Matt Janning is from Minnesota where the winters are brutal and the summers are hot and humid; but nothing like an August in Phoenix. He might still adjusting to the hundred-plus degree "dry heat" but is already comfortable on the court with NBA legends like Steve Nash and Grant Hill.
During informal workouts at the Suns facility today he even got a chance to get some run with Amare Stoudemire who made an appearance.
Matt looked pretty solid playing opposite from swingman Josh Childress and running the point at times. Matt's shot was falling and he showed his defensive smarts that Suns coach Dan Majerle raved about during Summer League.
We caught up with Matt after his workout and asked him about his opportunity with the Suns.
"It's all you can hope for coming out of Summer League undrafted," The 6-foot-4 combo guard from Northeastern said.
Janning was signed to a contract for training camp but is not guaranteed for the season. He had similar offers from a few other teams but picked Phoenix because the Suns showed the most interest and he feels like he has more of an opportunity to compete for a roster spot here.
The Suns have an abundance of guys who can play shooting guard on the roster already (Jason Richardson, Josh Childress, Goran Dragic and even Jared Dudley or Grant Hill). What they are likely interested in seeing from Janning is if he can make the team as a third-string point guard.
"Getting some work at the one (point guard) against NBA players, NBA talent, that's going to give me confidence going into camp and help elevate my game even more," Janning said. "Playing the point is going to be a primary focus for me at least right now in the offseason and through camp just to get used to everything."
Matt's not willing concede his ability to play off the ball either though and still considers himself a true combo guard. It will be very interesting to see if he has the size and strength to play the two or the quickness to play the one. It's those kinds of question about his tweener status that probably resulted in him going undrafted.
In Vegas during Summer League the Suns staff talked about Janning's ability to use his basketball IQ to overcome those limitations. He was compared to a Jared Dudley or Jeff Hornacek who both were able to be quite successful in the NBA despite similar concerns.
Janning will compete with Zabian Dowdell, a true point guard with more experience, for the back-up point guard role but it's a challenge that Matt is looking forward to.
"I feel good (about my chances). Everyone's got to go in and compete, my spot's not guaranteed. Zabian's a great player, I'm looking forward to going in and competing with him and competing with all the guys and really just earning my spot the way I should," he said.
For now though, Janning is enjoying the opportunity to spend time on and off the court with his legendary teammates.
"It's pretty amazing when you really sit down and think about it. Sometimes it doesn't really hit you (that) you're playing with great guys," Janning said. "Learning from these guys is amazing and you've got guys like Amare coming in and playing, it's really been a dream fulfilled in that respect but I'm not quite there yet."