Abe Hits Camp
First, some housekeeping issues from the day's first practice: Darius Songaila (pinched nerve in back) missed practice again this morning and will continue to be out until he gets better. Caron Butler suited up and practiced and hurting his left foot at the end of practice yesterday. Jarvis Hayes and DeShawn Stevenson continue to look good on their surgically repaired knees. Jarvis is hyped up about his Georgia Bulldogs playing Tennessee Saturday. He thinks they have a shot if they force some turnovers and don't make mistakes. "We can't turn the ball over. Our defense is tough and I like our special teams."
Other players believe Jarvis secretly covets a career as an NFL quarterback. "That's what he really wants to be doing," Antawn Jamison said. "He's always bringing a football to practice. He think he's Joe Montana or something." Hayes does throw a nice spiral - even with a basketball. Perhaps Eddie should keep that in mind if they ever need to execute a Duke-like last-second play in a big game.
After practice, Jordan talked about his playing rotation. So far, he's pretty much rotated two squads. The first consists of Gilbert Arenas and Stevenson at guard, Caron and Antawn at forward and either Brendan or Etan at center. The second has Antonio Daniels with Hayes at guard, Andray Blatche and Michael Ruffin at forward and either Brendan or Etan. The center spot remains wide open as Jordan has not and will not name a starter for the time being. John Mitchell of the Times and myself asked Gilbert, a.k.a the Puzzler/Agent 0/The Silent Assassin for his opinion on the center situation. Gilbert, for once, took the diplomatic route: "We should start whoever wants to play defense and grab rebounds. That's my answer."
Abe Pollin came to practice and watched from a courtside seat while sitting next to Ernie Grunfeld. Abe, who gave Ernie a four-year extension (the new deal kicks in after the 2008 season so Ernie is here for at least six more years) yesterday, is fired up about his team. He likes Stevenson and Songaila, likes the team's overall depth and believes the experts are sleeping on his squad. Abe also praised Wizards fans, saying he wants to bring them a championship as a reward for their patience.
"Washington is a basketball town," Pollin explained. "If this team starts performing like it's capable of performing, this town is going to go nuts. It's going to go wild. This town is basketball town. If we prove that we can do it, the city is going to go bonkers. And we are going to do it."
Pollin also said he has no intentions of selling the team anytime soon. At least not until he wins another championship. "I'm not in it for the money, I'm in it for the championship. When we win the championship and I said: "when", then maybe I'll think about selling the team but no, I'm not doing it."
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