Joel Przybilla interview
After Orlando Magic defended home court Saturday night by beating Portland 101-94, InsideHoops.com had a chance to catch up with Joel Przybilla, who is doing more than just holding down the center position until Greg Oden returns next season. The 7-1, 255-pound Przybilla is averaging 7.3 rebounds a game in just 21 minutes per contest for the Blazers who have won 20 of their last 24 games.
InsideHoops.com: On this road trip youíve got through quite the gauntlet of big men, having faced Kevin Garnett, Shaquille OíNeal and Dwight Howard in consecutive games. How are you holding up?
Przybilla: Itís tough, but thatís just part of the league, every night thereís a different challenge and you just have to accept it and deal with it. Thatís just the NBA for you.
InsideHoops.com: After a tough season last year, the team has really bounced back and youíve been a big part of that. When Oden comes back, how do you see yourself fitting in with this team?
Przybilla: Whatever they ask me to do. If they want me to back-up, whatever. People donít realize that itís going to be a learning process for him when he comes back and Iím going to help guide him through the process. Because coming back from major knee surgery itís going to take him awhile to get back to they way he used to be. But whatever they ask me to do Iíll be here to support the team.
InsideHoops.com: Do wish you had someone like that to guide you when you were younger?
Przybilla: Well, I did have someone like that. In Milwaukee I had Earvin Johnson and he really taught me how to be a professional. That was the biggest thing I learned from him and itís helped me progress in my career and learn a lot.
InsideHoops.com: Have you taken that role with Greg?
Przybilla: Yeah, definitely. Iíve told him that this is your job and you need to be professional about it and take this job seriously. Because Iíve been on teams where guys donít take it seriously and thatís what makes this team special. Everyone on this team wants to win and knows their role and when you have that itís enjoyable to be around.