Coach denies reported fight with McGrady in training
Updated: 2012-12-17 22:43
By Sun Xiaochen (China Daily)
Reports were rampant on Chinese media that Qingdao Eagles import Tracy McGrady left practice early on Saturday after quarreling with coach Zhang Shizhang.
Zhang dismissed it as a rumor.
"Nothing happened between T-Mac and me. The reports were just speculation. It's not about him, but the new foreigner Chris Daniels," Zhang told Qingdao based Bandao Metro News on Monday.
According to multiple outlets over the weekend, McGrady told Zhang he wanted to rest in the middle of practice and sat out without Zhang's permission.
The coach criticized McGrady harshly and ordered him to continue running.
However, Zhang said the player he urged to keep working was Daniels, who asked for a break due to the flu but eventually finished the session.
"McGrady indeed quit the session at the end, but I allowed him to do that," Zhang said. "He's a veteran and has played with the team for a while. He knows my tactics, so I just let him go at the end.
"But I persuaded Daniels to continue because he's a new guy and knows nothing about the system here.
"Anyway, it's normal communication between players and coaches. No conflicts or quarrels. I don't how these made-up stories come out." Despite a disappointing nine straight losses, both McGrady and his Chinese teammates remain upbeat about the rest of the season, Zhang said.
"I've been talking with him through our interpreter all the time," he said. "It's tough for him, especially because there were so many expectations before the season. But he is so professional and he said he didn't lose confidence in his teammates. He's not in a good mood, but he will continue working hard as the leader."