On the Wizards and Midnight Madness
The Post has already blasted through its Midnight Madness Wiz coverage, with Michael Lee covering the marketing hype, Gene Wang talking the nuts and bolts, and Tracee Hamilton writing optimism. That leaves me to cover the fans, the famous and the facial hair. And so, five more notes.
If Adam Morrison makes this team, he will possibly immediately supplant DeShawn Stevenson in the "Best Facial Hair in Franchise History" category.
(Speaking of Morrison, he used the word "weird" more than anyone else Monday afternoon. I have about five minutes of Morrison audio, and I caught at least five "weirds."
"I've had a weird, weird three years....It's been weird, but I'm just thankful that I've got a chance to go to somebody's camp....It's been a weird two years as far as just getting on the court and playing consistently....I had a weird start to my career....It's just been a weird circumstance....It is. It really is. It's been different. But I'm lucky to be in the NBA right now."
Monday night, rainy, midnight, a team that hasn't won in years: Wow, that place was packed!
(That's why Wall said this: "In college, all of this would've been filled, probably moreso. But it was a good crowd that came out to support us.")
Tom Izzo was there. He's a longtime friend of Flip Saunders's, and he advises his assistants to go out and experience NBA practices, so he followed his own advice, hoping "to learn from a guy who I think is one of the best coaches in the league." He'll be with the team in meetings and practices all day on Tuesday, as well.
"This was a phenomenal crowd, it really was," he said after the event. "Nobody in the NBA has done this event before Flip. He's probably started a trend, and next year you'll probably have 20 teams doing it."
And John Wall?
"Wall has a different gear," Izzo said. "When you've got good guard play, you've always got a chance....I think they're gonna have a much, much better year."
(Izzo said more to TBD:
"I've never seen a player like him," Izzo said. "I mean, we had the Magic Man [Magic Johnson] at Michigan State. He could dish, but he didn't have that lightning quickness [that Wall has]. I'm not sure he has a ceiling.")
Yes, Izzo said he and Jim Larranaga had already discussed their 2006 NCAA tournament game on Monday.
The Gilbert Arenas fans are as loyal as any fans of any athlete in any sport. Talking to these guys just reminded me of Gil's glory years, when he had a fan base more unique than any I can remember. There were people screaming welcome back greetings at Gil throughout the night, and there were -- to my eyes -- more Agent Zero jerseys than any other in the stands.
"We love him, and he's coming back," one of these kids told me.
"People who support him don't always know how to vocalize it," another said. "But DC's got his back, and we just wanted to let him know."
"We want him back," a third said. "We want Gilbert back.
"We blew the team up. We had to shed payroll, we had to shed some of the older guys and start fresh," Ted Leonsis told Bill Rohland and Danny Rouhier as the event began. "My goal isn't just a one year flash in the pan. We want to start to build foundationally something really good, and if we can make the playoffs, terrific, but I'm more concerned with the way we play and the way we develop."
Silly Ted. The Future Is Now, doncha know?
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