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Heat's Beasley Burning, Hungry

Heat rookie forward Michael Beasley insists he loves to bang in the lane and welcomes the physical contact that awaits in the NBA this season.

Beasleyfan But he quickly found himself over-matched Wednesday afternoon. About 40 kids from the Heat's Youth Basketball Camp immediately rushed Beasley in a classroom at Miami-Dade College's Kendall Campus, where he was a special guest of the camp that has hosted nearly 800 kids over six weeks.

After a few moments of playful wrestling and piling on, one youngster - probably channeling his inner Pat Riley - stood up and yelled: "Stop, before he gets hurt!"

Yes, even the 6-to-14-year-old demographic of Heat fans realize just how vital a healthy Beasley is to the Heat's hopes of bouncing back from a disastrous 15-67 season.

After a whirlwind tour of marketing and promotional appearances over the past month, Beasley is back in Miami with a focus squarely on basketball - if you don't count the occasional reality series segment he does with ESPN.com titled, The Rookie.

We caught up with Beasley to get an update on how he's preparing for his first training camp and to get his thoughts on several issues.

Among them ...

- Committing to offseason workouts with the Heat's staff?

"I'm just working. That's all I'm doing, all day, every day. Just working and sleep. I'm in the gym probably five or six hours a day, and that's pretty much all I'm doing. A lot of conditioning. A lot of shots. A lot of pick-and-roll stuff. But a whole lot of conditioning. I mean a lot."

- Sorting through the business and endorsement aspect of being the second overall pick (Beasley said he still has not signed with a shoe company, but is close)?

"I just put my ipod on and just go with the flow. I've been a lot of places these last couple of weeks. I've gone to Vegas, home to D.C., New York, Los Angeles. Just back and forth, everywhere. I'm getting my legs back. But it's been a good summer so far."

On being groomed for small forward or power forward, based on the workouts?

"Still both. I like to bang. I like to get down low with the big fellas. I feel like I can make an impact at both. I'm not biased on either side. The 3 is a little more prettier than the 4, so to speak. The 3's don't want to be touched, they run the floor a little bit. But I like the 4 a lot, getting down with the big fellas.

On his recovery from the cracked sternum injury that limited him during summer league play?

"I haven't had one thought about it. It was just a couple-of-days thing that healed with rest. Didn't need any extra work on it or anything. It's perfect now."

On being 19 years old, essentially still a kid, and relating to kids at this camp?

"I'm just trying to do what I wish someone did for me when I was younger. I would have loved for someone from the NBA to come to my camp and just interact with the kid. I'm just giving back some of the time and stuff I never had. I had never been to an NBA Draft before. So I just thought it would be cool then to bring a bunch of young guys from my AAU program (in D.C.). And to come in here today and see all of these smiles, they get you excited. They (staff) can't hardly handle the kids and it's fun."

Thoughts on Dwyane Wade's play in the Olympic exhibitions?Beasleyzsg_2

"I saw the last one - against Australia. They all look good. Honestly, I don't see how they're losing. They've got everything. I think Dwyane played good. Dwyane is Dwyane. He plays good by just showing up."

On being left off the select team of draft picks and young NBA players that practiced against Team USA last month, but still going to Vegas to work out and watch the training camp?

"It made me a little more hungry. It made my plate a little bigger. I felt I could have played with that (select) team. Why I didn't? I don't know. But it just made me hungrier. I'm in Vegas and just worked to get my condition up a lot. Just trying to be a dog, you know. Trying to be a beast. That just put fuel to the fire."




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