Wittman ready to go camping with Wizards

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Cheers and Jeers,Sports,NBA,Wizards,Craig Stouffer

With all but two spots on the Wizards' roster filled for next season, coach Randy Wittman briefly turned his attention to children at a Wizards summer camp on Wednesday at Fairfax High.

Not too far down the road -- literally and figuratively since it likely will be at George Mason beginning in late September -- Wittman is anxious to run his own Wizards training camp for the first time.

"It's going to be competitive," Wittman said. "With our youth and the development that still needs to be done, that's how you accelerate it. When you're going against someone every day that is going to push you, that's going to make you better."

In part, Wittman was referring to the addition of A.J. Price as a third point guard. But there's also a battle at shooting guard, where Jordan Crawford is relishing the chance to go toe-to-toe with third overall draft pick Bradley Beal.

"I know Jordan right now and who he is," Wittman said. "Working with Bradley this summer has been good, having an understanding. You've got to earn things. I'm a firm believer in that. ... Guys that are going to start, guys that are going to play are going to earn that."

In contrast, Wittman offered no regrets to the team's decision to part ways with Andray Blatche via amnesty.

"It didn't work out here," Wittman said, preferring not to rehash the ups and downs of Blatche's tenure in Washington. "... What happened is what we had to do in trying to move forward in the direction that we're trying to make this team into. I hope and wish the best for 'Dray. Maybe this can be the best thing for him in turning his career back around and being the player that we all think he can be."

Without distractions and with intense focus on the tough early part of the regular-season schedule, Wittman is ready to seize the opportunity to take the next step with a franchise that ended last season on a six-game winning streak.

"You always want to believe in the playoffs," he said. "Absolutely. I think you're always striving for that. ... We've got to be ready for a good start to build and keep that momentum that we have."

- Craig Stouffer

cstouffer@washingtonexaminer.com

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