* After labeling Jarrett Jack’s defense “crusty” following Tuesday’s practice, Coach Brown stuck with the muck metaphors on Wednesday – this time to describe rookie Anthony Bennett’s first two days of practice as a Cavalier.
“(Bennett) was significantly better this morning, not skill-wise because he’s got skill, but just being more in-tune, being more aware of what our process throughout the course of a practice is,” said Brown. “I thought the energy and awareness was better today than yesterday. Yesterday, he probably felt like he was in a fog most of the time and he was running through this fog in 15 inches of mud. The 15 inches is probably down to nine inches of mud. It’s a little hazy outside, but he was much improved from yesterday.”
Bennett is barely out of his teen years, turning 20 last March. The Cavs other first rounder, Sergey Karasev, is still in his teens – and although his English is very good, the language barrier still adds up to a couple more inches of mud.
Coach Brown talked about the luxury of not having to rely on the Cavaliers’ greenest greenhorns. “I have two teenagers, and I don’t even rely on them at home,” joked Brown.
* There are young, inexperienced Camp Invitees on the floor at Cleveland Clinic Courts. And, as it seems each year, there’s a veteran trying to make the Wine and Gold roster. This year, it’s a familiar face for Cavs fans.
DeSagana Diop was drafted with the No. 8 overall pick in 2001 and was labeled his “Baby Shaq” by then-coach John Lucas. He spent his first four years with the Wine and Gold, signed as a free agent with Dallas in 2005 and made a trip to the Finals that same year. He played seven more seasons -- going from the Mavericks to the Nets to the Bobcats – and is now vying for a frontline spot with Cleveland.
“It feels good (to be back),” said the affable big man. “It’s weird, though, being back in Cleveland. I never thought I’d be back playing for the Cavs again.”
Diop was very impressed by the facilities in Independence. “It’s nice, man! I worked out here last week. I wish I had that when I was here – food, 24-7 and all that. It’s nice!”
The native of Senegal has dropped 15 pounds and is at his Dallas playing weight. He thinks he can help the Cavs defensively and asserts that even his offense is better.
“It got better, but it’s not like I’m going to go in there and start scoring like crazy.”
Coming to Camp as an invitee is a new experience for Diop, but he’s not complaining.
“I’ve never been in this situation. I’ve always had a guaranteed contract. Going through this, leaving my family and coming here and staying in a hotel (is all new). But it’s still the best job in the world and I don’t mind it all.”
* Today’s randomness: First, a strange baseball stat: The Indians and Pirates teams have been in existence for 113 years and have never been in the postseason together in the same year.