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Samardo Samuels’ improved conditioning helped him shine at NBA Summer League

Jul 20, 2012, 8:07 PM EDT

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LAS VEGAS — There are a lot of players in Las Vegas this week that nearly nobody recognizes due to the hodgepodge that is NBA Summer League. There’s a power forward on the Cleveland Cavaliers that is unrecognizable for other reasons, however, as Samardo Samuels has undergone a complete body overhaul compared to how he looked at the end of last season.

It showed on Friday afternoon, too, as Samuels came off the bench to score nine points and grab 13 rebounds — six of which came on the offensive end — in an absolute beatdown of the New York Knicks. It could be argued that Tristan Thompson was more impressive before leaving the game in the middle of the third quarter, but Samuels’ transformation into an athletically-competent basketball player has been pretty impressive all week.

The second-year pro is well-aware of that, too, as he talked a bit about it during the post-game media availability (video available over at Fear The Sword courtesy of Conrad Kaczmarek).

“I had a pretty good Summer League,” Samuels said after the Cavs’ final game of the Summer League season. “It gave me a chance to work on some of the areas that people are questioning. It gave me a chance to show that I can do all that stuff. As each game progressed I got better and that’s what Summer League is for, you know?”

He essentially showed more aggression and quicker hops rather than an overtly-improved game, but the transformation he made with his body was even more impressive.

“I’ve just been working out nonstop … ever since this season gave break,” Samuels said. “I was on it every day doing cardio and when I’m not playing, I’ve been working out. Just staying with it everyday.”

That’s the key to his game, too, as Samuels exploded for a huge putback dunk and created a few other solid opportunities just because he’s able to move quicker than he was in the past.

“I’m way more explosive,” Samuels said. “Sometimes I get back to my old habits, but the more I play the more I feel like I’ll be more comfortable out here because I realize I don’t have to do as much work as I normally have to do.”

Considering your’s truly has lost a decent amount of pounds and plays basketball at the local YMCA on a daily basis, I can attest to what Samuels is saying … hopefully it continues to work as he attempts to make the Cavs’ rotation next season.

  1. donfelder440 - Jul 20, 2012 at 10:20 PM

    I really liked this guy 2 years ago and thought he had a lot of swagger, toughness, and potential. Last year, he was definitely out of shape and got in Coach Scott’s doghouse. But I remained confident he could be an effective player, and I’m glad to see he’s taking matters into his own hands. He’s got a lot of potential. I’m excited to see the dividends his new work ethic yields this season.

    • royistheboy - Jul 21, 2012 at 2:17 AM

      Agreed. Lots of toughness and good instincts. Will be interesting to see what he can do now that he’s in shape.

  2. southpaw77 - Jul 21, 2012 at 2:09 PM

    Hey Samardo, take Waiters under your wing because since he decided to not workout for teams, he thought it meant not workout at all and eat.
    Even the coaching staff called Waiters a little bowling ball during an interview on NBA TV.

  3. cantonbound13 - Jul 21, 2012 at 2:59 PM

    Nice to see a guy work hard like that. It’s unfortunate we don’t get these stories too often, instead we hear about guys like Eddie Curry, A. Blatche & Raymond Felton.

  4. imforbigblue - Jul 21, 2012 at 5:39 PM

    See kids you should never pick louisville as your collage because you will end up like this guy as not ready for the NBA and didn’t get any better playing for slick Rick. This kid had to get better on his own in the NBA

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