It isn’t easy changing teams at the NBA trade deadline, so the Toronto Raptors looked after their newest addition Nando De Colo and his girlfriend on their arrival in Toronto. The kid glove treatment doesn’t last forever, but the help is important when a player arrives in a new city to play for a new team and has a lot of things on his plate.
“(I am) trying to work on everything to be better for me and my girlfriend because for the moment everything being taking care of by the club, but (soon) I must do it for myself,” De Colo said. “I have for 1.5 months a place (provided by) the club and after (that) I will do it by myself.”
De Colo was playing in the Spanish ACB league before joining the Spurs last season, so it shouldn’t come as a surprise that his girlfriend is Spanish. She followed De Colo to San Antonio when he came to the NBA and she is here with him in Toronto on his next adventure.
“She is Spanish,” De Colo said. “It’s okay, she was with me in San Antonio, so after a year and a half, she knows this kind of life. Now to come to Toronto, it is just a new life and new city and everything is different, but it’s a new experience, so it’s exciting.”
Getting dropped off in a new Country might be overwhelming to a young player who is less well travelled, but De Colo has been around. He’s played professional basketball in France, Spain, for his National team and this is his second stop in the NBA. A move to a new city doesn’t faze this trekker.
“I left my home when I was 15, so finding everything when I left one city for another, it’s almost the same,” De Colo said. “There might be some changes, but if you ask, everyone will tell you what you need to know. When you move during the season to another (team), everyone is there to help you, so if you need anything, you can ask and they are going to find what you need.”
Besides, there’s always the internet when you need to find out about the city you just moved to.
“Now we live in 2014 and you got everything if you have the internet,” De Colo said. “You can find everything you want.”
Teams want to help out their incoming players during the season because they have a lot of ground to make up and not a lot of time to do it. De Colo has been busy with basketball as he gets acclimatized to his new surroundings, but he seems very comfortable with the process.
“I am not far from the gym, so the way to come to the gym is pretty easy,” De Colo said. “I come to the gym every day and try to work and learn more about the team, the plays, the systems.
“When you play basketball every day, you just try to take care and focus on what the team does and if you need more help, you just ask the coaches and players because they know the plays better than (I do). When you need something or don’t understand something, you just need to ask.”
De Colo is looking forward to his stay in Toronto beyond the basketball court as well. Apparently, the young man is a big sports fan and already has his sights set on taking in some games from the city’s other professional teams. De Colo is going to fit into the Toronto lifestyle pretty quickly – once he gets the basketball side of things under control.
“(I am) just (getting to) know about Toronto a little bit better, about the city and the team,” De Colo said. “When I come home, I just chill a little bit, see a little bit of the city and nothing more.
“When you get time, you go outside and you learn a little bit about the city. I like to do everything. I know here, they have a soccer team and I love soccer, so when the season starts, I will watch some games, but I love sports in general, so if I can see a lot of sports here like hockey, that would be great. It’s just time. You try to do everything that a new city can offer you.”
It appears De Colo and his girlfriend will fit into the Toronto lifestyle just fine.
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“My job is to defend,” Hayes said. “If they have a low post player that is getting a lot of easy buckets and getting our guys in foul trouble, my job is to come in there and kind of slow him down and give him a different look.”