- Associated Press - Tuesday, September 28, 2010

FAIRFAX, Va. | Washington Wizards point guard John Wall wasn’t talking on Tuesday, the rookie shot 3-pointers instead.

After sitting through a lengthy media day on Monday and doing interviews after the Wizards‘ midnight practice early Tuesday, Wall declined to speak with the media following the team’s workout at George Mason University.

But his coaches and teammates had a lot to say about Wall’s first day on the job.

“He’s going to be a great player,” Wizards guard Kirk Hinrich said. “He’s definitely got the tools. He’s a great athlete, and it seems like he really wants to learn.”

The 20-year-old Wall may be the youngest player on the Wizards‘ roster, but he didn’t hesitate to instruct his older teammates during practice. That’s one the reasons coach Flip Saunders selected the talented Wall at No. 1.

John is one of the most serious guys, and he probably knows what we’re doing as well as anybody,” Saunders said. “When I spent time with him this summer, maybe the most impressive thing, outside of his athleticism, was his intelligence for the game.”

Saunders said Wall embodies the traits of a leader, wanting him to lead a young team and embrace the rugged conditioning drills, simple basketball fundamentals and the enjoyment of the game.

John is a well-spoken rookie. He’s aggressive and he let his voice be known,” Wizards center Andray Blatche said. “He’s a leader, he’s a point guard, and that’s what we need.”

Wall said Monday that his jumper, one of the weaker aspects of his game, “felt a whole lot better,” and he spent nearly the entire portion of practice open to the media working on his outside shot. At one point, he connected on 13 of 15 from the top of the key while working with Hinrich and Gilbert Arenas.

He also took a moment to talk with Michigan State coach Tom Izzo, who attended practice as a guest of Saunders, before returning back to the court for more shooting. At one point, one of Wall’s errant shots struck a television camera.

“See? See what rookies do? He’s breaking stuff already,” Washington guard Nick Young said.

Wall certainly will have plenty to say on and off the court in the future, as well as plenty to learn, but right now, his presence has been a lift for a Wizards team desperately in need of one.

“It’s our first day, so it’s hard to tell (everything Wall can do),” Hinrich said. “As it goes along, we’ll be able to get a better grasp of it, but he’s doing a good job.”

 

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