After the second day of camp and the third practice overall, it seems like the chemistry of the Washington Wizards is starting to kick in. Player conditioning and personal willpower are put to the test and the days will get more tiring and difficult as camp season progresses.
Being there I noticed the guys seem very serious as you will read in the quotes below. One particular individual that blew me away was Martell Webster. He is great with the media and not a head case (see JaVale McGee). He said one word that stuck out to me: heart. He talked about slides and doing defensive drills, mentioning that anyone can do them but the question is: will they when the game is on the line? The solution to that problem according to Webster is heart. If you have heart, then it can be done. Martell also mentioned how he watched Wizards games last year and noticed their blown leads , blaming it on a lack of experience.
This team finally has more experience.
Other pointers from today’s morning practices:
- Booker is continuing to work on that shot. Look for him and rest of the big men to get better with their jump shots.
- Trevor Ariza will be a great fit - especially on the defensive side of things, which should complement well with the presence of Chris Singleton.
- Speaking of Singleton, the soft spoken one was told to be aggressive and he plans on being just that. Could we be looking for Chris Singleton to finally break out? Possibly!
- I saw Cartier Martin hit 6 jump shots in a row while I was interviewing Coach Randy Wittman. The man has a sweet shot and there is no doubt about that. Martin has grown out his hair, and semi-resembles Chief Keef (a rapper. Google him)
Quotes from Training Camp:
Coach Randy Wittman:
On training camp being at George Mason:
“I’m old school, we lived in dorms back in those days, we didn’t have hotels like they do now. ….You’re gone for most of the summer, on top of that, we have new faces here and gives chances to guys to get to know each other….I always like it, coming here works out, it’s not like we have to get on the airplane or drive 3 hours.”
On Trevor Booker:
“His energy level is contagious, when you are playing out there with him. … Having guys like that is always good.”
On Bookers improvement:
“Continue to grow; I thought he made some strides, before his inury. He has to continue to be consisting in 15 foot jump shots. All of our bigs need to continue to do that….those guys will get the shots.”
On Okafor and Ariza:
“They brought us a kind of stability, defensively with their experience. They are probably our 2 best communicators. That is another thing that is contagious. “
On impressions of the Wizards:
“We got a more experience group, that’s better off the bat….it will take us far.”
On the presence of Okafor and change of the team:
“They bring experience and knowledge, they can pass, they're big strong guys who we need down in that post. They are bangers and I love playing with bangers.”
On the 15 foot jump shot:
“I worked on it most of the summer. That’s pretty much what I’ve been working on.”
On the tone of training camp:
“My rookie year, we had so many young people, it was a little bit more joking around. This training camp is more serious. I think this can take us a long way.”
On ESPN's 30 for 30 “Broke” episode:
“I watched it last night; it’s definitely a show every athlete should watch. I did not know that many people go broke after [their careers]. I mean, I’m tight with my money, I don’t have to worry about it.”
On the importance of a good start:
“Having a good start is very important; right now it’s just about getting my basketball senses back.”
On training camp:
“This training camp is about teaching, teaching the young guys what is around the corner; let them know how to get through camp, fixing certain little mistakes that I see.”
On what has impressed him thus far:
“Everybody is just ready, first new days of school. Everybody is excited. As practices go, more 5 on 5 and preseason.”
Difference between styles of play (from New Orleans):
“Two different teams. This team is defensive oriented. This team is a young team.”
Addressing a young team:
“Slowing down, and knowing what’s what. Offensively is really slowing down and getting the most out of your plays, defense, slowing down, relying on one another (along with) communication.”
Best quote of the night:
“Time is the best teacher.”
On ESPN's 30 for 30 “Broke” episode:
“I did [watch it]….I mean….it’s sad stories…..yeah…sad stories.”
Lessons of young players:
“Newer crop of basketball players have horror stories, couple of guys aren’t the wisest but you won’t nearly find, I mean you will find some guys but you won’t find guys buying 5 cars, I only bought one car.”
On giving himself a 'D' grade:
“Just be more aggressive and go back to what got me here: defense.”
On the effort:
“Getting better on the little things, the little things can have a tremendous outcome in the game. Making the extra rotation, the extra pass, staying down and sliding, one more step. That’s what is most important for me. Everybody knows I can shoot, that is a given. I’m going to work on that night in and night out but doing the things when coming into the league not been able to do, working on those things and continuing to get better.”
On going the extra mile:
“You don’t practice that, that’s heart. I’ve seen a lot of guys work on defensive slides and position. End of the day you gotta still get down and do it. The thing is doing it. It’s easy to do it when youre fresh, slide all day. Four quarters and you got to play 36 minutes running up and down, now get down to defensive slides and slide for 24 seconds. That takes heart.”
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