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Wizards Sunday: Connect Four, the Sens and the Diner

Yesterday was the DTLR Caron Butler Basketball Classic, a six-team showcase that had the incredible advantage of being held at Coolidge High School, a few blocks from my house. I went with the expectation that I'd chat briefly with Caron Butler about this season and then leave; instead, I sat and watched as Nick Young, JaVale McGee, Antawn Jamison, DeShawn Stevenson, Charlie Bell and DaJuan Summers, along with scores of other Wizards coaches and employees, sat in a DCIAA gym and watched high school hoops.

The Wizards, as you may have heard, remain bafflingly bad on the court, but if you want to go to a high school gym and pick up a quick blog item or seven, they still bring it more than any team in D.C. Things I learned:

1) Nick Young's mom got him Connect Four for Christmas. He's taken a shine to it, as have teammates ranging from Gilbert Arenas to Dominic McGuire to Andray Blatche.

"I bring it on the team plane," Nick told me. "When I brought it on the plane, everybody was playing, like little kids. I was beating Gil. I got kind of good and beat him like five straight, but he won't admit it."

Young said he also has checkers, Monopoly, and several other parlor games laying around his house.

2) Javale McGee showed up wearing this incredible old Washington Senators hat, with the sticker still on and a significantly decorated brim. See above. I asked him whether this connoted a deep and abiding love of the D.C. metropolitan area.

"I just like the hat," he said.

"He bought it for George W," Young added, as McGee hit him.

3) I got a text live from the Wizards locker room on Saturday night, which went like this: "DeShawn's chair is filled w candy!" So I asked Stevenson what that was all about. He said he frequently goes and buys $30 worth of candy at a time, so he's set for game day; everything from Reese's to Snickers to Gummy Bears to Laffy Taffy.

"I always eat candy before the game," he noted. "It gives you a rush, like Red Bull."

4) During a pause in the action I caught Nick Young playing BrickBreaker, the fiendishly addictive BlackBerry game that has caused Washington Post productivity to dip by 17 percent over the past year. Nick said he's just picking up the game. His high score was 8,410. I showed him mine, which is 27,800. It might have been the proudest moment of my life.

5) DeShawn showed up in his '80s garb. Yes, his pledge to keep his in-game wardrobe all of the 1980s apparently extends to off days at Coolidge High as well. That's gonna deserve its own post, but let me here note that his normal key chain has a little Winnie the Pooh figuring attached. "They used to call me 'Pooh' when I was little," he explained.

6) With all the hubbub over Barack Obama visiting Ben's Chili Bowl, I asked the gathered Wizards whether they've made the trek themselves. Young had heard of it, but wasn't sure where it was. DeShawn and JaVale had heard of Ben's. Caron Butler knew that Obama had gone there and watched it on the news, but had never been himself. That left Jamison. Thank heavens, he came through.

"I did an event there on Martin Luther King Day two years ago," Jamison said. "I had a hot dog and chili. All the history there, it's crazy, Bill Cosby and everything. I like Ben's Chili Bowl, and I like the Diner in Adams-Morgan. I go there for breakfast all the time. Mainly before the season, on Sundays, when they've got the games on."

7) The Wizards' camera crew asked Nick Young whether the event reminded him of being in high school. "Oh yeah," he said, "but I had the Lakers coming to my games."

8) Concerning the fine attendance from his teammates, "You know, it's a family affair," Caron said. "They're showing a lot of support. Even though we're going through a lot of adversity right now, there's still a lot of love and support, so it's family."

9) You really haven't lived until you've seen two NBA players trying to figure out the right change they're supposed to receive after buying their candy at a high school basketball game concession stand.

By Dan Steinberg  |  January 12, 2009; 11:20 AM ET
Categories:  Wizards  
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Next: When Athletes Go Out: Cooley and Caron Advice


Damn....I thought my previous Brick-Breaker high of 21K was good....guess I need to take more visits to the turlet, my favorite venue in which to play during the day.

Posted by: truthaboutit | January 12, 2009 12:01 PM | Report abuse

My high score for BB is like 8400.


Posted by: StetSportsBlog | January 12, 2009 1:15 PM | Report abuse

Nick Young shouldn't tell the world to piss off.

Posted by: Section117 | January 12, 2009 2:46 PM | Report abuse

Not to brag, but my BB high score is 1,012,790. Okay, that was to brag.

Posted by: MaxWass | January 12, 2009 4:38 PM | Report abuse

Awesome post.

We need more bog wizards coverage to help us fans forget the on the court season we're having right now...

Posted by: yukiwith2us | January 12, 2009 4:44 PM | Report abuse

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