By Randy Renner
While some of his Thunder teammates worked out on the floor at the UCLA practice gym in Los Angeles, Mitch McGary was busy with his own spirited workout session.
He was leading a group of about 75 children in a Thunder Youth Basketball Camp, giving them tips on how to run certain drills, watching them shoot free throws and layups and giving them some advice.
"Just have fun. When I was going to camps at their age the most important thing was just trying to learn as much as I could and just have have fun," McGary said.
Fun is something McGary specializes in and watching him it's easy to see he has a great time at these camps.
"I try to bring a different approach to it with lots of smiles and energy and encouragement and I think it pays off."
After his session with the campers he spent some time answering a few questions from a handful of local reporters who hadn't had a chance to talk with him since Summer League.
"I think I did an okay job (at summer league), I really wasn't looking to score a lot offensively I was really trying to focus on the defensive aspect of the game."
So much of how well you play defense in the NBA is setup by how well you communicate with your teammates, shouting out pick and roll coverages and who has help assignments. Learning how to do that properly isn't nearly as easy as it may sound.
"No it's not, you've gotta talk a lot and talk early, be in your spots early, communicating early and often. I think I did a decent job but I know I have a lot of room for improvement."
Like Thunder fans everywhere McGary is anxious to see how things develop this coming season. A new coaching staff is in place and in many respects a new team, since so many Thunder players spent so much time on the injured list and didn't have a chance to play with the guys who were acquired at the trade deadline.
"I think it's gonna be good, just building that chemistry from the start so we'll see going into training camp. I can't wait to get started."
He's already started building on new relationships with head coach Billy Donovan and assistants Monty Williams and Anthony Grant.
"I like Billy, I like Monty and coach Grant and all these new guys really have an optimistic look on the season."
And why not be optimistic? No new injuries have occurred, the old ones seem to be healing up quite nicely and if the Thunder can just manage to stay healthy they should be one of the best three or four teams in the NBA.
Training camp get here soon enough.