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The Wizards Are Back

Busy day on the Verizon Center practice court. Caron Butler was there, with his younger brother. His wife and daughter showed up between workouts; Caron scooped up young Mia and bombarded her with about 37 kisses as she attempted to wriggle away.

"Can I get some more kisses?" he begged. "I ain't seen you all day. One more kiss?"

"Dad, let me down," Mia said.

Caron told his family all the things still left on his list for the day; more running, more weights, a thousand made jump shots. "See you in New Orleans, 2008," he joked, when he saw me listening.


If the Wizards did not exist, someone would need to invent them. (Katherine Frey - TWP)

Who else? Oh yes, DeShawn Stevenson, sporting a remarkable mohawk. "A summer look," he explained, saying he'd probably cut it off next month. "Aerodynamic," joked his private trainer, Idan Ravin. "He gets up and down the court faster."

Stevenson has two new tattoos--his daughter's face on his left arm, his sister's face on his right--plus he's had his "Taylor Made" tattoos, which pay tribute to his mother's maiden name, redone. If your mother's maiden name is Taylor, you should be legally required to get "Taylor Made" tattoos. Also, Stevenson said the modeling agency he runs with Gilbert Arenas might do some sort of reality show in England, and that he's planning on a summer vacation, post-contract.

"I'm gonna go somewhere exotic," he promised. "I don't know, somewhere, Cabo, Bahamas, somewhere crazy. I want to go to London too. I ain't never been. Might as well go when you've got money, right?"

Right. Who else, who else? Duke recruit Nolan Smith. Wizards free agent Mike Hall. First-round prospect Thaddeus Young from Georgia Tech, who was blown away by Washington traffic.

"People driving crazy out here," he said." There's some bikes in the lounge area, they were like 'That's Gilbert's bike.' I was like, 'I don't blame him.' With the traffic here, I'd buy a bike too.... I'm not riding 20 miles but I'll ride it to the gym. It saves on gas."

Who else, who else? Carmelo Anthony, who's been working out downtown much of the summer. Wake Forest big man Kyle Visser, who, it turns out, has spent much of the past two months living in Rosslyn, working out with Ravin at National Cathedral School and eating at Chipotle and Ray's the Steaks in Arlington. Visser told me that he spends many of his evenings filling out psychological tests for NBA teams. I asked for a sample question.

"If your girlfriend is mad at you, is it your fault or her fault?" he offered. "Of course it's hers," he added. Yeah, he was joking, too.

And then there's Oleksiy Pecherov, last year's first-round pick, who's been living downtown and working out at the arena with director of player development Harvey Grant. Like, constantly.

"Five hours a day," Grant told me. "Every day. Seven days a week. Some days we have to tell him, 'Hey man, just take one day off. Give us a break."

"All day," Pecherov agreed, explaining that he doesn't know anyone in D.C. and that "we have everything here, it's nice to be here."

Although he disapproves of the American-style pool table in the player's lounge. He plays Russian billiards. Something about a larger table, and smaller pockets, and larger balls. "It's too easy," he said of the player's lounge table. "That's more interesting."

And he's been reading books. Right now, he's exploring something by Brazilian author Paulo Coelho, some sort of motivational text about believing in yourself and working hard and reaching your goals. He also likes reading crime books, and "some stories about famous people, how they reached their goals." I suggested that many young men in America don't like to read books.

"I heard about this," Pecherov said. "They say, 'Why I need to read?' In Europe, everybody reads. Of course some young guys now, they've got the computers, video games, but anyway when you're in school they give you some limits how many you need to read."

(For example, I asked Kansas State's Cartier Martin, who also worked out for the Wiz yesterday, if he's been reading any books. "Actually no, man, I'm trying to get away from books since I graduated," he said. "I just kind of put the books off to the side for a while, just trying to listen to music and watch movies.")

Anyhow, Grant said he's encouraged Pecherov to get out, to go to the movies or go bowling, but that the Ukrainian is already recognized in public and so he likes to stay home and watch his own DVD's. But Pecherov has promised to take Grant to the best Russian restaurant in the world, in Vegas, during Summer League. I asked whether Grant's picked up any Russian language tips from his pupil.

"I don't want to learn any Russian," Grant said.

"He don't want to learn," Pecherov confirmed. "He's a bad student, a bad student."

But apparently Pecherov has taught a few Russian curse words to selected teammates. By the way, is it almost October?

By Dan Steinberg  |  June 25, 2007; 4:27 PM ET
Categories:  Wizards  
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Next: Gilbert and Deep Fried Oreos

Comments

Wishful thinking, re: October. Can't wait to see Pech on the court! We all appreciate these Wiz updates during the summer months, though. Be interesting to see what the Wiz do this week, draft/trade-wise.

Posted by: Mike in SD | June 25, 2007 4:50 PM | Report abuse

is it true what I heard about your tape recorder Steinz?

Posted by: littles | June 25, 2007 5:24 PM | Report abuse

Of course Cartier doesn't care for the books, his parents got his reading a damn watch.

If Kyle keeps eating at Ray's he's going to owe his agent quite a bit of money by the time he gets his first pay check.

Posted by: Unsilent Majority | June 25, 2007 6:39 PM | Report abuse

What if your mother's name is Molly?

Posted by: Rob Iola | June 25, 2007 6:45 PM | Report abuse

im callin it. Caron Butler will win the nba community assist award in june.

Posted by: Raman Ghuman | June 25, 2007 7:54 PM | Report abuse

im callin it, Caron Butler will win the nba community assist award in june.

Posted by: Raman Ghuman | June 25, 2007 7:54 PM | Report abuse

im callin it, Caron Butler will win the nba community assist award in june.

Posted by: Raman Ghuman | June 25, 2007 7:54 PM | Report abuse

Has anyone called Caron winning next year's community assist award? Because I want in on that action.

Posted by: Unsilent Majority | June 25, 2007 10:05 PM | Report abuse

The one Summer day you go to the VC you get all this!

Posted by: WGDC- | June 25, 2007 10:48 PM | Report abuse

This entry definitely called for a Stevenson mohawk picture.

Posted by: AV | June 26, 2007 8:07 AM | Report abuse

Just what Stevenson needs - more tattoos.

Posted by: Josh | June 26, 2007 9:39 AM | Report abuse

Great article. I like to hear what's going on with the fellas. Can't wait to draft and trade time. I have my ideas of what is going to go down but I can't wait to actually see what takes place. I will say this though, EG sure keeps his cards close to his vest. I don't think anyone really knows what he has up his sleeve. Keep the info coming. It is always entertaining.

Posted by: WizFan4Life | June 26, 2007 9:49 AM | Report abuse

UM wins the internet again, and i need to get busy cleaning off my monitor.

Posted by: bryc3 | June 26, 2007 9:52 AM | Report abuse

By the way, saw one of the commericals with Areans and Durant last night on ESPN. Great commercial!

Posted by: WizFan4Life | June 26, 2007 9:53 AM | Report abuse

Love that team... more Pech, more Mia, more Wizards please

Posted by: Kev | June 26, 2007 10:02 AM | Report abuse

Can we get Zach Randolph please...pleaseeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee...someone tell ernie to get rid of haywoods bum face and his twin sister ethan thomas

Posted by: jpesos | June 26, 2007 10:27 AM | Report abuse

Can we get Zach Randolph please...pleaseeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee...someone tell ernie to get rid of haywoods bum face and his twin sister ethan thomas

Posted by: jpesos | June 26, 2007 10:27 AM | Report abuse

Can we get Zach Randolph please...pleaseeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee...someone tell ernie to get rid of haywoods bum face and his twin sister ethan thomas

Posted by: jpesos | June 26, 2007 10:27 AM | Report abuse

At the Nats game on Sunday, Caron Butler was there to throw out the ceremonial first pitch. Wearing a #3 Nats jersey he stood on the BACK of the mound, wound-up and launched a two-hopper to the right of the catcher. I'm just sayin...

Posted by: Chris | June 26, 2007 10:31 AM | Report abuse

Glad to hear the Wizards are working out and having fun!!! DS, can you get the name of that Russian restaurant from Pech? It's always hard to find good Russian food in DC. Keep up with Wiz stuff and post that Arenas & Durant commerical, i've heard good things about it, and havent seen it.

Posted by: QuickwiththeCrossover | June 26, 2007 10:44 AM | Report abuse

"Can we get Zach Randolph please...pleaseeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee"

Do we really need a new head case of a big man who refuses to play defense? And it might cost us Jamison.

Posted by: Kev | June 26, 2007 11:00 AM | Report abuse

go to vegas, watch movies with pecherov, whatever it takes to keep the wiz in bogdome

Posted by: CreditZard | June 26, 2007 11:22 AM | Report abuse

wow if the wizards don't sign/draft or trade for a big name this offseason i will be highly offended

Posted by: DK | June 27, 2007 6:39 AM | Report abuse

The comments to this entry are closed.

 
 
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