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.
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