Originally posted on Project Spurs  |  Last updated 11/18/13
AT&T CENTER - Prior to last Wednesday’s game against the San Antonio Spurs, Washington Wizards center Nene found himself singing the praises of a player he was about to matchup with and defend. It’s not every day you get to play against a longtime teammate, and Nene, even with the game just over an hour away was talking like a proud big brother about Spurs forward and fellow countryman Tiago Splitter Asked about playing against Splitter that night, instead of the normal testosterone-laced, competitive pregame fair you may come to expect, especially from a relative giant in the 6-11 Nene, instead he used the word “great” to describe the upcoming grudge match against the player that flanks him most summers in international play. “It's great. He's a great player, very smart,” Nene said. “We grew up together you know playing in the national team so we have a good relationship.” While Nene is only three years older than Splitter, he made the transition to the NBA eight years earlier than Splitter, becoming the first Brazilian to be selected in the first round of the NBA Draft. But according to Nene, he didn’t have to impart much wisdom on his compatriot when transitioning from Europe to the NBA. “He always was very smart with his decisions. I didn't do much, give a lot of advice, but the only thing I remember when he came to the league, European to the NBA was a little different,” Nene said. “I thought he deserved to be here, he was very talented enough to be here and he just needed to pace himself. He's having a great season.” After re-signing with the Spurs over the summer, Splitter is currently averaging 7.8 points and 7.4 rebounds in just over 22 minutes per game. After Wednesday night’s game, it appeared Splitter got the best of Nene by finishing with 12 points, nine rebounds and one blocked shot to Nene’s four points and two rebounds. “He's always a hard worker, he’s a hard worker with a lot of energy,” Nene said. “He has skills in the post and he feels more free, more comfortable.” While Nene may be more friend and even fan than foe of Splitter, when it came to watching the NBA Finals, it was clear he was focused on the present and what was right in front of him. “Yea, everybody saw that,” he said. “Right now I need to be thinking beat Spurs not to cheer for the Spurs.” But before throwing on his jersey and lacing up his sneakers, Nene had one more bit of praise for the person standing next to Splitter in the paint. Nene worked out with Splitter and Tim Duncan during the NBA lockout, which he said was a pleasure, but as far as what Duncan is doing at his age, Nene only had one word. “He’s amazing, there’s not much to say than amazing.”
MORE FROM YARDBARKER:
Best athlete by state all time
GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Wade Phillips blasts report claiming he divided locker room

Bell's tweet about Patriots from 2013 brings some laughs

Barbara Bush told doctors to get her out of hospital before SB

James Harrison on retirement: ‘I’m not done’

Olivia Munn thanks supporters of Aaron Rodgers, slams his family

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Le’Veon Bell hid groin injury from Steelers ‘for weeks’?

Tom Brady claims ‘no animosity’ towards Roger Goodell

Steve Kerr cracks 'alternative facts' joke to embellish playing career

Yordano Ventura killed in car accident

Falcons benefit from questionable call after turnover

Report: Tomlin, Steelers fined Antonio Brown $10,000

The week in NFL news as explained by Outkast

Best of Yardbarker: Roger Goodell does what we all expected him to do

Eat, Drink, Watch for Jan. 20-22, 2017: Dips, rye, football and Death Race 2050

Box Score 1/20: 37 years ago today, Carter said no to Moscow

NFC & AFC Championship preview: We love scoring

Roger Goodell is a coward, but then we knew that

TailGreater: Picking the conference champions by their signature cocktails

The 10 best sports docs available for streaming

Ranking the top three conferences in college basketball

The NFC Championship’s two most important players

Eight bold predictions for second half of NBA season

Box Score 1/19: Happy anniversary to the 'Tuck Rule' game

NBA News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
the YARDBARKER app
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

The week in NFL news as explained by Outkast

QUIZ: Name every prominent quarterback in the history of the New England Patriots

Best of Yardbarker: Roger Goodell does what we all expected him to do

Eat, Drink, Watch for Jan. 20-22, 2017: Dips, rye, football and Death Race 2050

QUIZ: Name the owners of these 50 famous NFL nicknames

NFC & AFC Championship preview: We love scoring

Roger Goodell is a coward, but then we knew that

The 10 best sports docs available for streaming

TailGreater: Picking the conference champions by their signature cocktails

The 'What's a Romo worth these days anyway?' quiz

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Help
Follow Yardbarker