Los Angeles Lakers forward Julius Randle joined D’Angelo Russell and Brandon Ingram in Las Vegas on Monday as members of the USA Select Team for day one of training camp for USA Basketball. Randle sat down with LakersNation.com to chat about a variety of topics ranging from his summer workout regimen to his excitement about new head coach Luke Walton and his coaching style. Plus, Randle gives his first impressions of Coach Popovich (head coach of the USA Select Team), training with Brandon Ingram and the added chemistry he’s been able to build with Russell. Watch it in our video above or check out our transcription below.
Serena Winters: What has this experience of being on the USA Select Team and training with USA Basketball been like for you here on Day 1?
Julius Randle: It’s been great. You know we’re learning a lot of different things, learning like how the other teams play and scrimmaging against obviously our team, so its been a great experience so far.
Q: Coach Popovich has been the coach out here for the USA Select Team, what has it been like learning from him even though its been one day?
Randle: Yeah, its been great. He has a great demeanor about him. A style of play, how he wants guys to play and how he expects guys to play and you know we’re all just trying to do the right thing, play the right way and just get better.
Q: You’ve mentioned he’s got a certain demeanor about him, if you were to describe him, how would you describe him?
Randle: Just a no-nonsense kind of guy. He’s not like a drill sergeant or anything like that you know. A great guy, very approachable, but we’re gonna do things the right way, play the right way and you know guys are getting better from it.
Q: You gained muscle and look a lot leaner, tell me a little about what you’ve been up to this summer and where your body is at right now?
Randle: My body feels great. This summer I’ve just been [doing the] same things. Working out hard every day, two or three times a day and just trying to get better, trying to learn about my game, get better, and obviously with the on-the-court stuff, just watching film of how I can get better as well. So we’ll see.
Q: I know that during the season, we talked a little about Draymond Green, learning from him. Being out there with him (he’s on Team USA), have you been able to practice with him?
Randle: Yeah we practiced for the first day. We got to practice against them, and my team was actually matched up with his team, so its like anything goes. Competitive, fun and guys getting after it. It was good.
Q: From what I watched with the scrimmages, you, D’Angelo Russell and Brandon Ingram were all on the same scrimmage team. Did you know that going in, that you would be getting that type of time with these guys?
Randle: No I didn’t, I didn’t but its obviously good. Its valuable. Me and D-Lo (Russell) are obviously building on the chemistry we had last year, trying to get better from that and adding Brandon in, trying to learn how he plays and how he fits in and everything. It’s going to be valuable for us heading into training camp for sure.
Q: You got to scrimmage with Ingram today, what are your impressions of him?
Randle: He’s just very poised, calm, knows how to play the game, doesn’t get rattled and obviously very skilled player.
Q: We talked to D’Angelo Russell and Jordan Clarkson about the excitement for this next season, and they seem very excited especially to have Luke Walton. What are your thoughts on having Luke Walton here?
Randle: We’re excited to have Luke here. Obviously, its kind of like a breath of fresh air. Everybody is learning, having fun and learning the game and we’re getting better together, and that’s what it’s all about. Everybody is really excited heading into the season. Talked to the guys who played on the summer league team who will be here with us and they all just raved about how much fun it was, so I’m excited for it.
Q: You haven’t had too much time with him yet but when you think about his coaching style, how do you describe it?
Randle: I don’t know, that’s a good question. Laid back, very laid back but very affirmative of what he wants done, what he wants us to do, and how he wants us to play, but a lot of freedom, but freedom in the right way, guys playing it the right way.