Rondae Hollis-Jefferson is 15 years younger than Luis Scola. In fact, Hollis-Jefferson was born in 1995, the first year Scola played professionally in Argentina.
So we guess we shouldn’t be surprised by RHJ’s surprise at what he’s seeing from his new teammate in scrimmages.
“Scola, being the oldest guy here, he is an animal, works extreme hard. He sets the bar high for all the younger guys,” said Hollis-Jefferson. “Just looking at him and he's like 'Let’s go, one more!' and I'm like, 'dude' And he's like, 'whats the matter, you getting tired.' He's amazing to be around.”
For his part, Scola did not deny he’s on a mission.
“I think part of the reason why I'm here is to help the younger guys make the right decisions on and off the court and I believe the best way of doing that is doing it yourself,” he said in response to Hollis-Jefferson. “We got to hope its contagious.”
Then he paused, smiled and added, “I'm happy he noticed.”
Scola’s aggressiveness was singled out by Hollis-Jefferson as a good example of what he sees from the roster the front office has put together, a veteran presence to work with the kids, someone who can teach them about the will to win.
“We're all moving toward a lot of positivity,” said the Nets swing man, calling his teammates as “good genuine people around here, the souls, the hearts of them. They are guys who actually care. “
There was in fact a lot of talk at Media Day of “accountability,” teammates holding each other accountable, helping out, being teammates, building camaraderie. Anthony Bennett put it this way, “Everybody’s pretty cool, pretty chill. No egos. That’s kind of new for me.”
Scola said he thinks the Nets may have a tough time at present, but they already have a lot of building blocks that good teams have. They need to progress.
“It's a good situation,” he said when asked why he chose the Nets. “I've always thought Brooklyn will be this very important franchise in the NBA. They've got a very good owner.
“Everything about the Brooklyn Nets is trending: the colors, the city, New York, Brooklyn itself. The fans, the arena. Everything looks so nice and the owner is very committed. I've always believed that sooner or later, it's going to be a force in the NBA.
“Obviously that has happened yet. The team's coming from a 21-win year. So we're not there now. Not even close. But I believe this team is going to get better, get progressively better, get in that direction, eventually get there.”
Scola also spoke highly of the Nets other Argentine “property” - Juan Pablo Vaulet, the 20-year-old swingman the Nets drafted in 2015.
“He was on the (national) team,” said Scola. “He didn't make it. He was the 13th player. He made all the preparations to the last week. We spent about a month together.
“He's a very good player. I really mean it. He has a few areas of his game he has to work on but he's extremely young. He really wants to work. His mind is in the right place. I do believe in him. He needs some work but he knows.”