What Celtics Players Had To Say After First Practice With Ime Udoka

'His personality is contagious and it'll continue to trickle down throughout the team'


Sep 28, 2021

Jaylen Brown didn’t need to wait and see how the first practice would play out before going all-in on Ime Udoka.

The Boston Celtics guard already had experience playing under him on Team USA, as did Jayson Tatum and Marcus Smart.

“I’m completely bought in,” Brown told reporters, emphatically, Monday during his Celtics Media Day interview. “I’m looking forward to this season and being an extension of him on the court.”

But for those who experienced Udoka’s coaching style for the first time, the first-time head coach’s energy seemed to be exactly what Boston needed after a season where they underperformed and lacked identity.

Udoka plans to push them, and his players say he set the tone on Day 1.

“We just got after it, that’s what Ime likes to do,” Payton Pritchard told reporters after practice. “Go after it, compete. That’s how he was as a player and it fits us perfectly.”

The Celtics didn’t quite have that competitive edge last season, at least not for longer than quick flashes. But in years past, scrappy defense and team basketball helped players make a name for themselves and Boston, as a result, tended to exceed expectations.

Hopefully, Udoka brings that back through his coaching style.

“He’s a very upbeat guy, a very fun guy, loves to compete,” Aaron Nesmith told reporters after practice. “I think his personality is contagious and it’ll continue to trickle down throughout the team.”

It’s still to be determined if this switch up was what the Celtics needed. But so far, the team is open to the change.

“It’s a different voice, a different person,” Tatum told reporters Tuesday. “We learned some new things today.”

Thumbnail photo via Mark J. Rebilas/USA TODAY Sports Images
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