HoopsHype.com Interviews

Martell Webster: "This is a chance to get better"
by Jorge Sierra / January 31, 2006

How would you describe these two weeks in the D-League with the Fort Worth Flyers?

Martell Webster: It's been great. The competition level is great. I'm getting a lot of playing time and getting a chance to play against talented guys that play like they have something to prove, that are fighting to get to the next level. It's been good.

Were you upset that the Blazers sent you to the D-League?

MW: I was at first, I was at first. But now I look at it as a positive, as a chance to get here and get better, to work on my game... I'm having workouts down here with (Blazers scout) Bill Bayno... Now I look at it as a positive.

Do you have any idea how long you'll be playing there?

MW: No, I have no idea how long I'll be in Fort Worth. I'm just focused on this. And when I get called up, I get called up. Right now, I don't worry about that.

You and Sergey Monya had a talk with Theo Ratliff before going to the D-League. What did he tell you?

MW: He told us to go down there and be aggressive, be competitors. He told us not to look at it as a demotion, but as a chance to excel. Just go down here and get better and not worry about what people say, what happened or why I'm here. While I'm down here, I'm just going to work to get better.

What's the thing you miss the most about not being in Portland with the Blazers now?

MW: Not being near my family. That's about it. Other than that, not much. I don't miss much and look at this as a chance to get better.

What are the biggest differences between Nate McMillan and Sam Vincent, your coach in Fort Worth?

MW: There are differences, but not many differences. They stress defense. With them, if you play defense, you know you're gonna get time on the court.

Had you ever had a coach like McMillan before?

MW: Yeah, I had one: Jim Marsh, my AAU coach. He always wanted players to put a lot of effort and play hard. He (Nate McMillan) really reminds me of that coach.

Coming into the season, what were your expectations?

MW: My expectations were just to come in and become a great player. I always set high expectations for myself.

You have not shot the ball very well so far this season. Why do you think is that, considering that's your main strength?

MW: I'm not used to this level of play... But, I mean, I have no excuse. I'm not going to use that as an excuse. All good players that shoot the ball well have slumps. But shooters keep shooting. Keep playing, that's what I have to do.

Blazer players in the past have complained about the Portland media and how tough it was on the team. Do you feel that pressure?

MW: No, I don't. The way you can really screw yourself in that regard is by saying things you shouldn't say. You just have to use common sense. And then, if you read something you don't like, you have to take negatives as positives. I don't let the media affect me.

Jorge Sierra is the editor of HoopsHype.com

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