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Why Andray Blatche Changed Jersey Numbers

Andray Blatche came out for his first Summer League game last night wearing No. 7, instead of his customary No. 32. He said the switch is permanent, and that he'll wear No. 7 all season. So, why 7?

"We've got a new coaching staff, we changed a lot, so it's time for me to change my whole style, my whole mentality," he said. "I'm wearing 7, and that means 7 days [a week] of hard work, 7 days of being focused. "I'm all about business, and I've got a big opportunity I'm gonna take advantage of."

After a conversation with DeShawn Stevenson, Blatche decided he would change numbers midway through last season, sometime after Eddie Jordan was fired as coach. He has worn mostly high numbers in his career--40, 44, 32 and 34--but said he came up with "7" to show his newfound dedication to the game.

And some Wizards fans will be skeptical about this, since we've heard similar declarations from Blatche in the past, but for now, the people in his corner are saying all the right things.

"One thing that he's done is he's had a very, very good spring and summer," Coach Flip Saunders said. "I told him, the one thing that's preventing him from being a great player is just making sure he gets in phenomenal shape."

I pointed out that Blatche's return trip to Vegas was somewhat unusual; of the 21 rosters distributed by the League, only 14 players have as many years as NBA experience as does Blatche.

"But I think it shows a little bit that he has a newfound commitment as far as what he's trying to accomplish. I think that's a positive," Saunders said. "He's not a 19 year old player any more. You learn through things."

Saunders suggested that coming to Vegas was largely about getting and staying in shape for Blatche, and the forward agreed.

"I use this as conditioning," he said. "This will give me an early head start for conditioning. I mean, I'm not trying to come out here and just go off like Nick did, I'm just trying to use this for conditioning and learn the offense, just try to get an early start."

Again, we'll see what happens in October. But if you have a 32 Blatche jersey, it might be time to make another purchase.

In other news, Saunders confirmed that the team will switch up its Summer League head coach through the week. Randy Wittman will again coach the team tonight, assistant Don Zierden will coach the team on Friday and Saturday, and Sam Cassell will be in charge Sunday afternoon against the Knicks.

By Dan Steinberg  |  July 15, 2009; 3:24 PM ET
Categories:  Wizards  
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Comments

Chalk me up as skeptical. Yep, Andray is really gonna break out this...(yawn)...year.

I'd love to be wrong. Let's hope his jersey number doesn't come to stand for his minutes per game this season.

Posted by: RIP-21 | July 15, 2009 3:38 PM | Report abuse

7...the number of nights Andray goes clubbing a week!

Posted by: HogsHaven | July 15, 2009 4:23 PM | Report abuse

I hope that during the game Cassell coaches the Wizards' players do the Cassell testicle dance after every made basket. And free throw.

Posted by: disgruntledfan | July 15, 2009 4:54 PM | Report abuse

I hope that Andray get it together and get in shape and lift some weights and play hard in the post and get some rebound. lot of ands here. just hope he gets way way better than he been

Posted by: lostdogrwd1011 | July 15, 2009 5:03 PM | Report abuse

Just posted my positive Nick comment, and now my positive Andray comment. There should be no other feeling than positive on the reports from the coach and the quotes from Andray on his work this year. Every young person finds their stride at different times and different ways. Will Andray average a double double? Not necessarily. But this will me a great season. When he can be called on to play out mismatches in his favor rather than trying to fill the role of other injured players in a disasterous season, he can be a monster. With the bold attitude and a great coach to encourage as well as properly use Andray, my money is on a fantastic year.

Posted by: ragtop4spd | July 15, 2009 6:00 PM | Report abuse

Andray sure is getting my hopes up! Really love that he's saying all this stuff, he seems to want to be an impact player this year for the Wiz. Let's see if it's true, if he'll take this year more seriously and be a more consistent player. Actions speak louder than words.

Posted by: rachel216 | July 15, 2009 7:32 PM | Report abuse

7=7 days a week....
how about 24 (hours are day....)
he might be focused daily, but what about the clubbn....

Posted by: bszdnva | July 15, 2009 7:54 PM | Report abuse

can we all stop pretending that AB is the only pro athlete that goes out clubbing frequently? I cannot count how many others are out whenever i am.

also, if you see him out 7 nights a week then you're either stalking the man or out in the same places.....nice double standard.

ragtop4spd i gotta say i agree with your comment. obviously a big AB fan myself...

Posted by: mallorygrauer | July 15, 2009 8:32 PM | Report abuse

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