Interview with Kris Lang

Kris Lang

Kris Lang is in Boston, Mass. this week at the Shaw's NBA Summer League. <i>IC</i>'s Thad Williamson chatted with the Carolina grad on Monday night as he attempts to begin a pro career with the Wizards.

BOSTON -- Kris Lang opened his account as a professional basketball player Monday by scoring four points (2-2 FG) in limited playing time during the Washington Wizards' summer league loss to George Karl's Milwaukee Bucks. Sporting familiar light blue sneakers, Lang converted a nice left-handed layup on a fastbreak followed by a two-handed jam to get on the scoring sheet.

Lang also showed he hasn't forgotten all his old habits, by standing to applaud on the bench when Wizard teammate Brendan Haywood was substituted out in the first quarter. (Lang was the only Wizards summer player to make that gesture.)

The Gastonia rookie was in good spirits in the locker room after the game.

Thad Williamson: How was the first day of your pro basketball career - how does it suit you?

Kris Lang: It was fun, it was fun. I really enjoyed it - it's a great opportunity for me and I'll try to capitalize on it.

TW: Did they make you any promises about playing time?

Lang: No, they just said they're going to play you when they can, and you know, whenever you're in there, you've got to produce. It doesn't matter the minutes you play, it's what you do when you're in there.

TW: You got a couple of key baskets there in the fourth quarter when it was a close game …

Lang: Hey, I'm just trying to do whatever I can to help the team win, especially in crunch time.

TW: Did you think of bringing anything other than your Carolina blue Air Jordans to make your NBA debut?

Lang: (chuckles) No... I'm just playing ball, that's all...

TW: Did you get any time off after graduation?

Lang: No, I've been working out, I've been traveling, you know how you go work out for different teams - it's been like that the whole time.

TW: Have you had a chance to really process and absorb and accept everything that happened last season?

Lang: I mean, I'm not in denial of what happened, unfortunately it happened in my senior season. But I mean, things like that happen, and it's an obstacle that you have to overcome. It builds character, it builds patience, it truly sees who you really are. It helped me out a lot as a person, and in getting ready for this.

TW: Are there any particularly good memories even from that last season, things you can still point to?

Lang: I have good memories of all [the seasons]. The friendships there - that team was the closest team I've ever had. No one argued or hated each other. There were always arguments on the teams of the past but this year's team was very close. You can't judge a team's friendship by the wins and losses.

TW: Were you surprised when Adam Boone transferred and some people came out and said there were some issues...

Lang: Was I surprised? (pauses) ...I was surprised, I would say, because I figured he still had the advantage, he knew the offense and had been there for a couple of years. But it's a decision he wanted to make, for what reasons, maybe you'd have to talk to him about that. But I respect him either way, and I'm going to stay in touch with him regardless.

TW: Are you planning to stay in touch with the whole team next year?

Lang: Yeah, oh yeah, of course!

TW: Have you talked to Matt Doherty before this?

Lang: No, I haven't talked to him, but he's been traveling I guess and it's the July period when they do all their recruiting stuff...

TW: How would you rate your Carolina experience overall?

Lang: It's the best part of my life so far. From 1-10, I'd give it a 20, I wouldn't turn it in for the world. It had ups and downs and ups and downs, but that builds character and builds your personality - that's what it did for me.

TW: If you had a little brother would you recommend him to go play for Doherty?

Lang: Very much so, very much so. Without a doubt.

TW: Are you willing to go anywhere to play?

Lang: Yes, but I really like it here.

With that, Lang's summer teammate, Brendan Haywood, who had listened with interest to much of the interview, prodded Lang to come catch the team bus.

Haywood started to leave when Lang reminded the seven-footer he had left a pair of sneakers behind. A couple of minutes later, as the former Tar Heel frontcourt chatted and walked to the Wizards bus, Haywood returned the favor by making a point to stop and grab two Gatorades from the press dining area.

You can't fake basketball ability at the NBA level (summer league included), but you also can't fake the very real camaraderie exhibited by Lang and Haywood Monday afternoon in Boston.


Thad Williamson's book More than a Game: Why North Carolina Basketball Means So Much To So Many" is available at www.dollarsandsense.org/carolinabook.html and amazon.com.

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