TUALATIN -- It was a holiday, but not for the aspiring basketball players on the Portland Trail Blazers' summer-league roster.
Tuesday was the first day of practice for the team, which opens play in the Las Vegas Summer League Saturday at 1 p.m. against the Utah Jazz in Cox Pavilion.
The team went through a two-hour session at the team's practice facility and all eyes were on recent draftees Zach Collins and Caleb Swanigan.
"They're good," said two-year Trail Blazer veteran Pat Connaughton, who will spend his third summer playing in the league. "They're big bodies and they work hard and that's about all you can ask of young guys that come in. It will be fun to work with them and play with them and watch them grow throughout summer league and hopefully, throughout the season."
Connaughton was asked to break down what he saw from each player during Tuesday's practice.
On Collins, the seven-footer out of Gonzaga, he said, "He's a hard worker, he's big and he's skilled. Obviously I've only been with each of the rookies for a day and I'll be able to tell you more at the end of summer league but from the standpoint of his ability to play basketball, he's got a knowledge for it, he's got a feel for it and wben he's able to build his size even more from a strength standpoint -- he's 19 years old -- that will be huge for him. He's the got the skills and the tools to be a phenomenal NBA player."
And Swanigan, the 6-9 forward from Purdue: "The kid works hard ... He's a guy who is going to find a way to make his way in this league just off sheer ability to defend, rebound, put back -- and he can make a jumper. He can shoot, better than I thought -- but I hadn't watched a ton of his games -- and that's always an important thing, especially in today's NBA."
Beginning Saturday in a game telecast on CSN -- Portland fans will get their first look.