The last time the Hawks opened training camp somewhere other than Atlanta was during the 2004-05 season when they began practice at Mercer University in Macon. Atlanta elected to open camp this season on the road in Athens at the University of Georgia's Coliseum Training Facility where they held five practices over three days.
Head Coach Mike Budenholzer told the AJC that the trip was a success and that they had laid a lot of the groundwork for the rest of the preseason:
"It's been a great camp," Budenholzer said. "I really feel good about what we did up here, putting in the foundation defensively, making that a priority, implementing the beginnings of the offense. I think we put in the seeds of playing unselfishly, playing with discipline, individual effort.
Atlanta had plenty of new faces on the roster last season but did have a fair amount of holdovers on the roster to help implement Larry Drew's system. With a new coaching staff in place this season, there will be a learning curve for the entire roster.
"Hopefully we did a good balance of both. The priority was to create a competitive environment and create a competitive tone. At the same time, you have to start putting in your system and offensively and defensively creating a vision of what we are going to be doing. That is the challenge of any coach of walking that balance of creating a competitive camp and also teaching."
For those fans that grew tired of Drew constantly using the word "energy" then prepare yourself for Budenholzer to do something similar with the word "competitive". Its been the word that Budenholzer and General Manager Danny Ferry have used to describe their vision of the team since he was hired. We heard it many times during media day and it doesn't figure to be going away anytime soon.
Atlanta enjoyed an off day from practice on Friday and will hold a free open to the public scrimmage on Saturday at Philips Arena which starts at 5 p.m.