Trevor Booker is a man of few words on most occasions. At the end of the Wizards’ third training camp practice in 36 hours on Wednesday, he could offer only one when asked how he felt.
After hitting the court for a fourth time on Wednesday evening, the Wizards will get the midday off on Thursday before reconvening again.
Reporters were allowed to watch the final drill of Wednesday’s first session, something called “4:15,” named for the time set on the clock. With three lines of players weaving back and forth up and down the court and launching shots at both ends, the goal was 110 makes before time expired. The Wizards fell a couple short, but Martell Webster said that misses the point.
“With that 4:15 drill, the young guys don’t understand,” he said. “It’s not about getting 110. It’s about pushing your body. You’re going to have to red line. Without red lining you’re not really getting in shape. It’s about getting in shape because this team, we’re young. The oldest guy on this team, [Jannero] Pargo, is 32. We’ve got a young team so we need to run and that’s what that drill is teaching us, to keep the legs moving.”
It may come as no surprise that Webster, despite having just arrived in Washington, is already regarded as one of the best quotes on the team, a player who has far more to say, or at least uses far more words to say what he thinks. Believe you me, this is no shot at Booker. Less is perfectly capable of being more.
*Wizard coach Randy Wittman, who lauded his team for being in shape on Day 1, complimented the team for making progress on Day 2.
“Carryover is the biggest thing in these camps,” Wittman said, “from your defensive philosophy and new things we’re doing offensively, a lot of the stuff that I’m doing here early is all new to all our guys, even the guys that we were with me last year, because there were things that I wanted to integrate into this team that I wasn’t able to last year. I’m starting off with all of that right now early. The carryover of learning in one day and then proceeding to add to it has been good.”
Wittman also was full of individual superlatives, first for Jordan Crawford: “I’ll tell you about Jordan. It’s his three best practices I’ve ever seen him have. Is it maturity, is it growing up a little bit, it’s the three best in a row that I’ve ever seen him have. That’s a testament to him. I think he probably had one of the better summers probably than anybody on the team, in terms of his growth and understanding of me and things he’s going to have to do to take that next step. We did a lot of that talking, and I’ve seen the result of that. He’s doing a lot of the walking now out on the floor and showing me that.”
Next, for Shelvin Mack in response to a question about new point guards Pargo and A.J. Price:
“Like I’ve said, they’ve got to be an extension of me, and they’ve got to get an understanding of what I want. I think they’re starting to get that. Things right now have been more concentrated defensively than offensively so that’s a part that I’ll have to see exactly where they’re at and where their comfort level is. I thought Shelvin yesterday had as good a two days of practice as I’ve seen. That’s positive. Being a rookie last year was a lot of things that was new to him and eye openers to him. I think I saw yesterday’s first two practices a good growth there.”
*A few of the players were asked about ESPN’s 30for30 documentary, “Broke,” which aired on Tuesday night and revealed the all-too-often financial troubles of professional athletes.
“It’s a show that every athlete should watch,” Booker said. “I didn’t know that many people go broke after [that little time]. I’m tight with my money, though, so I don’t have to worry about it.”
Booker’s biggest lesson?
“Most people have to watch their circle. People around them can bring them down. That’s the biggest thing. Also, learn how to say no.”
Emeka Okafor had a more positive spin.
“I can only speak for basketball players, but I think the newer crop of basketball players have heard the horror stories. There are a couple of guys who aren’t the wisest with their money, but for the most part, you’re not going to find guys with five high-end cars. Me, I bought myself one car that I’ve used for nine years. Guys are, in general, not trying to hit home runs with their investments and [are good] at wealth conservation, managing it properly. You could just live a very good life not trying to just go crazy.
“I would like to think NBA players are ahead of the curve. The NBA does a really good job of doing NBA player-person development. This will be Year 9 for me, and I’m still required to go to the meeting every single year. No matter how many years, [I go and I hear them say,] ‘Hey guys, this is how you manage your money. This is what you have to do.’ They do that from rookie transition, and they bring guys in who tell you, ‘Hey, watch out. It could happen to you.’ And then you learn that it’s very easy for it to happen. Part of the problem of going broke is thinking you can spend it all. Number one, you don’t take taxes into consideration. That’s half [your money]. And then, if you not watching your pennies, things get out of hand quickly. If you think you can buy anything, you’re left with nothing quickly. They pretty much hammer that message home.”
*Chris Singleton dispelled any notion that the Wizards are secluded on the George Mason campus in Fairfax.
“This is away from everything? We’re 15 minutes away….If you know people, you can get out of here. He’s given us freedom, but we eat together, train together, it’s good. The chemistry is a lot better than last year. Everybody loves it.”
He also said while he didn’t really get hazed last year, only getting asked to carry bags, he was looking forward to seeing what happens to Bradley Beal.
“He’s by himself, man.”