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Flip Saunders praises Rod Strickland

(2000 photo by Rich Lipski - TWP)

Hearing the name "Rod Strickland" has been known to cause uncontrollable twitching and bright pink itchy spots for a certain segment of Wizards fans. Hearing Flip Saunders praise Strickland for assisting in John Wall's development? Well, I guess it's better than learning that Michael Ruffin is teaching Wall clock management skills.

Saunders was on the Jim Rome Show this week, and his praise of Wall led directly into praise of Strickland.

"I think he's one of the most unique point guards to come out in a while," Saunders said of Wall. "Most of the time, your extremely athletic point guards are creative guards and like to create a lot for themselves. Where looking at a lot of John's tapes and watching a lot of his games, he's very instinctive, and he looks to set other people up.

"Maybe in going to Kentucky and them having such an unbelievable recruiting class and having all that talent, he went in there with the idea almost to keep everybody happy if that's what he needed to do, but I think that helped his progression as a point guard. And I think there's no question that being under John Calipari, who's coached in our league, helped him a little bit. And then also having Rod Strickland there. Rod Strickland played so many years in our league and has such a great understanding of what it takes to be a solid point guard. I think those are the things that helped him."

This caused Rome to praise Strickland extensively, and Saunders then followed suit.

"He was unbelievable," Saunders said. "He was unbelievable. Had great ability to get in the paint and make plays for other people. I said him and Sam Cassell - and I coached both of them - are probably maybe two of the best post-up players around the basket, having the ability to score around the basket and post up guards.

"And so I think you're right, I do think that Rod was one of those guys that was misunderstood at times, and that really people did not understand how good he really was, didn't understand really mentally how smart he was. But I think he's had a great impact as far as him going and working with Cal both at Memphis and Kentucky, as far as helping them develop. And you look at the point guards that have come out of Cal's programs, and Rod's had a lot to do with working with those people."

Saunders was asked yet again how Wall would co-exist with Gilbert Arenas, and yet again the coach said that the prospect would be able to make it work.

"He's so good and so dynamic," Saunders said. "And anyone that knows my teams and how I've played and what I've done, my point guards have had great success, because I always have given guys the ball and let them make decisions. Gilbert's a guy that has been a great scorer in this league, and at times has played better off the ball. I think there's no question, if the decision is made that we take John Wall, he is gonna have the ball in his hands."

Saunders yet again declined to say who the Wizards were taking, or even whether they had made up their minds, saying only that "either Evan [Turner] or John, both those guys are gonna be great NBA-type players."

(Also, Michael Lee tweets that Wall is expected to meet with Reebok reps this week about a possible shoe deal.)

By Dan Steinberg  |  June 3, 2010; 10:22 PM ET
Categories:  Media , Wizards  
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Flip should hire Rod as an Asst. Coach. His only duty should be to keep John Wall in the gym and out of trouble.

Posted by: Predator48 | June 4, 2010 8:07 AM | Report abuse

just as long as Rod stays away from the pre-game hot dogs...

Posted by: dcunitedfan3 | June 4, 2010 9:30 AM | Report abuse

Check out the John Wall and Obama Comic Strip at


Posted by: gymbrats9 | June 4, 2010 9:41 AM | Report abuse

Check out the John Wall and Obama Comic Strip at


Posted by: gymbrats9 | June 4, 2010 9:42 AM | Report abuse

Check out the John Wall and Obama Comic Strip at


Posted by: gymbrats9 | June 4, 2010 9:42 AM | Report abuse

I loved Rod. Nobody could finish a layup better. And he was tough as nails. I must admit, vommiting your hot-dog into a towel was a strange pre-game ritual. Bring him back!

Posted by: G-man2 | June 4, 2010 2:37 PM | Report abuse

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