MINNEAPOLIS - Reggie Theus was sitting courtside at the Target Center after Wednesday's shootaround, looking cool and collected in a black sweatsuit.
At least until he spoke.
The Kings coach couldn't contain his excitement about tonight's game against the T-wolves, not because it marks the official beginning of the regular season but because of what it could mean to a number of the team's players. From youngsters like Spencer Hawes, Jason Thompson, Bobby Brown, Quincy Douby and Shelden Williams who could have a chance to shine at the outset to veterans like Kenny Thomas who may see more minutes based on circumstance, he simply hopes they share his excitement.
"I don't have the words to express how I would feel if I was a player right now with that opportunity in front of me," said Theus, who will look for players to help with the absences of Brad Miller (suspension) and Francisco Garcia (strained right calf). "It's something you don't know if those guys really understand. I know how I would be as a player.
"I just know how competitive-natured players are, but the only thing you don't know from where I'm sitting is, 'Do they really get it? What do they feel inside?'"
Specifically, Theus said the day made him nostalgic for the rookie experience. Thirty years after he began his playing career with the Chicago Bulls, the day is here for Thompson, Greene and Brown.
"I know how I felt about (his first game)," Theus said. "I was just on fire inside of my body. I remember my first shootaround I was in a full-blown sweat I was that excited."
Thompson, who kept shooting from the perimeter after shootaround had ended, said he's ready to get started.
"I feel good," said the forward who was picked No. 12 out of Rider University. "I'm anxious. A lot of people say it doesn't look like I'm nervous, but I have my own type of nervousness. I'm always a guy where you have to get your feet wet and see where it goes from there. This is a new chapter in my NBA life." - Sam Amick