Darius Garland anxious, but excited to play on Monday night

The 19-year-old will play against San Lorenzo de Almagro

James Rapien
October 07, 2019 - 12:09 pm

CLEVELAND, OH – Cavaliers rookie Darius Garland hasn’t played in a real game since suffering a season-ending left meniscus injury against Kent State on Nov. 23. The 19-year-old will return to the court in his first professional game on Monday night at Rocket Mortgage Fieldhouse.

“I’m really anxious to see how I do,” Garland said. “I’ve been a winner all of my life, so I’m ready to win.”

The Cavaliers host San Lorenzo de Almagro at 6 p.m. Garland will play, but John Beilein hasn’t revealed his starting lineup for the preseason matchup.

The 19-year-old Garland had been dealing with a sore foot, but he participated in a live scrimmage on Saturday afternoon. He had no issues recovering and practiced in full on Sunday.

“It was really good just to get him out there playing again, he looked very comfortable,” Beilein said on Sunday. “He’s a smart kid. He’s picked up things really well.”

There has been one theme of Garland’s sessions with the media. He continuously talks about winning, how bad he wants to win and how he’s willing to do anything to get the job done.

That means he expects the Cavs to have success on Monday, even in a meaningless preseason game against Argentinian based San Lorenzo.

“Win the game,” Garland said. “That’s the main goal. Get as many wins as we can.”

The Cavs’ youngster smiles a lot. He’s living out his NBA dream and he isn’t alone.

Garland moved his entire family to Cleveland from Nashville after the Cavaliers selected him with the fifth overall pick in June.

His mom, dad and brother help keep him focused so he can have success in his rookie season.

“They love it [Cleveland>,” Garland said. “We’re close-knit, so I like to have them around.”

What do they like most about Cleveland?

“The food,” Garland said without hesitation. “Cleveland is kind of close to Nashville with the food. They like the food a lot.”

                                                                   Bonding with Sexton

Garland says he has gotten close with Collin Sexton over the past few months. The duo went back and forth shooting 3-pointers at the end of Monday’s shootaround.

“We’re always in the gym together,” Garland said. “We’re almost locker buddies so we talk everyday.”

Some expect the two young guards to clash and not be able to play together. Others think there could be internal competition between the two, but Garland insists that isn’t the case.

“We’re on the same team,” he said. “We’re trying to win. We have the same goal.”

That doesn’t mean the duo doesn’t push each other, but it’s clear that neither player is focused on individual accolades.

The Cavaliers hope Monday night is the start of something special in Cleveland.