Wizards begin draft workouts

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Florida point guard Taurean Green, owner of two national championship rings, said yesterday he is glad his old coach, Billy Donovan, won’t be coaching him — or coaching against him — any time soon.

“He made the right decision and I’m happy he’s back in Gainesville,” said Green, one of four players the Washington Wizards brought in yesterday on the team’s first day of pre-draft workouts. “And I’m sure that the people of Gainesville are happy to have him back. To me, he’s the best coach in college basketball.”

Last week Donovan asked out of a contract he signed with the Orlando Magic, which was worth a reported $27.5 million over five years.

The Magic granted his wish and Donovan was quickly rewarded with a huge deal from the Gators that will pay him $3.5 million annually during the next six years.

Green feels his coach made a good decision.

“He’s a natural fit as a college coach,” Green said. “Like I said, I think he’s the best college coach out there.”

Green was joined by guard Jared Jordan (Marist) and big men Larry Turner (Tennessee State) and Jason Smith (Colorado State). Of the four, Smith is generally recognized as the player with the greatest chance of being drafted in the first round.

Players invited to work out today include Derrick Byars (Vanderbilt), Javaris Crittenton (Georgia Tech), Nick Young (Southern Cal), Sun Yue (China), Carl Elliott (George Washington), Jamon Gordon (Virginia Tech), Josh McRoberts (Duke) and Anthony Tolliver (Creighton).

Wizards president of basketball operations Ernie Grunfeld saw some of the workouts, conducted on the practice court at Verizon Center, but did not comment.

Smith said the workout was tough but added he felt confident he made a good impression.

“It was a grueling workout, but it lets them know that we are in great shape and in great condition for this great time in our lives,” Smith said.

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