Unfortunately, Tyrus was the only interview I did where I managed not to click the record button (hooray professionalism), so I have no direct quotes from him. However, I did spend about five minutes talking to him about his off-season, goals, and the upcoming season. The first thing I asked him about was switching trainers from David Thorpe to Josh Oppenheimer. I know Thorpe was a strong advocate of trying to keep Tyrus playing inside near the rim rather than on the perimeter while Tyrus has always viewed himself as somewhat more perimeter oriented, and I wondered if their split came over differing views on Tyrus's game.
That doesn't appear to be the case, Tyrus said he still keeps in touch with David and values his opinion, but he switched to Josh because Josh is based out of Chicago, and he can work out with Josh everyday and still be in Chicago and around the team.
I tried to get Tyrus's opinion on where he prefers to play on the court with several questions, but he didn't seem to want to go down that road. Rather than classifying himself as a perimeter player or a post player, he classified himself as an X-factor. He said he's shown he can play multiple positions, and it's up to the coaching staff where he's placed on the court.
Tyrus looks to have gained a significant amount of strength this off-season. I know fans repeat that every year when looking at photos, but this year I really see it. I've seen Tyrus each of the past three off-seasons, and physically he looks much tougher now than when I first met him. He said his weight right now is around 235, but he'll probably drop a few pounds in training camp and might play closer to 230.
He looks ripped, but he also looks a lot more filled in this year. I'm not sure if that description entirely makes sense, but instead of just having some biceps, his chest and upper body just looks much more defined and built up.
Tyrus punted when I asked about whether he'd had any discussions with the Bulls this summer about an extension (referring me to his agent and Bulls management), but I've heard from other sources that he has not.
From all reports, Tyrus has a focused and productive off-season. I've been highly skeptical of him ever having it click for him, but he looks like he worked out hard this off-season. If his skills have improved as much as his physique and his energy is consistent then he has a legit chance to change a lot of minds this season.
It's hard to mentally commit to Tyrus after having such high hopes for so long. If you asked me a couple of days ago whether he was primed for a good season, I would have said no. However, it's clear he's taking basketball very seriously right now. He's always had the athleticism, and he looks like he's put in the work.
What remains to be seen is if his skills and focus have improved as much as his body. We won't get a feel for that until pre-season, but it's easy to feel a bit more upbeat about him today.