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Rich Cho On Trail Blazers Courtside

  1. Written by: caseyholdahl

    The following is a transcription of an interview with Rich Cho from the September 13th edition of Trail Blazers Courtside with Mike Barrett, Mike Rice and Brian Wheeler. You can listen to the entire interview by clicking here.

    I know from the time you were hired up until now it's been kind of out at the practice facility by yourself, a few other people around. I suppose it feels more like an NBA team now with your actual players around. So have you made the introductions and are you feeling very comfortable as the season approaches rapidly?

    Yeah, it's definitely great to have the guys back. We've got quite a few guys in. B-Roy is in and LaMarcus, Wesley Matthews is in, Bayless is in, Dante Cunningham, Pendergraph, Armon Johnson, Elliot Williams is in and Luke Babbitt is in also.

    I know we saw Joel Przybilla arrive today and he's doing some workouts. Let's get it out of the way. We've heard so much talk about Greg Oden and Kerry Eggers wrote something today about Greg's getting kind of a check over in Vancouver BC. Can you give us a status update there?

    Yeah, Joel has been working hard (Ed. note: I think Cho meant to say Greg instead of Joel). He went up to Vancouver to see a core specialist. There's a specialist up there that does some core training who his agent has worked with quite a bit. We just went up there to see what that was like.

    Greg has been working hard. He's going to be here this Thursday. He's going to be, hopefully, cleared to do two-on-two and three-on-three here in the next couple of weeks.

    So the specialist in Vancouver B.C. that we've heard about, that's really more of a core. That's not really a knee specialist, it's nothing about signing off on his knee, this is more like a physical therapy thing for the rest of the body?

    Right, for the core, the area from the shoulder to the thigh using this special type of training called Thera-Band. it's just something that we wanted to check out. Bobby Medina, our strength coach, went up there with him just to see what the process is like.

    Was he cleared? I know he hasn't done any two-on-two, three-on-three, but is he doing any individual moves? Anything like that? How much running is he doing to prepare himself for the season, Greg Oden?

    He's doing some running on court. Right now the training he has been doing with Buck Williams is just by himself and Buck. Running, defensive slides, some shooting, one-on-zero type stuff basically but hopefully in the next couple weeks he'll be cleared for two-on-two, three-on-three.

    When would be a good time, do you feel, he might be doing five-on-five? Do you have any kind of timeline at all or are you backing away from anything like that?

    No, I want to see how well the two-on-two and three-on-three goes. I'm going to get the input from the docs as well as Jay Jensen, our trainer, then go from there.

    But we can safely say Rich that everything he is doing to this point in time, everything is pain-free?

    Yes. Right now he's on schedule and he's progressing well.

    We heard -- and these guys got a chance to see him today -- LaMarcus Aldridge has put on some weight, going from 240 to 260 roughly as Bill Bayno has talked about in some of his workouts. We sit and talk about Greg and obviously that's where the fans want to talk early on too, but Mike Rice made the comment in the last segment that two guys that may be in the best shape of anybody right now are Brandon and LaMarcus, arguably. So that's nice to hear and for you, I know, that's nice to see.

    Yeah. Brandon looks great and so does LaMarcus. Both look like they're in great shape. As you said, LaMarcus added about 20 pounds and he still looks quick and explosive. Brandon also looks great.

    There's been a lot of talk Rich about this time of year with regard to how things are for a general manager. You're obviously easing into the position. How would you characterize this time of year in terms of your discussions with other teams about potential deals? We know periods like right before the trade deadline, the draft, those are heavy times where a lot of talks go on and a lot of deals are made. How would you characterize this time of year when we're a couple of weeks away from training camp in terms of discussions with other teams about potential deals?

    I would say it's fairly active, but not nearly as active as the trade deadline or the draft. Those are really the two more active periods. I would say it's fairly active but not nearly as active as those two times.

    I noticed Elliot Williams was given clearance. How did he look to you today?

    Elliot went and got cleared today and he played this morning. He looked good out there. He's got a little bit of rust but you can tell he's got a ton of talent. He's a guy that is very explosive. His shot is coming along and I think he'll be a nice addition to the team.

    We mentioned that he got cleared, we talk about Greg and Rich we know you're an analytical guy and you'll need no stone unturned when it comes to seeing these guys get the, not only the proper preparation, but rehab and treatment. Have you spent a lot of time doing that kind of thing since you've been the GM? Obviously with Greg's situation it kind of dominates, but what are you doing differently maybe or what have you started doing that maybe has opened your eyes to this stuff? Anything new, anything different along those lines?

    Well I think that's one reason we went up to Vancouver to kind of see what was going on up there as far as training. I'm going to be looking at some preventative medicine also this year. That's one thing I'm going to look at as the season progresses.

    You had to be proud of what Team USA did against Turkey yesterday, watching a player you used to work with, of course, Kevin Durant. And of course seeing Nate McMillan out on the floor. Pretty amazing that team steamrolled it's way through a tournament that the US team had not had a lot of success in in recent years. Coach K did something right and that USA team, which a lot of people were calling a "B" team or JV team for the US, went over there and dominated in the championship game like they did. That was pretty amazing.

    Yeah it was good to see. They hadn't won the gold in quite some time. I talked to Nate last night before he got on the plane and he was really excited. Like you say, Kevin lead the team and they have a lot of great young players on that team.

    Your roster, looking at it, do you feel that's the roster that we will go into the season with or do you foresee you may have some changes in this roster talking with Nate and yourself?

    Hard to say. Trades can pop up at any time. I've got a few things I'm looking at that will improve the team but that's a hard question to answer. It's hard to say.

    Rich, on a personal level, having gone to dinner with you recently, I know you're making your way through a lot of the great restaurants in the Portland-area. You have some time. You're kind of becoming a social butterfly. I know you don't have your family here, which is disappointing because I know you're very close to them. You've got some birthday's coming up with some of your daughters, you've got an anniversary coming up with your wife. How difficult has it been from a personal standpoint to be in a new city? Obviously you've immersed yourself into this new job but to not have those that you're closest to not have them yet here with you.

    That part has been difficult. My oldest daughter, Miranda, turns five in two days on the 15th. My youngest daughter, Annika, turns three on the 21st and we have our 10-year anniversary on the 23rd. So I'm going to miss Miranda's birthday in two days but hoping to get back for all three of those events for two days next week at the start of the week. But it's been hard. My oldest daughter asked my wife the other day if I'm going to forget about them, so that was kind of tough. But to be honest, I work a lot of hours so maybe it's better that they're not here because I've been working a lot. But I definitely do miss them. Hopefully we can sell the house in Oklahoma soon and they can come out there for good.


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