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Theo Ratliff Interview

 


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/ March 29, 2004

Portland Trail Blazers center Theo Ratliff is having yet another solid year, and as usual is a dominant shot-blocker, rejecting 3.51 attempts per game. Ratliff was traded to Portland in early February; he came from Atlanta with Shareef Abdur-Rahim and Dan Dickau in exchange for Rasheed Wallace and Wesley Person. InsideHoops.com editor Jeff Lenchiner met with Ratliff for an exclusive interview before a Knicks game in Madison Square Garden.

InsideHoops.com: Talk about the trade from Atlanta to Portland, your initial reaction, thoughts you have on it now, etc.

Theo Ratliff: I welcomed it. It's just a refreshing atmosphere to be in a city where you have fans that are committed to the team, and ownership that's committed to the team, and getting it done. There's still so much turmoil in Atlanta with the ownership and things of that nature, you never had an idea what was going to happen, how they were going to do things and what-not. To me, it wasn't really getting the job done. So it was a welcome move for me, as a player, to be able to come to a team where you have great ownership, great coaching and great teammates.

InsideHoops.com: You went from a situation going nowhere to a team with a stacked roster and playoff hopes, and a bright future.

Theo Ratliff: An opportunity to come out here and be competitive and fight for a playoff position, and have everybody behind us, that's what you like to play for. That's how you like to play. In Atlanta, you didn't have that. I'm not a young cat anymore, so I don't really have those years to waste with them trying to figure out what they're doing, so it was a welcome trade to me.

InsideHoops.com: How's the playoff push going? You guys are right on the border of being in and out, what do you have to do each night to make it happen and get in there?

Theo Ratliff: Just trying to come out and focus, taking it one game at a time. Always just staying focused on that game, and trying to go out and execute a game-plan that Coach Cheeks and the coaching staff have for us, and just trying to get the job done. We know that if we go out and execute the game-plan, we give ourselves a great opportunity to win games.

InsideHoops.com: Your teammate Zach Randolph is destroying everyone who tries to guard him. He's really improved from last season.

Theo Ratliff: You look at the numbers he put up last year compared to what he's done this year, it's astronomical. He's definitely a guy that has come into his own; a guy that's going to continue to improve, and with him being so young, he still got a lot of upside to improve on out on the floor as far as learning the game. He's a tremendous player and it's been great playing with him.

InsideHoops.com: Do you miss anything about Atlanta, at all?

Theo Ratliff: Well I miss my family, my family's still back there, so I miss that aspect of having my kids and my wife with me, because that's what we're accustomed to, but they understand daddy's playing, daddy's working, and they have to continue to go to school.

InsideHoops.com: So will you all stay based in Atlanta?

Theo Ratliff: For now, just till we can establish something.







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