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  1. #1
    Hustling on the inside wuck's Avatar
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    Default Z Tutors Thompson and Zeller

    Former Cleveland Cavalier Zydrunas Ilgauskas tutors big men Tristan Thompson and Tyler Zeller
    Jodie Valade, The Plain Dealer By Jodie Valade, The Plain Dealer
    on January 10, 2013 at 9:06 PM,

    CLEVELAND, Ohio -- Anyone associated with the Cavaliers will tell you that Zydrunas Ilgauskas, beloved alum and fan favorite, is more than just a guy who works with the current big men on occasion.

    Ilgauskas' official title with the Cavaliers is special assistant to general manager. He travels to scout college players. He evaluates talent in the league. He helps General Manager Chris Grant plot and plan and construct the roster.

    But he's also 7-3, has two All-Star appearances and 13 seasons of experience on his resume.

    When Ilgauskas gives Tristan Thompson and Tyler Zeller, the Cavaliers' two young big men, advice on how to execute and finish, you had better believe they listen.

    So while Thompson and Zeller have credited both Ilgauskas and assistant coach Jamahl Mosley -- who has worked, at length, with Thompson in particular -- with improvements in recent weeks, ears perk up at the mention of Ilgauskas.

    "You can't teach 7-3," Zeller said. "He's still got quick hands. And he's just got the height. He jumps about this high [fingers held 1 inch apart], but somehow, he still blocks shots."

    In recent weeks, Thompson and Zeller have learned from Ilgauskas some valuable tips on how to finish around the basket. But even more beneficial might be that both young, big men have had the opportunity to try to score on Ilgauskas as they learn.

    "It's a little different when you've got somebody 7-3, with his wingspan, guarding you," said Cavaliers coach Byron Scott. "You have to learn how to get it [the shot] up quicker. You have to learn how to be able to maneuver around a guy like that."

    The bulk of the day-to-day drills still comes from Mosley, who coaches the big men and has worked closely with Thompson during his two seasons in the NBA. In 11 games since Anderson Varejao suffered his quadriceps injury, Thompson has blossomed in his more featured role, averaging 13.1 points and 12.5 rebounds. Even his free-throw shooting -- typically his Achilles' heel -- has been solid in that span, 70.8 percent.

    "We knew that if we continued to work with his offensive game and if he continued to put the work in that, he would continue to get better," Scott said. "Right now, I think he has a comfort level down there and he's having success, so right now, he's just playing at a very high level. It's affected his whole game."

    Zeller has been solid in starting 11 games in place of Varejao, averaging 10.8 points, 7.0 rebounds and 1.2 blocks in 34.5 minutes. In recent weeks, he has learned a lot from Ilgauskas -- a player he aspires to emulate.

    Ilgauskas wasn't available to speak to the media Thursday.

    "Obviously, he's done it and he's been very good at it," Zeller said. "He's definitely a great asset for us, and we enjoy working with him."

    Not only learning from Ilgauskas, but learning against him has also been valuable, Thompson said.

    "You don't get that luxury very often in the NBA. There aren't a lot of coaches who are 7-3," Thompson said. "And if they are, they're probably retired or playing golf somewhere.

    "He can still play, if he wanted to."

    The Cavaliers have an open roster spot, in case anyone is wondering.


    http://www.cleveland.com/cavs/index....lier_zydr.html


  2. #2
    Rookie RealKingsFan's Avatar
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    Default Re: Z Tutors Thompson and Zeller

    I don't think any other team has the benefit that these two young bigs have in Big Z, they have a veteran of the game teaching them and a great human being to learn from as well. Kudos to Big Z taking time to iron out the kinks in the young big men.

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  4. #3
    Rising Star ice cream man's Avatar
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    Default Re: Z Tutors Thompson and Zeller

    Z could probably come out of retirement if he wanted to. Not that he'd be in basketball shape right this second. I'm sure there a few teams that would offer him a contract (BOS, GS, MIA, LA....)

    EDIT: Just saw the last couple lines of the article. He'd probably still be the 2nd best big on our team.

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  6. #4
    Team Player Len's Avatar
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    Default Re: Z Tutors Thompson and Zeller

    All part of that master plan. 2014 he will be ready to rejoin Lebron.


    Seriously though: I think big Z is helping more than Coach Mo. Loving the impact of Big Z, and can't wait for his number to be retired.

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  8. #5
    IT'S TRIBE TIME NOW!!! Pyro's Avatar
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    Default Re: Z Tutors Thompson and Zeller

    So about that jersey retirement... we gonna get to that anytime soon?
    -Corey
    LET'S GO TRIBE!!!

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  10. #6
    All Star Giambiwannabe7's Avatar
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    Default Re: Z Tutors Thompson and Zeller

    Does Big Z have the plaque for Employee of the Month on permanent lockdown or what? Holy shit does this guy do work. I mean, I guess I knew all the hats he's wearing, but to see it all on paper kind of gives some perspective to how invaluable he is making himself in the organization.

    It's a little more than a coincidence what we're seeing out of TT lately. Yes, Andy going down may give him a couple extra boards a night, but it sure as hell doesn't explain the newfound confidence and swag he's been struttin around with. It doesn't justify how much better his post game looks, either.

    It's honestly why I have very little concern with little Z right now. As long as big Z is around to help the rook out, I really have little doubt he becomes a very viable rotational big.

    Now, can we get Ron Harper in here for Dion or what??

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  12. #7
    Situational Stopper apolo29's Avatar
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    Default Re: Z Tutors Thompson and Zeller

    I love how you average close to a double double in your second year and you're still projected as a rotational big..

  13. #8
    you wot m8? PosterTime's Avatar
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    Default Re: Z Tutors Thompson and Zeller

    Quote Originally Posted by apolo29 View Post
    I love how you average close to a double double in your second year and you're still projected as a rotational big..
    The SmknJoe was referring to Zeller.

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  15. #9
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    Default Re: Z Tutors Thompson and Zeller

    I like Z as much as the next Cleveland fan, but is the production we are seeing out of Thompson more a result of the teachers ability to teach, or the students ability to learn and work hard?

  16. #10
    Snitches get stitches Hydroponic3385's Avatar
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    Default Re: Z Tutors Thompson and Zeller

    Quote Originally Posted by mcfly View Post
    I like Z as much as the next Cleveland fan, but is the production we are seeing out of Thompson more a result of the teachers ability to teach, or the students ability to learn and work hard?
    It's not either/or, it's both/and.

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  18. #11
    Heretic Sumac13's Avatar
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    Default Re: Z Tutors Thompson and Zeller

    Quote Originally Posted by RealKingsFan View Post
    I don't think any other team has the benefit that these two young bigs have in Big Z, they have a veteran of the game teaching them and a great human being to learn from as well. Kudos to Big Z taking time to iron out the kinks in the young big men.
    I would add Clifford Ray of your Sac Kings, too. Glad to see Z still an integral part of the Cavaliers. Seems a bit strange not to have any (am I missing someone) former Cavaliers from the late 80's/early 90s not involved more with the team in some respect.

  19. #12
    Guardian of the Cavaliers Green Lantern's Avatar
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    Default Re: Z Tutors Thompson and Zeller

    I like it..They had to use Z to mentor these young guys..before he got hurt he had some above average foot skills.

  20. #13
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    Default Re: Z Tutors Thompson and Zeller

    Are the Cavs really that fast on damage control that they got Valade to mention Mosely twice in the article?

  21. #14
    Stycool stycool24's Avatar
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    Default Re: Z Tutors Thompson and Zeller

    Quote Originally Posted by Jon View Post
    Are the Cavs really that fast on damage control that they got Valade to mention Mosely twice in the article?
    Really Jon? Can we just keep this dicussion in the other thread?

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  23. #15
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    Default Re: Z Tutors Thompson and Zeller

    Quote Originally Posted by stycool24 View Post
    Really Jon? Can we just keep this dicussion in the other thread?
    Feel free?

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