you find it more difficult than playing at UCLA?
[Laughs] Well, obviously everyone is a little bit older and more mature, so from that standpoint there’s going to be an adjustment period but the game’s still the same and I think I’ll do fine.
Do you have any good Vegas stories or were you playing and training the whole time.
We were pretty much on schedule. We either had games or practices and scrimmages on our off days so we were pretty busy.
How was it playing with the other rookies on the Pistons?
Good, good. All the guys have great personalities and I got to know them a little bit. I was roommates with the other rookie that was drafted in the first round, Rodney Stuckey.
Before the draft were you nervous? How’d you deal with that?
At that point [at the Garden] I had been through all my workouts with individual teams and I had gone through my training process. In my mind I felt like I had done all I could do and there was no point in worrying.
So the time you’d spent training and making other preparations helped keep you relaxed?
At that point, I understood that I put in the work and it wasn’t in my hands anymore. There were a lot of things I did on the days leading up to the draft and I’d also gotten a lot of positive feedback beforehand, so on the day of the draft I was confident.
Before the draft you began a pretty serious workout regimen, talk about that.
I went up to San Francisco to train with a personal trainer. He had a lot of good stuff for me and helped change my diet a little bit. Actually, I got leaned up a little bit but also managed to gain some muscle. I just did a lot of training in all types of weather; most of my training was outdoors on the beaches, a lot of core and conditioning.
Can you talk about any exercises that particularly helped you improve?
All of my workouts helped, really. In the month and a half that I trained up there I might have done the same exercise maybe once or twice a week. There wasn’t a whole lot of repetition in what I did but a lot of the exercises worked the same muscles. I would run up sand hills with weights or dumbbells or a weight vest on. I would run along the beach since the sand is soft and is really good for your legs and conditioning. I did a lot of pull-ups, a lot of push-ups. Shoulder work with medicine balls. A lot of sprinting, especially up hills. I didn’t really lift a whole lot of weights but everything I did made me more powerful and explosive
Do you feel that the workouts have carried over to your game?
Yeah, I think the major thing was the recovery time to my wind. Not that I was out of shape – I’ve always worked hard – but it was a different type of conditioning that prepared my body in a different way. My recovery time became pretty good as far as when I would get tired and bounce back and be able to get my second and third wind. That was probably the most beneficial and I think that had a lot to do with my diet and having more muscle and the fact that I was doing a lot of running. The heart is a muscle as well so I did a lot of cardio.
What sort of changes did you make to your diet?
I just got away from a college student diet; I learned how to read the ingredients and find the good and bad in food and drinks. The diet was pretty strict and I tried not to have any lapses even if it meant not eating a peppermint. I tried to utilize the entire time and not have any setbacks. I just ate a lot of salad, a lot of fish, chicken and turkey. No red meat or artificial sugars. I just ate only things that are good for you.
Do you have any fitness goals for the upcoming year?
I pretty much touched on everything as a whole. I’m actually going back to my trainer in the middle of August, and once I head out to Detroit, Richard Hamilton – who’s known for being one of the most in-shape guys in the NBA will be there – so he’ll be a good guy to work out with and learn form.