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DeMarre Carroll: “Healthiest I’ve been in two years”

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DeMarre Carroll spoke as a Brooklyn Net for the first time and had plenty of good things to say about head coach Kenny Atkinson.

NBA: Toronto Raptors at Memphis Grizzlies Nelson Chenault-USA TODAY Sports

DeMarre Carroll was in attendance for Nets Summer League action on Thursday and spoke with the ESPN2 crew about his new team, his role and Kenny Atkinson.

No surprise, Carroll seems most excited to be reunited with his assistant coach from Atlanta.

“I’m happy. I’m coming to what I call family, Carroll said. “Kenny [Atkinson] I’ve known since Atlanta and he’s the one that helped me take my game to the next level. I’m just happy to get back under his wing.”

Carroll’s play took a dip after leaving Atkinson and Atlanta two seasons back. He’s just glad to be back in the gym with his new (and former) coach.

“He’s a worker, man. He’s always working. He’s the only guy I know that wakes up at five in the morning and runs five miles. He’s a worker and he’s a great developer and I think that’s his biggest thing: player development. I can’t wait to get in the work with him.”

Carroll’s play declined when he left for Toronto. He hurt his knee, underwent the knife and never full recovered. He explained that after working out in L.A. this summer, it’s the healthiest he’s been since leaving Atlanta.

“This is the healthiest I’ve been in years. I’ve been out in L.A. working with a great group of guys and I worked out even more. It’s the healthiest I’ve been in two years.”

Carroll, 30, has been on six different teams throughout the course of his career. He joins a VERY young Nets team as one of the few current veterans.

“I’m trying to bring leadership and help these guys grow. At the end of the day it’s all about helping these guys grow for the future. You just gotta teach them – sometimes mostly vocal. I’ve been through a lot and I’ve been through it, so I’m just trying to help these guys live out their dreams,” he continued.

“I just gotta help these young guys out because they got a lot of talent. Caris LeVert – he’s gonna be really good for us. Rondae [Hollis-Jefferson] – he’s gonna be really good for us. Just gotta put veterans around them.”

He may be new but he knows Kenny Atkinson and the type of team he runs. He’s seen the young Nets play, and when P.J. Carlesimo asked about the persistent Nets from last season, Carroll praised them despite the horrid record.

“They were always a fighting young group. At times they just couldn’t finish games. Jeremy Lin was out a lot, but when he was playing they played pretty well. We just gotta compete and if I can teach that to these young guys we can do some things this year.”

He knows what to expect. At 30-years-old, it’s uncertain what to expect back.