- The Washington Times - Monday, December 5, 2005

Jarvis Hayes wasn’t too pleased with the way he played in the Washington Wizards’ loss to the Milwaukee Bucks on Friday.

Few players would be after going scoreless in 20 minutes.

“I haven’t really found a rhythm all season,” said Hayes, who is eager to get back on the court tonight when the Wizards play host to the Toronto Raptors. “The key right now with all of us is that we don’t want to force things because we’re going through this period where we have to learn each other.”

With six new players on the roster, the Wizards have lost seven of their last nine games, but coach Eddie Jordan isn’t panicking about that or the play of his shooting guard.

The 6-foot-7 Hayes was inserted into the starting lineup six games ago and has struggled. Since replacing Antonio Daniels, Hayes has shot 37.5 percent from the field and averaged 7.8 points. That’s less than his season averages in both categories; in 15 games overall, Hayes is shooting 40.9 percent from the floor and averaging 8.6 points.

Those are not ideal numbers for the third-year guard, but Jordan — as he has with other struggling players this season — said Hayes will be OK.

“He’s not shooting the ball well, but Jarvis is contributing in other ways that don’t show up in the stats,” Jordan said. “We always like for him to score — we want all of our guys to score more — but he does everything the way we want him to do as far as running the offense, playing good defense and rebounding.”

It is not lost on Hayes that the Wizards need to replace the scoring lost after the departure of Larry Hughes to Cleveland via free agency. The Wizards have gotten a boost from Caron Butler, whom they acquired from the Los Angeles Lakers for Kwame Brown, but Hayes knows the Wizards are expecting him to contribute offensively as well.

One thing Jordan doesn’t want his players to do as they become more acclimated to each other is to grow apprehensive in their approach.

“I absolutely want him to stay aggressive,” Jordan said. “That is the way we play on this level. You have to bring your skills and athleticism to the floor. You have to be aggressive.”

Notes — Peter John Ramos is playing well for the Roanoke Dazzle in the National Basketball Developmental League. Ramos, a 7-3 center taken in the second round of the 2004 draft, has put up four consecutive double-doubles. Ramos scored 21 points and grabbed 11 rebounds in a 113-109 loss to Florida on Saturday. He also blocked three shots.