CSR talks with Craig Brackins

It's been a very eventful few weeks for former Cyclone star and new New Orleans Hornet forward Craig Brackins. CSR caught up with him to see how he is adjusting to his new life in the NBA.

Cyclone Sports Report: Some scouts moved you down into the second round in mock drafts during the season and said you made the wrong decision in returning to Iowa State. How satisfying was it to go out and have great workouts and then get selected as the 20th pick in the first round?

Craig Brackins: I really didn't think about it too much because I knew ultimately that my workouts would determine when I go and I was pretty confident going into them. Most of the workouts were about shooting, skill set, and one-on-one drills which I'm pretty good at so I was real comfortable. All that stuff in the media can have an effect on you if you read too much into it but you just can't let that determine where you are going to go. I just played as hard as I could and it paid off.

Cyclone Sports Report: What are your early thoughts on playing New Orleans?

Craig Brackins: It's a great opportunity and I have been told that they have wonderful fan support. I really look forward to getting involved with as much community service as possible. I know as an outsider that Katrina still is having a bad impact on the area and so I just want to help as much as possible. I think it will also be a great way of getting to know the community a lot better.

Cyclone Sports Report: It would seem your game is a perfect fit to run screen and roll with either Chris Paul or Darren Collison. How excited are you that those two are your point guards?

Craig Brackins: I'm very excited because Chris Paul is one of my favorite players and a guy who I think is the best point guard in the NBA. He just makes everyone better so it should be a lot of fun getting to play with him. Darren was just a rookie last year and really had a lot of great games. I just played one game with him in the summer league and it was real easy adjusting to playing with him because he also is a guy who helps his teammates play better.

Cyclone Sports Report: What is your first impression of your new head coach Monty Williams?

Craig Brackins: It's good and we've been able to have a few talks so far and the big thing that he has told me is too loosen up and to just relax and play my game. He doesn't want us to be robots out there and he knows how hard of a transition it is from college because he also played in the league. He's definitely helping me and I think doing a great job so far.

Cyclone Sports Report: Your team has played three games so far in the Las Vegas Summer League. How do you feel you are doing?

Craig Brackins: I'm just trying to get a feel and a full understanding of my role. It was difficult at first because Quincy and I weren't allowed to practice before we played any games because we had been traded. Now that we have been able to play with the guys I'm learning to slow down and take my time. I'm learning that it's more of a thought process at times in regards to learning the right spots to be at and to make sure to take the correct angles. In our third game, I started off by scoring our first nine points but then I rolled my ankle and so I'm resting it today and likely will just sit out one game.

Cyclone Sports Report: Is it nice to have another first round rookie in Quincy Pondexter to go through the rookie process with down in New Orleans?

Craig Brackins: It's been good and a real learning process for both of us. It's great that it's Quincy because we have known each other for a long time. We played against each other in high school and then we were teammates last summer on the USA team I played for so we already had a vibe and solid connection. It's also nice not to be by myself with how they sometimes mess with rookies in the NBA. I'll only have to do half of all the different chores that they have rookies perform.

Cyclone Sports Report: You are only a few months removed from leaving Iowa State. What will you miss most about being a Cyclone?

Craig Brackins: Really just everything because I really loved my time at Iowa State. I won't forget all the great people I met and I'll definitely miss my teammates and coaches because I was very close with them. I also will definitely miss Hilton Coliseum a lot. I know the fans in New Orleans will be great but I'm not sure if they create situation like Hilton Magic.


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