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Bucks’ top pick says he’ll learn from YouTube incident

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Associated Press
July 7, 2009
— First-round draft pick Brandon Jennings has yet to break a sweat in practice for the Milwaukee Bucks, and he’s already doing a little backpedaling on defense.

Speaking after the Bucks’ pre-summer league practice Monday, Jennings expressed regret for drawing unwanted attention when his profanity-laced and provocative telephone conversation with a rapper was videotaped and posted on YouTube last week.


“I’m pretty glad that it happened now, something that I can learn from,” said Jennings, the No. 10 overall pick. “Now I know you can’t trust everybody. Everybody’s not your friend. It was a joke. We were joking and everything. But for my part, I shouldn’t be talking about team business that I have no idea about.”


In the video, which has since been removed from the site, rapper Joe Budden is shown talking to Jennings on a speakerphone. According to a partial transcript posted on sportingnews.com, Jennings insisted that guard Ramon Sessions would not return to the team, boasted that he will beat out Luke Ridnour to become the starting point guard and made a profane comment about the New York Knicks for not drafting him.

Jennings, who did not practice Monday while he awaits final clearance from international basketball governing body FIBA, said he did not know the conversation was being recorded. But he acknowledged that he was wrong and pledged to learn a lesson from the incident.


“I was wrong for the things I said,” said Jennings, who expects to be able to practice Wednesday. “It was jokingly, we were playing around, laughing. But at the same time, I have to be careful and I’m going to learn from that.”


And he apparently was misinformed about Sessions, a restricted free agent who received a qualifying offer from the team—giving the Bucks the right to match any offer from another team.


“I shouldn’t be talking about team business,” Jennings said. “But if he comes back, that’s good. We need all the help we can get to be a good team.”


So, is Jennings still buddies with Budden?


“We’re OK,” Jennings said. “We did talk about it, my agent, we all talked about it. Everybody’s pretty upset about the situation. Because the last thing I was thinking about was I’m getting recorded on YouTube having a conversation with a friend. But like I said, I’ll learn from it, and now I know I can’t really trust everybody.”


The incident raised questions about the maturity of Jennings, who decided to play professionally in Italy instead of going to college and made waves in the run-up to the draft by criticizing another guard prospect, Spain’s Ricky Rubio.


Bucks assistant coach Kelvin Sampson said Jennings doesn’t lack confidence, and that’s not a bad thing.


“I say this with all due respect: That kid has a very high opinion of himself,” said Sampson, who ran Monday’s practice for head coach Scott Skiles. “He think he’s pretty good, and we’re not going to tell him any different. He’s got a lot of confidence, and I like that.”


Sampson already is emphasizing leadership to Jennings, and considers the YouTube incident a lesson about not calling undue attention to yourself.


“It’s just an opportunity for him to learn a life lesson,” Sampson said. “I don’t think you overreact to it, but you make him understand that the name on the front of his jersey is a little more important than the name on the back of it. The society that these guys have come up in, that’s kind of been what they do. But now, I think it goes back to being a point guard. A point guard, he doesn’t do those type of things.”


His brief YouTube stardom fading, Jennings now is looking forward to summer league play in Las Vegas.


“I just can’t wait until Vegas, man,” Jennings said. “I feel I have a lot to prove to a lot of people. A lot of people are doubting me, saying I didn’t have a good year in Europe so a lot of people think I’m really not that good. This summer, I’m really going to take serious.”



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