- The Washington Times - Friday, October 5, 2001

WILMINGTON, N.C. If the Washington Wizards' season started today, rookie center Brendan Haywood would be in the starting lineup ahead of Jahidi White.

"Right now he's stepped forward as our top center," coach Doug Collins said following the team's evening practice last night. "He runs the floor well; he's very long. He can extend and block shots. He's a post presence."

Collins' statement came as somewhat of a surprise, considering that most observers assumed White, who has been the team's starting center for the better part of the last two years, probably would fill that role again. However, Haywood has impressed Collins enough so far to make him consider bringing White off the bench.

Collins also acknowledged that Chris Whitney was not etched in stone as the starting point guard. Collins said that Whitney and Tyronn Lue, a free-agent pickup from the defending champion Los Angeles Lakers, are "neck and neck right now."

NOTE The Wizards made their first roster move last night, cutting free-agent center Thomas Hamilton. Hamilton, at 7-foot-2 and 330 pounds, was the biggest player in camp.

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