May 23, 1997
two frustrating and unproductive seasons, Dee Brown desperately needs
to get his career back on track. The Celtics guard figures new coach
Rick Pitino is the man to help him achieve that objective.
really feel I can excel playing for him," Brown said yesterday from his
home in Orlando. "I was so thrilled when I heard the news that the
Celtics had hired him.
"It's great for the
organization and personally, I think it's going to be great for me.
I've spent a lot of time lately thinking about how much fun it would be
playing in coach Pitino's system."
was hired May 6 as the Celtics' head coach and president. He's been
busy since preparing for one of the most important drafts in Celtics'
history. At the same time, he has taken a hard look at the team's
roster. Brown's name has surfaced more than a few times.
"Dee Brown is one of the players on this team who can really play the game," said Pitino,
addressing the central question of which veterans are capable of
fitting into his high-octane system. "I'm very anxious to work with Dee
as well as all of the Celtics who I feel have not reached their
potential for one reason or another. I honestly wish we could begin
So does Brown, who has
recovered from a broken right big toe that kept him sidelined the final
two months of the season. Brown also reports a recovery from lower back
problems that derailed him during much of the first half of the season.
"I'm so excited about playing - it's like a new lease on life for me," said Brown, 28, who will enter his eighth NBA season.
system - whether it's been at Providence, the Knicks, Kentucky - is all
about going full steam, up and down the floor, working at peak
efficiency for all 48 minutes.
"It takes a lot of energy and a full commitment, which means you have to be in the best possible shape. I plan to be."
who returned home with his family Wednesday from a vacation in Aruba,
has been lifting weights since the season ended. He will resume playing
basketball in the next few weeks and has already made plans to
participate in the Celtics' rookie-free agent camp in July.
"I haven't had an opportunity yet to talk to coach Pitino
because he's been so busy, but I'm definitely going to be up there to
take part," said Brown, at the midway point in a six-year contract.
"I've always gone to the summer camp since I joined the Celtics. Last
year was the first year I missed."
still smarting from a 1995-96 season in which he publicly asked to be
traded because of limited playing time, had figured it was best for all
concerned he stay away during last July's four-day session. He worked
out his differences with then-Celtics coach and director of basketball
operations M.L. Carr, but his frustrations were only beginning.
watched a second straight season ruined, this time by injuries, leaving
his once-promising NBA career at a crossroads. But Brown, for the first
time since he plummeted from the Celtics' nucleus to an afterthought on
the roster, is confident he can re-establish himself in Boston.
"It's where I started my career and it's where I'd like to hopefully get it back headed in the right direction," said Brown