Wizards Open Camp, Arenas speaks
The Wizards opened training camp this morning with a 21/2 hour practice on the campus of VCU. They will be back at it tonight at 6. A few noteworthy nuggets from this morning:
-Antawn Jamison was pulled from practice after a few drills. He's experiencing some stiffness in his hip. The team is calling it a right hip flexor strain. Antawn said he's going to be fine.
-Etan Thomas made it through his first practice in good shape. He said he felt "good" afterward and experienced no issues. Thomas is wearing a pad over his chest and at one point, Brendan Haywood paused during a five-on-five scrimmage to ask Etan if he was ok after the two made contact. Etan replied that he was fine. Good to see Brendan and Etan going at it but also being cool with each other.
-Gilbert Arenas, who was fined $15,000 for not making himself available yesterday at media day, stopped and spoke today. He wore practice gear this morning and was very active in encouraging his teammates and paying attention to the coaches.
This morning Arenas gathered up the young guys (plus Juan Dixon and Caron Butler) to come over to the gym for some early shooting. It's his normal routine. Each guy had to make 300 shots. I also saw Gilbert putting time in with Taj McCullough and JaVale McGee on some the post moves he uses.
"I'm just trying to be a presence because even though you're not playing, you're still a part of the team," Arenas said. "The young guys need guidence and the vets are more focused on their thing. Somebody has to talk to the young guys and I'm available. It's easy for me to do it."
- On his timetable for coming back: "LIke the first two, as soon as I think I can play, I'm going to jump out there. Sometimes I get criticized for not looking so good while I'm playing but that's just my nature
-Each year, Coach Eddie Jordan invites a former coach or two to camp. This week, K.C. Jones, the former Bullets and Celtics coach, and Flip Saunders, the former T-Wolves and Pistons coach, are on hand.
The invitation of Saunders is particularly interestingn to me because few coaches have an understanding of the Wizards the way Saunders does because he's coached against Jordan's teams so many teams over the years. Jordan said Jones and Saunders are in every meeting and are offering input.
-The team has added a new member to the training staff. He's a rehabiliation specialist. I'll find out more about this addition and flesh it out this week.
-Tony Massenburg is on hand. He's now retired and interested in getting into coaching. As you may know, Tony and Etan Thomas have worked out during the offseason for several years.
-Jordan loved what he saw from Dee Brown today. "Dee was lightning today. That was really great to see. He talks, he's tough, he pushes, he's fast. His shot has improved dramatically and boy, he's a speed demon out there. That is pretty much something I've never had since I've been coaching here and we really welcome that kind of talent."
More later including a Jamison update.
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