News » Pops go the Rockets Mensah-Bonsu gets roster spot

Pops go the Rockets Mensah-Bonsu gets roster spot

Pops go the Rockets Mensah-Bonsu gets roster spotTALL ORDER

With All-Star center Yao Ming out for the season, adding Pops Mensah-Bonsu to a thin frontcourt seems like a natural fit, especially after he led the Rockets in blocks (1.5 per game) during the preseason.

Rockets post players:

Player Pts. Reb.

David Andersen 10.7 4.5

Brian Cook 4.8 2.5

Joey Dorsey 4.0 6.0

Chuck Hayes 2.8 4.2

Carl Landry 12.7 4.9

P. Mensah-Bonsu 8.3 5.8

Luis Scola 8.0 6.0

Note: Statistics are from preseason

Had Pops Mensah-Bonsu allowed himself to worry, had he been tossing and turning through the nights while considering his chances to make the Rockets roster, there might have been greater elation, or at least relief at the news.

Having been through this, he would not put himself through that torture again. He had learned over the years to fight those thoughts.

He also knew from experience how to react when he learned that he had made the 15-player Rockets roster Thursday, vowing to maintain the sort of play that got him this far.

"I've been in this situation a couple times so I'm a vet at it," Mensah-Bonsu, 26, said. "Maybe if I was a young guy I'd have been a little wound up. Now, I'm a seasoned vet to things like that. I was just going to do what I do best. If they like me, that's great. If not, there's not much more I could have done to put myself in this position.

Knows what it takes

"In years past, I was able to play at a high level, but I haven't been able to maintain the consistency. I have to maintain the level of play for 82 games and be a spark plug for this team."

Mensah-Bonsu, a 6-9 forward, made the team at the right time for another reason. The Rockets conclude the preseason schedule tonight against the Dallas Mavericks, his first NBA team. He played just 12 games in Dallas in between three stints in the NBA Development League.

"It's great timing," he said, "But I'm a professional. I have to look at it as another game and make sure I'm consistent."

The Rockets reduced the roster to 16 players - including Brent Barry, whose contract will be bought out or dealt by Monday - by waiving Will Conroy, 6-2, on Thursday.

Conroy, 26, was told he would be waived after Thursday's practice, with the Rockets choosing to go with an extra frontcourt player rather than a third point guard behind Aaron Brooks and Kyle Lowry. Conroy averaged six points and 2.6 assists in the preseason.

"It's a business, but that doesn't make it any easier," Conroy said. "At least I'll get some rest. I haven't slept the last three days.

"It's frustrating, but it's a done deal, so turn the page."

Mensah-Bonsu seemed the likely choice Monday, when, with Luis Scola out with a sprained ankle, Mensah-Bonsu was the first forward/center off the bench, apparently having moved ahead of Joey Dorsey and Brian Cook in the rotation.

Mensah-Bonsu, who averaged 8.4 points on 51.4- percent shooting in the preseason, had 13 points in 16 minutes Monday, making five of six shots. Even then, he said he will not assume anything about what that indicates about his status.

"I didn't look at it as anything more than face value," Mensah-Bonsu said. "Every game is something different. I didn't start any games. I was the only big man not to start. I could have looked at that as not a good sign, but I didn't. I just tried to capitalize on every situation, never get too wound up, never get too confident. I made sure I was myself and more than anything else not get complacent.

Court persona

"When I'm on the court, I'm a different person. I'm determined, aggressive, energetic. I harness my aggression on the court. I'm cool, calm and collected off the court.

"Now that I'm on the team, I am at ease to be myself, play my game. I am more comfortable. But I always knew what the team expected every time I went out there on the floor in games and I just tried to do that to the best of my ability."

Author: Fox Sports
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Added: October 24, 2009


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