omri casspi 311.
(photo credit: AP)
Omri Casspi will join the Israel national team in training later this week after
completing his participation in the NBA Summer League on Sunday.
playing five games in six days in Las Vegas, Casspi was rested on Sunday and
didn’t feature in the Sacramento Kings’ 85-54 blowout loss to the Dallas
Despite a successful rookie season, the 22-year-old has spent
his summer working on every facet of his game to ensure he is better equipped
for life in the NBA. Casspi added an extra 15 pounds of upper-body muscle by
participating in Joe Abunassar’s Impact Basketball Camp, and despite some
erratic play in the summer league, he is pleased with his overall display in Las
Casspi averaged 14.0 points, hitting 48.9% of his field-goals in
24.6 minutes on court over the five summer league games he played.
summer has been great for me in so many ways,” Casspi told the Sacramento
“At the end of last season, (GM) Geoff (Petrie) and (coach) Paul
(Westphal) told me that I needed to get stronger, just get back to playing the
way I did earlier last season. I can do that. I didn’t realize at the time how
fatigued I became with… everything.”
Kings’ summer league coach Mario
Elie was delighted with Casspi’s contribution.
“I’m proud of him,” Elie
said. “He earned his minutes.
He’s one of the guys we’re trying to get
Despite the progress being made, Sacramento coach Westphal is
expecting further improvement from his Israeli forward.
“Omri is a
naturally aggressive player,” said Westphal, who will have to decide how to
split the minutes in the small forward position between Casspi, Donté Greene and
“We’re looking for him to be consistent. You can’t
charge in all circumstances. The way our team is, that position is going to be
more of a counterpuncher.
“Give us defense first. Spread the floor
offensively. And judgment.
We’re looking for those three
Casspi will now turn his focus to the national team’s
qualifying campaign, which begins away at Italy on August 2. The former
Tel Aviv forward hasn’t played for Israel in two years after choosing to
last summer’s European Championships to prepare for the NBA draft.
such an outstanding rookie season in the NBA the expectations from
return to the blue-and-white are sky-high. However, gone are the days
allowed all the hype in Israel to affect his mindset on court.
still a big deal back home,” Casspi added, “but I can deal with things
have the national team coming up. Then it’s back here to the camp, then
Sacramento for a few weeks before the season. I want to be good so
badly. I just
have to keep working.”