‘Utility baseball player’ mentality working for Bulls’ Ryan Arcidiacono
Coach Billy Donovan thought he landed Arcidiacono back when he was the head coach at Florida. He missed out on the guard then, but is glad to have him in the mix years later.
Bulls coach Billy Donovan missed out on guard Ryan Arcidiacono years earlier.
He’s making sure it doesn’t happen a second time.
Going 10 or 11 deep from game to game isn’t always ideal for an NBA coach, but Arcidiacono makes it easier for Donovan.
Arcidiacono is always ready, no matter how long the layoff. He’s always going to bring some much-needed toughness and energy.
It’s a can’t-lose proposition for Donovan.
“Whether it be practice or shootarounds or whenever he’s called upon, you know exactly what you’re going to get,’’ Donovan said Monday. “To have a guy like that available with some of the injuries we’ve had to go through [is a blessing]. You can put him in at any point in the game.
‘‘And I’ve got a lot of respect and admiration for him because he’s a total team guy. He’s great on the bench even when he’s not in the rotation. He’s good lifting those guys up. I think he’s been really, really valuable to our team.’’
Donovan has known about Arcidiacono’s virtues for a long time, going back to his days as the coach at Florida.
He recruited Arcidiacono and thought he had landed him. Arcidiacono, out of the Philadelphia area, even thought he was heading to the Gators. But Villanova coach Jay Wright made a last-minute push, getting Arcidiacono and his parents to attend the program’s version of “Midnight Madness.’’
Game, set, match: Arcidiacono became a Wildcat.
Years later, Donovan is glad to finally have the hard-nosed player on his team.
“I’ve always been a guy that regardless if I’m playing 20 minutes, no minutes, five minutes, 30 seconds, I’m always going to come in, bring energy, bring energy on the bench, whatever I have to do to help our team win,’’ Arcidiacono said.
“I call myself a utility baseball player out there because [Donovan will] throw me out there and be like, ‘All right, you’re playing off the ball with [Tomas Satoransky] and Coby [White] or with just Coby in the game.’ Whatever the case is, I’m like, ‘All right, I’ll go in for 10 seconds. Whatever you need from me, I got you.’ And I think that’s what the coaching staff and Billy expect out of me.’’
Bill of health
Otto Porter Jr. (back) and Lauri Markkanen (sprained right shoulder) made some progress before the team flew to Houston on Monday.
Donovan was holding out hope that at least one would return before the All-Star break, but he wasn’t holding his breath.
“As this week unfolds and we get closer to the All-Star break, we’ll certainly have to look at [Porter] because he hasn’t been able to do a lot of cardio stuff,’’ Donovan said. “I don’t know if either of those guys will be back before the All-Star break. A lot of it is going to depend on if they do get some time under their belt and can come back, have they had enough of a period of time to get themselves ready to play? I’d imagine both of those guys have been really, really diligent about working out and trying to take care of themselves and doing what they can to keep their conditioning up.’’