Omri Casspi has been teaming up with Tamir Goodman over the last few Sundays in an effort to help Cleveland area kids learn about the game of basketball with the Omri Casspi Basketball Camp Series. I linked up with Omri over at Fuchs Mazarachi School in Beachwood for day three of the camp yesterday afternoon, and our conversation is below. We talked about his work with the kids who attended his camp this summer, what he learned during his first year in Cleveland playing under Byron Scott, and his thoughts heading into the 2012/13 campaign with the Cavaliers.
StepienRules: After being traded to a new team, going through the lockout, and then having to adjust to a new system in Cleveland, what do you feel like you learned looking back at this past season?
Omri Casspi: I learned a lot last season. I told Coach [Byron] Scott at the end of the season that wherever I'm going to go from now on in my career, I will always look at this past year, my third year in the League, my first year under Coach Scott, as the year that made a big change in what I understand about the game of basketball. I learned so much, and I'm grateful for it. I didn't have a great year obviously, but it's something that I needed. I'm happy that it happened when I'm still young and I'm still learning, and I'm not a 33-year old guy when I learned all the things that I did from Coach Scott. I think I can grow from what I learned. I'm settled now, I know what I need to do, I know my role, I know the defensive schemes, and I know everything that we do as a team now, so I feel good heading into next season.
StepienRules: Now that you are settled in Cleveland, do things feel different for you heading into next season compared to how you felt one year ago?
Omri Casspi: Absolutely. Training camp was short last year, I got hurt during training camp, I was playing with pain during the season, and I wasn't one hundred percent. But now I've had that time to adjust to everything, and get everything right heading into this next season, and I feel good right now.
StepienRules: How has this camp experience been for you, interacting with these kids over the last few weeks?
Omri Casspi: It was fun. We can teach so much through basketball and through sports, and these kids learned a lot. We were just having fun, running around, playing sports, and helping kids get a lot more confidence in themselves through playing basketball. We've seen kids getting better, making forward progress, playing better and better everyday, and it was just a fun experience. We've had an opportunity to teach these kids a lot, and it's been great. It's been real successful.
StepienRules: What's your relationship with Tamir Goodman, and how did you guys come together on this camp?
Omri Casspi: We played against each other when I was in Israel, and we've been good friends ever since. It's just a small world because now I'm here playing with the Cavaliers, and he's here in Cleveland, so we got together on this. He does a great job with the kids, he's managed these camps from day one basically, he's very knowledgeable about basketball, and he does a great job with the kids.
StepienRules: Are you planning on doing future camps in the Cleveland area together too?
Omri Casspi: Yeah for sure. We're just getting started, and we will be doing more camps. We also have plans for an elite camp invitational next year, and we're looking forward to keeping it going.
In response to a tweet I posted on Twitter, a parent who had just picked their son up from Omri's camp sent me the following:
For more on the Tamir Goodman / Omri Casspi Basketball Camps go here: http://www.tamirgoodman.com/
Be there Thursday: Cavs Draft Tweet-Up June 28th at Mullarkey's Irish Pub with the Social Dudes - hope you can make it!