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Cleveland Cavaliers

Tristan Thompson, Omri Casspi eager to begin their first season in Cleveland

By Jason Lloyd Published: December 5, 2011

Cavs rookie Tristan Thompson spent a fair amount of time during the lockout in San Antonio scrimmaging against elite NBA players. Thompson worked out with a number of Spurs and Oklahoma City Thunder players, including Tim Duncan, Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook.

"That was a great experience," Thompson said. "It was a good taste for what the NBA is about."

There was a time when Thompson was wondering when exactly his NBA career would begin. But now that the lockout is finally ending, Thompson is in Cleveland this week preparing for his first training camp. He finished classes at Texas, but still has two more finals to take that he must e-mail back to professors. Top overall pick Kyrie Irving remains at Duke finishing up his classes. He is expected in Cleveland by the end of the week.

Despite the summer of uncertainty, Thompson said he never regretted the decision enter the NBA after one season with the Longhorns. And why not? He was selected fourth overall by the Cavs, which was higher than most everyone had projected.

"This was a dream of mine to play in the NBA," he said. "To have an opportunity to get drafted where I was, you can't turn that down."

Other news from Monday's open gym at the Cavs facility:

* Thompson will wear No. 13 with the Cavs. A communications major, Thompson took four classes in the fall (two African-American Studies classes, U.S. Government and a speech/broadcasting class). Thompson wants to be a basketball analyst on one of the networks after his career is over.

* Fellow newcomer Omri Casspi strained the MCL in his left knee while playing basketball in August. He was concerned the injury was worse at first, but says now he's completely recovered and will be healthy when camp begins on Friday.

* Casspi has been playing intense, competitive games for the last few weeks at both the Impact basketball facility in Las Vegas and the Nike Pro Training Camp in Oregon -- proof that the knee is fine. "I've been working out the last two months without any pain," he said. "I'm ready to go."

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