Other Wizards Notes
If you weren't at practice today, you missed a thrilling one-on-one game in the post between James Lang and DeShawn Stevenson. Jarvis Hayes would feed the offensive player the ball, and the offensive player would then have to score down low, although Stevenson eventually decided Lang was a rookie and wasn't allowed to be fed the ball.
The thing was, Lang kept calling fouls.
"Rookies don't get calls, right?" Stevenson asked to the gathering crowd--which eventually included Hayes, Caron Butler, Andray Blatche and Calvin Booth--after one of the fouls.
Stevenson got the ball back and scored.
"He's cheating," Lang said.
"What'd he do?" Butler asked.
"A spin move is cheating?" Stevenson replied.
Lang scored to draw within 6-3, and then was stuffed on a drive by Stevenson, who was giving up about five inches. Lang walked off the court and, displaying the intestinal fortitude of a gray garden slug, called a foul.
"That was clean, right?" an outraged Stevenson asked the crowd.
"Clean," VP of player personnel Milt Newton said.
"He hit my arm," Lang said.
"You gotta be tougher than that," Newton said.
Eventually, the game resumed. Stevenson missed a fadeaway. Lang got the ball back, missed a hook shot and, displaying the intestinal fortitude of a Malaysian trumpet snail, called a foul.
"James, c'mon," Stevenson said. "I've never seen a rookie call so many fouls. You a rookie.
Stevenson got Calvin Booth to be the referee, and he got the ball back. He soon a hit a hook shot over Lang to make it 7-3, game. Stevenson sprinted off the practice court and up the stairs, celebrating.
"I said 10," Lang said.
"I need some new post players," Stevenson later said. "I'm gonna go after every center and power forward after every practice and show 'em how to post up....[Lang's] an NBA player, but not a post player. Probably a shooting guard. But not a post player."
"He hit me on the forearm," said Lang, displaying the intestinal fortitude of a shucked soft-shelled clam. "I told him right before the game we was going to 10, but he switched it up to seven, so he got to seven first and quit. He was just cheating."
More seriously, Stevenson joined all the other people who have been saying how impressive Lang has been this month, and how soft his hands are. Several team officials were watching Lang playing around with Stevenson and commenting on how skilled he is for a man his size.
Your other notes:
1) Everyone is raving about Jarvis Hayes. "Phenomenal," Antawn Jamison said of Hayes's return from injury. "He's a starter on a lot of teams, pretty much every team in this league. That just lets you know how much depth we've got offensively."
2) Jamison said he was tired of saying all the right things about the team's commitment to defense. It means nothing in October, he said.
"Talk to me about defense another month or two months from now, and see where we stand," he said. "I'm not going to talk about it. We've just got to get the job done."
3) Redskins advice was hard to come by. Several players said they don't care about the Redskins. Roger Mason is a legitimate longtime fan; here's what he said when I asked what was wrong:
"Phooo, I don't know. If I knew, I guess I'd be up there somewhere. I haven't given up on Brunell yet. I think our defense can do a little bit better, but injuries happen; Springs has been hurt, both our corners. I don't know. It's disappointing. [But] I'm the biggest optimist. Look what they did last year. I mean, there's still a slight chance. Doesn't look good, but anything could happen.
4) James Lang said he doesn't like football, and Caron Butler, who grew up in Bears country in Racine, Wisconsin, said he roots for players, not teams, and then listed T.O., Michael Vick, Donovan McNabb and Peyton Manning as his favorites. Some real underdogs there. I mean, way to go out on a limb, Caron.
But then Caron--who insisted he wasn't a Packers fan--showed up later in the afternoon wearing a throwback No. 63 Packers jersey honoring "Fuzzy" Thurston, of all people.
"I don't know, but he's a legend," Butler said. "If they sell his jersey where I buy my jerseys, he's a legend."
October 26, 2006; 9:36 PM ET
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