WALTHAM — Marcus Smart and James Young, the two newest members of the Boston Celtics, faced the Boston media for the first time Monday afternoon at the team’s practice facility in Waltham.
Both players shined on the court while performing at the college level, with Smart at Oklahoma State and Young at Kentucky last season.. On Monday afternoon the duo shined in their off-court performances as well, as Smart and Young both gave thoughtful and composed responses during their introductory press conference.
The two rookies also showed off their new uniforms in front of the cameras alongside head coach Brad Stevens, Celtics’ president of basketball operations Danny Ainge and Celtics co-owner Steve Pagliuca. Smart will wear no. 36 for Boston while Young will wear no. 13.
Ainge raved about the skills of both players and was enthused about their fit within the team’s young roster.
“If you’re going to be a good team,” Ainge continued, “You got to have guys that have the passion and the fire and the guys that have the skills. And I think that both of our new young kids have both. I think they have a passion about the game and I think they have some skill that they can develop and get even better.”
Smart also earned points immediately by showing an appreciation for the franchise and the fan base when he was asked about what excites him about playing in Boston.
“Just the tradition,” Smart declared. “You can tell that the fans really embrace the sports and their athletes and the athletes return the favor. I’m just looking forward to come in, compete, and do anything I can to help this team win.”
With the scoreboards around the Celtics’ practice facility set to the number 18, Young shared his desire to help Boston add an 18th championship to the team’s storied history as well.
“I want to come out here and put a banner up there, that’s my motivation. When I come in here and I look at that banner up there, it’s something for me to want to put history up there,” Young said as he pointed to the championship banners hanging around the practice court.
Both players will start that journey after signing their new contracts with the team tomorrow. From there, they will spend the next three days practicing with Boston’s summer league team in Waltham before heading to Orlando on July 4th for a week of summer league action. It will be a quick turnaround for the duo, but Smart believes that they’re ready.
“We’re coming in, we’re two new guys to a new system that we’re not used to playing,” said Smart. “I just want to go in and me and [James] can gel with our teammates and keep improving as individuals.”
The gelling begins Tuesday morning.