Pistons Practice Electrifies Oakland


By Tom Murphy Jr.

Senior Reporter

With the bitterness of losing in the conference finals for the third straight year fading into hope for the new season, basketball fans got their first look at the 2008-09 Detroit Pistons Thursday at the O’Rena on the campus of Oakland University.

New head coach Michael Curry said that the event was as much fun for the players as it appeared to be for the fans.

“Fan support has been great,” Curry said. “It’s a great atmosphere [at OU], it’s always a packed house. The [players] like coming over here to play so hopefully the fans enjoyed it as much as we did.”

Despite many rumors about changes to the roster over the summer, most of the familiar faces were there, including all of last season’s starting five.

The players started with stretching, followed by shooting drills. The majority of the practice was spent on scrimmaging.

Pistons guard Rodney Stuckey electrified the crowd when he stole the ball from Chauncey Billups and fled down court, finishing with a thunderous slam.

New Pistons free agent acquisition Kwame Brown participated as well as rookie Walter Sharpe.

For Sharpe, being a rookie entails much more than learning the system and keeping up with the speed of the NBA. He also has to pay his dues.

“It’s gonna be a long year for him,” veteran Pistons forward Rasheed Wallace said. “He knows what it’s going to be this year, [he’s responsible for getting] the donuts and the coffee and going to get the paper four blocks away even though there is one right next to him.”

For many of the Pistons stars, the off-season was spent taking time away from the game. However, Pistons forward Tayshaun Prince spent the summer helping the United States win a gold medal at the Summer Olympics in Beijing.

“It was a lifetime opportunity,” Prince said. “Not a lot of people get the opportunity to do something like that so it was very special.”