INDEPENDENCE, Ohio — The running part of the running practice ended with, well, you guessed it.
Running. And a smiling head coach.
“My feet are on fire,” Jawad Williams said afterward.
Byron Scott wants his Cavaliers team to run like crazy this season, so it’s fitting that he had them running all over the place in the team’s first official training camp practice Tuesday. He said his players looked to be in excellent shape, so much so that he canceled another running drill at the end of practice.
“I thought guys handled it well,” Scott said. “They were ready.”
Scott said he was so excited to get started that he was up at 4 a.m. and in the Cleveland Clinic Courts building by 8, more than three hours before practice began. He had the whistle ready when practice — and the sprints — began. Williams said a couple of his teammates needed a moment to discard their breakfast, but he wouldn’t name names.
“It was tough, but I know that’s going to bring us closer together,” Daniel Gibson said. “It’s got to. We put in a lot of work today. I think the guys are going to start to love (Scott) for it, but right now it’s tough on us.
“We started out running, and we ended up running.”
FINDING FIVE: Scott said Monday that starting positions were up for grabs, and he said he divided his players into different groups for live action Tuesday “to get a look at how different guys meshed.”
Even if he is drawing early conclusions, it’s too early to tell. Live portions of practice were closed to the media, and the Cavaliers were working without returning starters Anderson Varejao and Mo Williams. Varejao was excused and returned to Brazil following death of his grandfather, while Williams has a groin injury that should keep him out the next couple weeks. Scott said an MRI on the ankle Varejao injured while prepping for the World Championships came back clean; Varejao had said during media day that he planned to practice.
The fight for the starting at small forward figures to include Jawad Williams, Jamario Moon, Stephen Graham and, possibly, Antawn Jamison. Scott said he’ll use some time in the preseason to evaluate a lineup that includes Jamison at small forward and J.J. Hickson at power forward.
QUICK HITS: Scott said undrafted rookie forward Samardo Samuels sat out a portion of practice due to cramping. Scott praised Samuels on Monday, saying the Louisville product “could be one of the surprises in the league this year”…Scott said he’s electing to go with one just practice per day during training camp instead of two-a-day sessions to ensure the players get as much time to recuperate as possible between practices…The public’s first chance to see the Cavaliers comes Friday night during the annual Wine and Gold scrimmage at the University of Akron’s JAR Arena. The preseason opener is Oct. 5 at home vs. Charlotte.