For international players finally finding themselves in NBA training camps, which started last week, it signals one of the finals steps in the journey from making it from international prospect to NBA-caliber player.
For Nando De Colo, he knows he's here now in San Antonio after being drafted in 2009, but nothing is taken for granted.
The Spurs have a stockpile of guards on the roster and the 18-man training camp roster must be chiseled down to a max of 15 players before the regular season begins.
De Colo seems to be well aware of this from an interview he recently had with French website La Voix du Nord (via translation).
Being in the NBA is not an outcome. There are still many things to do to have a place and an important place in the team. Until now, the coach (Gregg Popovich) I was mainly asked if everything was going well. I have no idea of the role that I could hold it so effective is a large, homogeneous with players very versatile…With the first meeting, you realize that things are getting serious. When the coach says "there is the same number as last year plus a player here," the new is you … You come and you have to prove it.
Aside from transitioning to playing in the NBA and into a new role, according to the interview, De Colo is still getting his bearings and adjusting to living in San Antonio and being a part of a NBA club, something his French teammates have helped him with along the way.
Life is pretty cool. San Antonio is really great, a city spread over the length. The roads are great, the cars are giant. You have three, four, five lanes in the middle of the city. The people are friendly, they are very interested to Spurs, they know me a little….We also had the media day in the gym. I started interviews in French, with the corresponding Team and two or three in Spanish and two in English three. We took shots, is staged for the giant screens. It's professional, it's really something else.
In his first game with the Spurs, De Colo played 15 minutes and finished with two points, three assists and three steals. While he hardly made waves, he did show that he can make an impact on both sides of the floor and showed off his passing touch.
De Colo will have a chance to drive through San Antonio's "great roads" to the AT&T Center for his second game on Wednesday night against the Atlanta Hawks. While De Colo won't have three to five lanes through the Hawks defense like he does through San Antonio, I'm sure he'll find his way through just fine.