<
>

Keith Bogans sets sights on title

CHICAGO -- For new Chicago Bulls guard Keith Bogans, realism and optimism are conspiring to target the same goal.

"A realistic goal is this team can definitely win a championship," Bogans said during a phone conversation Wednesday after officially signing with the Bulls. "There's no ifs, ands or buts about it.

"Personally, me, I'll never [expect] less than that. A championship is my main goal. I would hope this team can definitely get a championship with the talent that we have."

Bogans is excited about the chance to pay with All-Star point guard Derrick Rose, and he is looking forward to providing the young team with a veteran defensive presence.

"Physically, I'm going to bring the toughness defensively first and foremost," he said. "I'm not a terrific spot up shooter, but I will spot up and knock down open jump shots.

"So my main goal will be to bring the energy on defense and hit the open shots when they're there."

Bogans is looking forward to reuniting with new Bulls head coach Tom Thibodeau. The 30-year-old Bogans played for Thibodeau when he was an assistant for the Houston Rockets.

"He's going to bring toughness naturally as a coach, that's just his personality, his makeup," Bogans said. "He's not really a loud guy, he's quiet. But he's going to make sure every guy works hard, night in and night out, I know that much."

Bogans agreed with Joakim Noah's assessment that the Bulls will be a "blue-collar" team.

"That's going to be my mentality," he said. "That's my mentality personally. I'm pretty sure Coach Thibs is going to do the same thing because that's his mentality, he wants to go out and kick somebody's ass every night. That's how he used to be in Houston, so I'm pretty sure that's the same way he is now."

The opportunity to play for the Bulls means a little more to the University of Kentucky alum, who grew up watching the Bulls' glory days.

"I've watched Michael Jordan since I was a kid," he said. "To come play for the Bulls, it's almost like one of those dreams that you never thought would happen, come true. I watched them play on all those tapes when I was a kid. I wanted to play in the United Center, and I'm finally here playing, so it's definitely a blessing for me. I'm going to enjoy every minute of it.

"One of my old childhood friends called me and was like, 'Man, you're playing for the Bulls. Do you remember when we used to run around and act like we were Michael Jordan?' I still remember those days like it was yesterday."

Bogans has averaged seven points and three rebounds over his seven-year career.

Nick Friedell covers the Bulls for ESPNChicago.com and ESPN 1000.