Draft status is motivation for McGuire

As the Washington Wizards kicked off their first day of practices yesterday at Verizon Center in preparation for the 2007 NBA Summer League next week in Las Vegas, Dominic McGuire caught the attention of coach Eddie Jordan.

“I’m looking at him and I’m saying, ‘This guy is a second-round pick,’ ” Jordan said of McGuire, a 6-foot-8 forward whom the Wizards selected with the 47th pick of last month’s draft. “I’m going to have to treat our scouts to a milkshake.”

McGuire, who left Fresno State after his junior season, has shown up at camp with a bit of a chip on his shoulder.

Before the draft, McGuire — an All-Western Athletic Conference second-team selection who averaged 13.5 points, 9.8 rebounds and 3.6 blocks (fifth in the nation) last year — had hopes that he would squeeze into the first round.

However, when he dropped to the second round the critics swooped. Local columnists said that he had blown it — that had he stayed another season he would be a shoo-in for the first round and the guaranteed money that comes with such prestige.

Now he and his agent will have to work out a deal with the Wizards. In the meantime, McGuire is happy that he landed in Washington, especially since he thought he might have blown his chances of being drafted by them when an ankle injury forced him to miss his predraft workout with the club.

“Oh, I’m not mad that I ended up here in the second round,” McGuire said. “But I’m going to take it personally that I ended up in the second round and I fell so far. Everything happens for a reason and you use it as motivation.”

McGuire won’t have to look too far to find a kindred spirit. Three-time All-Star Gilbert Arenas repeatedly has used falling to the second round of the 2001 draft as a means for motivation.

“I’m definitely going to talk to Gilbert about that,” McGuire said. “I know all about his story.”

While McGuire’s collegiate story came to an end at Fresno, it began at Cal. Not happy after averaging 7.2 points and 4.9 rebounds for the Golden Bears, McGuire transferred to Fresno after his freshman season.

After sitting out the following season, McGuire made use of his one season at Fresno, setting the single-season record for blocks (114) and recording 15 double-doubles and two triple-doubles.

That earned him spots on the conference’s all-newcomer and all-defensive teams.

However, it did not clear up some of the question marks scouts had about him. McGuire lacks range on his jump shot and has had his troubles at the free-throw line.

McGuire knows the Wizards didn’t draft him thinking about those attributes.

“This team has got enough scorers,” McGuire said. “I like to play defense and I can guard the one through the four. I know that’s going to be my role. … They’ve got enough scorers so they don’t need me to come in here and do that.”

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