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Old 07-03-2009, 11:38 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Here's the interview he did with Doug Smith.


Calderon healthy and hungry

Jul 03, 2009 04:30 AM

Doug Smith
Sports Reporter

The whispers reverberate in the dark recesses of Jose Calderon's mind, the frustration still pulses through his brain as he recalls the barbs.

"Can't defend."

"Can't create."

"No lateral movement."

"No good."

"Not T.J. Ford."

His leg was bad, his finger was bad, his game was bad and his team was bad as the 2008-09 NBA season got away from the Raptors, the 27-year-old point guard a lightning rod for criticism.

But he knew what they were saying and he concurred; he also knows it was an aberration, and as the days pass in Spain, the No. 1 task at hand is restoring some life to those legs, some explosiveness to the body, some peace to his mind.

That is the single-minded goal of Calderon this summer: Become the Calderon of old.

He may not be one to play the "everyone's-against-me-I'll-prove-them-wrong" card; he is simply supremely confident that given good health after a summer of work, that people will go back to lauding him as they were the season before last.

"It was not me, I knew it, I was like 50 per cent," Calderon said in a telephone conversation from Spain yesterday. "My numbers were good but I was not playing. And I knew it."

This summer has been dedicated to getting the hamstring that bothered him for half a season in perfect condition, to let the surgically repaired finger on his left (non-shooting) hand heal, to be sure when he comes back to North America in September, he's 100 per cent.

There will be no playing for Spain in the European championships in September – the first time he's refused a call from the national team in more than a decade – and hours spent in the workout room and on the court.

"It's very important for our team that I am better," he said after finishing another day at the week-long camp he runs for kids in the Extremadura region near his home town. "I had good numbers (12.8 points, 8.9 assists per game) but I was not the real Jose Calderon.

"If I can get those numbers up a little bit, maybe to 15 and 10 or 15 and 9, and I am 100 per cent, I know I can compete against all the point guards in the league."

Calderon, who had teammate Chris Bosh in Spain for three days to help out at his camp, said the finger he had surgery on right after the season ended is mending well and his hamstring is giving him no trouble at all.

Increasing his quickness has been a priority in off-season workouts.

"I can be faster, I can be better in everything," he said. "Everything can be much better."

Calderon endorsed the hiring of Jay Triano as the team's head coach because it will afford a sense of continuity going into the season. The Raptors finished strongly with Calderon at close to full health and he figures they can thrive with a full training camp with the old, new coach.

"I talked to him as soon as I heard the news," said Calderon. "I'm waiting for that training camp to work with him from the beginning; now he'll get to work his philosophy from the start." And with a healthy point guard.

"To be me, that's what I want," said Calderon.
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