HoopsHype.com Interviews

Charlie Villanueva: "I'm expecting a more balanced attack this season"
by Jorge Sierra / September 20, 2006

Charlie Villanueva - Icon Sports MediaHow's the shoulder feeling?

Charlie Villanueva: It's feeling great now. It's 100 percent ready. I have been playing in Milwaukee for two weeks already and it's feeling good and I'm ready to go.

When did you stop feeling pain?

CV: I would say about one month and a half ago.

I guess that was big relief for you, right?

CV: Big relief, big relief. My shoulder had not felt that good for a long, long time. So it was great when I stopped feeling pain and it's feeling really good now.

What was the toughest part of rehab?

CV: Once the surgery was done, the next couple of weeks were hard. I couldn't even lift my arm, so it was kind of like starting from scratch. I had to do all the strengthening work to get the shoulder ready.

You had a pretty good rookie season, but after all these months not playing... Do you feel like people have forgotten about you a little bit?

CV: Last season was disappointing for me because I got injured early and fans pretty much didn't get the chance to see what they have gotten in the trade (with Toronto for TJ Ford). But now I'm in the best shape I've been in a long time and I'm looking forward to the chance of proving the fans and everybody else what I'm able to do.

You saw guys that you were better than during your rookie season, like Deron Williams, excel in the regular season and the playoffs. How did that felt?

CV: Those guys... Deron Williams and Chris Paul, I'm happy for them. I've always been a big fan of Deron and I was excited to watch him do so well in the playoffs. It just goes to show that our class was really strong and I'm happy for them.

One year later, how do you feel about the Toronto-Milwaukee trade?

CV: I was excited when the trade happen and still am. I think it was a good move basketball-wise for both teams and hopefully I will be able to deliver this year and prove that it was a good move by the Bucks.

Do you feel like you will be a starter for the team this year?

CV: Last year, I was starter. Then I was not feeling so well and got to the bench, then I started again... This season, I'm expecting to start. But we'll see what happens. I'm just excited to go out there and play and show what I can do.

Have you read the news that Yi Jianlian was going to get guaranteed minutes with Milwaukee this season?

CV: I'm aware of that. I've read the papers. But to tell you the truth, I don't think they're guaranteeing minutes to anybody. You got to play and earn the minutes. Nothing is handed, everything is earned. That's the way I look at this whole thing.

Have you talked with Larry Krystkowiak about your role this season?

CV: I have yet to talk with the coach about it, but I know he expects a lot from me. We'll soon sit and talk and see what are our expectations for this season.

You recently changed agents. You were with Billy Ceisler and now hired Jeff Schwartz. Why was that?

CV: Billy Ceisler, I have nothing against him. He was a good guy for us all along. But I really think he was more a friend than a business partner. I just thought I needed to step up in that area and enhance the business part and chose Jeff because I thought he was the right guy to do that.

There's a chance you might get a contract extension next summer. Is that something on the back of your mind coming into the season?

CV: I'm just going to approach this season the same way I did the last two years. Just will go out there and play my best. The contract thing will play it out itself. If I do good, I know that might be coming. But I won't change the approach I had in the past just because of that. I just have to play well and hope that we make the playoffs this season.

The East has improved a lot this summer. Do you think the playoffs are a realistic goal for the Bucks?

CV: I think it's a realistic goal, definitely. A couple of years ago, when I wasn't still here, the team made it. We've kept out guys, made good additions to the frontcourt... Mason, Jake Voskuhl... I think we can make it. What people forget is that last year we had a lot of guys injured. I know they are not talking about us, but I'm really confident about our chances.

Do you think Michael Redd will take most of the shots this season again or do you expect a more balanced attack?

CV: Mike is the best player on the team and everybody knows he's one of the best shooters in the NBA. He's our leader and will take a lot of shots. But I'm expecting a more balanced attack this season, with Mike leading us. We have enough talent on the team so that other players can take responsibility. We have Maurice Williams out there, Charlie Bell too... A lot of guys.

Are you happy that Milwaukee decided to keep Charlie Bell?

CV: I just found out and I'm excited about it. I like Charlie's game a lot because he has talent and plays hard too, so I'm definitely happy we're keeping him, but I'm also happy for him and his family.

Jorge Sierra is the editor of HoopsHype.com

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