Luis Flores: "I just want to play"
Luis Flores: It's an honor and a pleasure. I'm proud that I will get the chance to play for my country and it's even better that I will do it in front of my people.
Being the hosts, do you feel you are the team to beat?
LF: I don't think you can say that. Puerto Rico has a very strong team. Also Argentina. And then you have Brazil, the United States... But I think if we play well, if we play strong, we have a very good chance to finish the tournament with a medal.
LF: I would have loved to play with them, but there were obstacles. Charlie, his team wouldn't let him play. With Trevor, his team wouldn't let him play either. Anyway, I think our team is strong. I think it's filled with talent and we can do really well. We have everything it takes to win a medal in the tournament.
Do you feel like there will be more at stake for you than just the chance to win a medal in this tournament? With the Nuggets watching you, you may stay on the team or not depending on how well you play.
LF: That's true. I look at it as a chance to prove what I can do not only to the Nuggets, but also to the other teams as well. They will be watching and I must prove that I can run a team, that I know how to control a team.
You'll be playing point guard with the team, right?
Do you feel more comfortable now playing that position?
LF: A lot more. I've been working on this for a year already, so I feel more comfortable now. I learned a lot during this year because I've been doing it in the best league in the world. And I want to keep learning.
What's the most difficult thing about the position for you?
LF: Staying aggressive. Things are a lot different at the point guard position. At the shooting guard, things were easier. They gave you the ball and you were always aggressive attacking the basket. They created the situation for me, they set me up. Now it's me setting teammates up, so it's very different. But it's a learning process. I'm enjoying it and feeling more comfortable every day.
Tell me a little bit about your rookie season in the NBA. How was that for you?
LF: Real good. It's been a great experience. I just had to learn to be patient. Just willing to learn and work hard to keep improving at my new position.
Going from college superstar to bench player in the NBA... How tough was that transition for you?
LF: I would be lying if I tell you it was easy. But on the other hand, I knew I had to be patient because I had to learn a lot of new things. It takes time to understand the point guard position, to get a handle of it. But it's a beautiful experience.
Was Denver a little bit better than Golden State?
LF: Both were good situations. In Golden State, we didn't have the chance to make the playoffs. But I played more there. Denver was a better team and we qualified for the playoffs, but I didn't play much. I played the first two games and then they activated a shooting guard, so I was sent to the injury list. We made the playoffs, though. Each situation had good things. I would say I enjoyed both.
LF: Well, George Karl has more experience in the NBA. He's been in the league for like 15 years and it shows in the way he coaches. Mike Montgomery is more team-oriented. He wants everybody involved, wants everybody to touch the ball. With George Karl, it's like "if you have a good look, take the shot." He does a lot of two-on-twos, pick-and-rolls. You know, more NBA style. But I think Mike Montgomery did a great job at keeping the team together and he made the best of the situation he had.
If you stay with the Nuggets, they could choose to send you to play to the D-League. How would you take that?
LF: I would like to play in the league, but if they send me to the D-League I would look at it as a learning experience. I just want to play. If they want me to go there, I would do it. I would rather play in the NBA, but the bottom line is that I want to play. Whether it is in the major league or the D-League, I want to play to keep learning.
What can you tell us about Dominican prospect Edgar Sosa? He seems to have a great future and you are apparently mentoring him.
LF: Great future. He has great heart, he has no fear, he is very aggressive and he is very confident in his abilities. He's just very talented and has great court vision. Although he's just 17, by watching him play you notice he's a leader. And he plays real strong.
So do you think he'll end up in the NBA?
LF: Yes, definitely. Besides, he's going to play for Louisville and Rick Pitino will make him ready for that. He's just so talented and mature. It's hard to believe how mature he is for his age.
Jorge Sierra is the editor of HoopsHype.com
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