EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. - Long after his teammates had scattered off the court, looking to enjoy the little bit of downtime before their chartered plane took off for Detroit, Rondae Hollis-Jefferson was still working out.
Zoned in on his target and sporting a determined look, the Nets rookie forward kept letting the shots fly, working intently on crafting his left-handed jumper. It's been a post-practice ritual for Hollis-Jefferson this preseason, something he knows is a necessity if he wants to blossom into more than a potential one-dimensional defensive stalwart.
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About 400 shots roll off his fingertips by the time he's finished.
"There's things you have to do and you've got to put this work in to get what you want out of basketball," Hollis-Jefferson said Wednesday. "So I feel like me coming in here and shooting is something I must do, I have to do, to be where I want to be."
Hollis-Jefferson's next chance to try out his form in live action comes against the Pistons at the Palace of Auburn Hills Thursday night and he's hoping for better results than what went down in Monday's preseason opener against Turkish team Fenerbache. Hollis-Jefferson was 2 of 6 shooting, misfiring on two of the three jumpers he hoisted.
As a small forward, the 6-7, 220-pounder will have his share of opportunities on offense, considering defenders surely will sag off him. Draining 20.6 percent of his three-pointers like he did during his two seasons at Arizona will not cut it at this level.
"I feel like once I get my shot going, it will open up more for my game," Hollis-Jefferson said. Once that comes about in my game, then I will be able to see the floor like they do, be able to dribble drive and kick, and all those things."
Besides the lengthy on-court work, Hollis-Jefferson also watches video footage with the coaches, and it shows him what his shot and follow through look like when he makes it as opposed to those times it clanks off the rim.
"So he can create better habits," Nets coach Lionel Hollins said.
Hollis-Jefferson admitted he was hesitant at times Monday, picking up his dribble when he instead should have kept it alive to get into better position. He lamented missing a point-blank driving finger-roll that would've cut a three-point deficit to one with 6.8 seconds remaining. But he learned the importance of putting things behind him, a lesson reinforced by assistant coach Jay Humphries, who told Hollis-Jefferson that he wasn't alone. Humphries assured him that he also had missed a layup in his career and it's all about moving on to the next play.
There's no time for head-dropping and shoulder slumping at this level and Hollis-Jefferson is finding that out. Keeping his head on a swivel, soaking it all up and mastering it is undoubtedly an arduous task.
"It's a big challenge, being young and then learning the scheme of things," Hollis-Jefferson said. "And then on top of learning the scheme of things and being new, you are playing some of the greatest players in the world. So with that, you have to be ready, you have to be focused and locked in."