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News » BUCKS NOTES Takeoff turbulence Jennings just getting adjusted, says Skiles

BUCKS NOTES Takeoff turbulence Jennings just getting adjusted, says Skiles

BUCKS NOTES  Takeoff turbulence  Jennings just getting adjusted, says Skiles By TOM ENLUND

St. Francis - The realities of life in the National Basketball Association are slowly setting in for Milwaukee Bucks rookie Brandon Jennings . . .

On and off the court.

After a terrific start - on Tuesday Jennings was named the Eastern Conference rookie of the month - his production has tailed off in the last week.

Still, coach Scott Skiles thinks that has as much to do with the adjustments Jennings is trying to make to life in the NBA as it does with anything the opposing defenses are doing to stop his flow.

"I think that, more than anything else, it's just his own personal adjustments," said Skiles after practice Tuesday. "He's never been through anything like this. This many games in this period of time. Playing at this high a level with as many big bodies and athletes.

"There's a lot of little things. Eat right and manage his time and his sleep. All the stuff that you learn how to do at this level."

In the first 11 games, Jennings averaged 25.3 points on 47.9% shooting. In the past five games, he has averaged 14.2 points on 29.8% shooting.

Jennings' fast start and 55-point outing against Golden State gained him considerable national publicity, which can be good for both Jennings and the organization. But also, since he now has the spotlight on him, Jennings likely will be encountering media attention in every city the Bucks visit.

It happened during last week's four-city trip and undoubtedly will occur again when the Bucks visit Washington and Detroit this week. Jennings has been cordial and cooperative with the media, and while it is part of the job, facing a constant barrage of reporters can wear on a young player.

"There's the mental side of having such a good start and everybody coming after him," said Skiles. "He has to answer the same, in my opinion, silly questions that you can pull off of anywhere about his European experience. . . . It's already been said and beat to death. There's just a lot of stuff that he has to get used to. Some of it is on the court, some of it is off the court. It's just typical rookie stuff."

Bucks center Andrew Bogut can relate to what Jennings is encountering. After being the No. 1 overall pick of the 2005 draft, Bogut was the focus of considerable attention everywhere the Bucks went during his rookie season.

"He's a pretty strong young fellow, but it definitely does get . . . it's more annoying because people just ask the same questions," said Bogut. "Sometimes journalists don't read the last articles and will come out and ask you the same questions that you just answered five road trips in a row.

"It'll be frustrating for him, but I doubt if it takes a toll on him. I think he'll be fine. He's a pretty smart young guy."

Bogut agreed, though, that media scrutiny was one more thing that Jennings would have to deal with as a much-hyped rookie.

"Yes," said Bogut. "Along with playing 40 minutes, getting asked the same questions everywhere you go. He's a top-10 pick as well, so he's probably getting the questions about, 'Do you think teams should have taken you higher?' and blah, blah, blah. Like I got the questions of, 'Are you worthy of being the No. 1 pick?' and so on."

Big victory: Monday's victory over Chicago was a big one for the Bucks for a number of reasons, not the least of which is they were able to avoid taking a five-game losing streak on the road.

"It was huge, especially at home," said Bogut.

"They stole one from us in Chicago."

Said forward Kurt Thomas, "It was a rough week for us, but we were able to bounce back."

Copyright 2009, Journal Sentinel Inc. All rights reserved. (Note: This notice does not apply to those news items already copyrighted and received through wire services or other media.)

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