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Dave Hopla's Legend Grows

Hop with Ed Tapscott. (Courtesy

I meant to link to this extremely well-done Dave Hopla profile by the AP's Howard Fendrich when it came out two weeks ago, but I never did. But you must read it, if for no other reason than this section:

Arenas also remembers one of Hopla's teaching tools, "Hand in Face." It's a cardboard cutout in the shape of a hand, attached to the brim of a baseball cap to mimic a defender. Arenas went home and made his own.

There's more where that came from.

"Manute Pole" is a broomstick used to simulate a tall-as-a-skyscraper opponent. "The Silent Partner" is a giant head-and-shoulders of foam used to make players work on finishing and getting the ball over a defender. Gardening gloves can help with ballhandling.

How badly would I like a Manute Pole? Very badly.

As far as Hopla's handiwork, he says he's made 1,234 and 1.065 free throws in a row, 211 college three-pointers in a row and 78 NBA three-pointers in a row. Also, he made 99.2 percent of his free throws and 92.5 percent of his threes in 2007. He also believes he could top any NBA player in a shoot-off. As for his affect on the Wiz, last year they shot 76.5 percent on free throws, this year they're at 80 percent.

Also, it should be noted, Hopla has started a blog, and he clearly understands the key lesson of the media: leech off Gilbert:

I just keep praying for Gilbert to come back healthy and better than ever. People don't realize how special this kid is. He has an unbelievable work ethic and drive. It is always a special occasion to see him in the locker room and to have him on the bench. Hopefully, I can get Gil to be a guest blogger.

There's an AP video as well (go to this link and scroll down to the bottom left), but it really doesn't do justice to the man.

By Dan Steinberg  |  January 22, 2008; 11:25 AM ET
Categories:  Wizards  
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