: The first time Andrew Bynum visited Hawaii, the 17-year-old was trying to find his way around his first training camp with the Los Angeles Lakers.
Two years later, he's looking to assert himself in the competition for the starting center job as the Lakers begin preparations for the season in training camp.
"I've got a lot more experience now," Bynum said after a practice at the Stan Sheriff Center. "After two years I know what to expect out of training camp. I worked hard this summer and I'm in shape now."
Bynum entered camp looking to claim the starting job he filled for 53 games last season. Veterans Kwame Brown and Chris Mihm will also compete for the job in the preseason following injury-plagued seasons.
Mihm missed all of last season following surgery on his ankle. Brown is coming back from shoulder and ankle injuries.
"I'm just taking it slow, don't want to take it too fast and injure myself," Brown said. "I'm feeling a lot better than I did last year, it's all about consistency now, that I can maintain that high level of play without getting injured."
Bynum devoted his offseason to improving his conditioning with an eye on claiming the starting center job in camp.
"I definitely want to establish my position," Bynum said as the Lakers' opened training camp at Iolani School. "I think I'm good enough to get that starting job, and that's what I'm out here to do, to prove to everybody that I'm ready. "I'm definitely in way better shape than last year. That's the biggest difference, I feel a lot stronger than I did before."
Those competing with him have been among those to notice his development on and off the court.
"He's matured a lot," veteran center Chris Mihm said. "People forget how young he was when he first came in, and Andrew's worked hard all summer to get his body a lot stronger and get into better shape."
Mihm and Kwame Brown are both easing back from injuries to contend for the job as well as the Lakers move toward their Oct. 30 season opener.
"That's a problem for the coaches, and I think it's a good problem to have when you have three guys who can potentially start," Brown said.
"It's going to be a healthy competition.
"(Bynum's) definitely in shape now, and he's more confident and he definitely feels like he's ready to start and carry the bulk of the work. But that can be said for myself and Chris. But it's not a job for us to go out and worry about that. We just go out, put our best foot forward and let the coaches decide."
Brown's workload remains limited in training camp, a precaution against suffering a setback leading up to the season. Mihm can participate in all of the drills, though he regularly soaks his ankle in a bucket of ice at the end of practice.
"It was long process for me to get back out here on the court. I've really enjoyed getting back training with the guys," Mihm said. "It was a long year. To be in there rehabbing seven days a week for five or six months and to be in there every day at practice and all the games, I tried to do what I could to help the guys out, but when you're not part of the team and not playing it makes for a tough season."