He's the underdog. The long shot in the eyes of many. Tony Gaffney has faced long odds throughout his journey to reach the NBA, and they are staring him in the face once again as he enters training camp today in Newport RI to battle one of the deepest collections of NBA talent ever assembled in Celtic Green for a spot on the roster.
Yesterday, I had a chance to speak with the 6'8" UMass product, one on one, to gain some perspective on Tony's mindset heading into camp and what he must do to make this team:
CelticsHub: Talk a little been about your attitude heading into camp. The roster obviously looks completely different from when you originally signed, but the small forward position which you play is fairly shallow? Given that, what's your mentality heading into camp with this squad?
Tony Gaffney: Obviously I have to go in with the mentality that I belong here, and I can play at this level and help this team win. I just have to prove it. I need to be one of the hardest workers in this league, let alone on this team and just show I can bring some intangibles to this team and help them win another title.
CH: What's your summer workout regime been like? You've been down in Florida?
TG: I was in Tampa for a month and a half after summer league, training down there to get ready for camp. Now, I've been in Waltham for the last three weeks or so, working out with a bunch of the guys, playing fives. Been trying to get in Championship caliber shape and getting ready for camp.
It feels good to finally be healthy, my foot is finally healed and I'm just excited.
CH: Did you take it easy on the foot this summer or did you go hard all the way through?
TG: Well when I got the word I was finally cleared to start playing, there was no taking it easy. I really didn't have a summer, since I had about 7 1/2 months off prior to that (due to injury). For me, once they told me that I hit the ground running and started going as hard as I could before camp started.
I think I took full advantage of that though while working in Tampa for that period of time was helpful getting me back in shape and regaining my confidence. For this kind of injury, it's much more of a mental thing than a physical thing, landing on it and such. I'm just excited to be going 100 percent again.