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Giddens eager to prove himself 07.06.09 at 8:36 am ET
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J.R. Giddens wants to show the Celtics just how important he can be. As the team rebuilds its bench this summer, he is eager to capitalize on this opportunity.

This week he will make his case when the Celtics participate in the Orlando Summer League.

“I just want to go out to Summer League and show the Celtics that I have an all-around approach to the game,” Giddens said in a telephone interview. “I can defend and rebound and I can score. I can bring a lot of different things to the table, and I feel like it’d be beneficial for them if I can show them I can help them win ball games.”

Giddens, 24, understands the importance of a strong performance in Orlando as he looks ahead to his second season.

The 6-5 guard from New Mexico was drafted by the Celtics with the final pick in the first round of the 2008 NBA Draft. He experienced life as a rookie on a championship team, which meant stints in the D-League and more watching than playing. He recorded just eight minutes for the Cs.

Giddens has dedicated this summer to improving his game and continuing to adapt to the NBA. He has hit the gym every day for lifting and conditioning. The coaching staff, he says, has been pleased with this work ethic.

“[I've been] working on my ball handling and my free throw shooting and just trying to extend my range and get used to that three-point line because it’s a lot deeper in the NBA than it is in college,” Giddens said. “So just doing the little things that I need to tighten up on my game.”

Playing time is up for grabs next season and it’s not just reserved for free agent signings. There is basically one spot to fight for between Giddens and fellow sophomore Bill Walker. Giddens wants to be prepared if he gets the nod.

“There’s a lot of opportunities and you have to realize basketball is a business,” he said. “ A lot of changes are going to be made and you just have to be ready when your name’s called in any situation.”

The Celtics will kick off Summer League action on Monday against the Utah Jazz. Click here for a complete schedule and roster.

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Celtics Announce Summer League Roster 07.02.09 at 12:43 am ET
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The Boston Celtics announced the roster for the 2009 Orlando Summer League, which runs July 6-10 at the RDV SportsPlex. Current Celtics Gabe Pruitt, J.R. Giddens, and Bill Walker along with this year’s 58th pick, Lester Hudson, will participate. In addition, invitees include:

(F) Nick Fazekas, Nevada
(G) Coby Karl, Boise State
(G) Chris Lofton, Tennessee
(G) Bryan Mullins, Southern Illinois
(F) Kevin Rogers, Baylor
(G) Bryce Taylor, Oregon
(F) Mike Sweetney, Georgetown
(C) Robert Swift, Bakersfield HS (CA)
(G) Darius Washington, Memphis

The Celtics will compete against the Indiana Pacers, Oklahoma City Thunder, Orlando Magic, Utah Jazz, and a combined squad from the New Jersey Nets and Philadelphia 76ers.

July 6, 7pm vs. Jazz
July 7, 1pm vs. Magic
July 8, 5pm vs. Thunder
July 9, 7pm vs. Pacers
July 10, 1pm vs. Nets/76ers

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Celtics tour Washington D.C. with contest winners 06.15.09 at 11:28 pm ET
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Celtics forward Bill Walker took a field trip with contest winners

Walker took a field trip with contest winners

Last year the Boston Celtics were recognized at the White House for winning the NBA championship. This summer two of the Cs returned to Washington D.C., this time to recognize a group of students from the Harbor Middle School in Dorchester for their community service.

On Monday Celtics forwards Brian Scalabrine and Bill Walker toured the nation’s Capitol with approximately 15 students as part of the tenth annual ASSISTS Community Service Contest. Contest creators Southwest Airlines and the Boston Celtics flew the students for a field trip which also included a tour of other monuments and attractions in the Baltimore/Washington D.C. area.

Scalabrine and Stephon Marbury teamed up with students from the Harbor Middle School in April to paint a mural for the 5th annual Southwest Airlines ASSISTS Clean-Up Day. The ASSISTS Community Service Contest was open to all eighth-grade students in the Boston Public Middle Schools.

celtics_dc1

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Walker happy to take a seat 03.23.09 at 11:23 pm ET
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The return of Kevin Garnett means less playing time for Bill Walker. That’s bad for the Boston Celtics rookie, right? Think again.

“I’m actually happy Ticket’s back,” he said before Monday’s game against the Los Angeles Clippers (RECAP HERE). “He gives our team that swagger again. We’re more aggressive on defense. You can just tell it’s a different team when he’s on the court.”

After bouncing between the bench and the NBA Development League, Walker received a rare window of opportunity for meaningful minutes on the Celtics. He had played a total of just 54 minutes all season before Garnett strained his knee on February 19. With the Celtics bench already hampered by injuries, Walker averaged 8.5 minutes per game in Garnett’s absence.

“I learned that it’s more physical than it looks on TV out there,” he said. “You’ve got to learn to rest your body and take care of your little aches because those games come back so quick. You’ve got to take care of the little things.”

While Walker’s numbers did not skyrocket – his game-high was only eight points – his perspective on the game did.

“You can always get better, especially on defense,” he said. “There are so many things that go with our defense that I don’t know everything. So watching tape and watching myself like, ‘Oh I’m a second late’ or, ‘I’m a step late.’”

Walker is constantly learning, whether it is on the court or on the bench, so he does not mind taking it all in from the sidelines. He pay close attention to the players around him — “What do they do that’s effective?” he asks himself – and tries to incorporate their strengths into his own game. He doesn’t have to look much further than his own team to pick up some pointers.

“Offensively you can take from just about anybody out there. (Rajon) Rondo, how he gets to the basket. Paul (Pierce), his footwork. Ray (Allen’s) shooting. Ticket’s post work. There’s a lot of stuff to watch out there,” Walker said. “I watch Ray on defense. Ray’s got some great defense. People don’t really realize it but Ray’s always in the right position. Hands are where they’re supposed to be. He’s just a smart player.”

The Celtics basketball IQ has already rubbed off on Walker. He’ll take the opportunity to watch the Big Three play any day.

“I think it’s very, very valuable because everybody is not playing on a team with three sure-fire Hall of Famers,” he said. “It’s not like these guys are stuck up. They teach me things every day.”

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Competition among friends 03.18.09 at 10:47 pm ET
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Bill Walker and Michael Beasley were more than roommates at Kansas State. They were each other’s toughest competition.

“Oh man, we competed at everything,” Walker recalled earlier this season. “On the basketball side, out of basketball, video games, we competed in every thing. Everything was a competition.”

On Wednesday night the rookies faced off as Walker and the Boston Celtics took on Beasley and the Miami Heat. (RECAP HERE) Just like their friendship, the game was a back and forth battle. But it still doesn’t compare to their one-on-one games back in college.

“That’s probably the most intense basketball I’ve played in my life,” Beasley said. “When he won, I didn’t want to leave. And I when I won, he’s not leaving. So sometimes you could win three or four straight and he just won’t quit, or vice versa. I remember there were times we were in the gym until four or five o’clock in the morning just playing one-on-one.”

Walker dubbed Beasley, “The Beast from the East,” and the two saw everything has a chance to win. Little things walking to the car became a race. Game days were another opportunity to one up each other.

“Honestly, we prepared for a game by bringing our Xbox into the locker room and then playing games until pregame stuff,” Beasley said. “We’d always play as ourselves and be Kansas State versus Kansas State.”

Their must-win mentalities pushed one another to become better than they were before.

“It teaches you a lot about yourself,” said Walker. “Especially when you go up against somebody that’s just as competitive as you are and he’s skilled in the same manner you are, that really challenges you.”

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Walker committed to Boston 01.22.09 at 12:10 am ET
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Bill Walker has close ties to his community. So close, in fact, that he tattooed the numbers of his childhood address on his neck. When the Boston Celtics rookie got recalled from the NBA Development League this month, he was eager to give back to the city he’s now calling home.

Last weekend Walker, along with Kendrick Perkins, Gabe Pruitt, and J.R. Giddens, served home-cooked meals to 150 men and women at the Boston Rescue Mission. The food was prepared by members of the Celtics staff as part of the Shamrock Foundation.

“[The best part was] just them being so happy that we’re there,” Walker said. “Just being somebody who actually could take enough time to come down there and just sit and talk with them, serve them food, things like that. Little things like that do mean a lot to people.”

Boston is one of the many places where Walker, 21, wants to make a difference. Even though he is just starting his NBA career, he already has made plans for years to come.

“That’s just something I want to do when I’m done with basketball, just to try to help the communities that I’m in first and then expand,” Walker said. “So that was just fun, going back and trying to cheer up a couple people.”

For more information on the Celtics community outreach, visit www.celtics.com.

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Celtics to serve 150 home-cooked meals 01.16.09 at 11:01 am ET
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This Sunday members of the Boston Celtics will serve home-cooked meals to 150 homeless men and women at the Boston Rescue Mission. Kendrick Perkins, Patrick O’Bryant, Gabe Pruitt, and Bill Walker will distribute meals prepared by members of the Celtics staff as part of the Celtics Shamrock Foundation and Martin Luther King Day. For more information on the Celtics Shamrock Foundation’s community outreach, visit www.celtics.com.

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