Blazers Training Camp Report, Day 1: 'A Little Sloppy'
The Trail Blazers kicked off training camp Tuesday in Santa Barbara.
SANTA BARBARA, Calif. — The Trail Blazers' choice of UC Santa Barbara for their first "getaway" training camp came down to logistics and the availability of the gym, but the city holds meaning for both Damian Lillard and Chauncey Billups.
Billups played his first-ever college game here as a freshman at University of Colorado in 1995; his Buffaloes were blown out 71-47 by the UCSB Gauchos.
"That was a terrible game," Billups joked after the Blazers' first practice on Tuesday. "We lost and I played terrible."
Over a decade later, UCSB was one of the schools that recruited Lillard before he committed to Weber State.
"Knowing what I know now, they might have a better shot," he said.
He may have been referring to the weather, which this week has been in the 80s with clear skies. Or he could have been talking about Santa Barbara being where he married his longtime girlfriend, Kay'La, just over a year ago. Either way, the decision to go out of town for camp has been a hit.
"I think it's going really good so far," Billups said. "We had a really good team dinner last night. We'll meet again tonight. Everybody's happy to be by the water every day. The mood is good. It's going good so far."
As for the actual basketball, they're still getting the kinks ironed out. Lillard gave their first day of practice a grade of "B+," and both he and Billups called it "a little sloppy."