- Associated Press - Thursday, September 30, 2010

WILMINGTON, N.C. (AP) - It wasn’t even a year and a half ago that Nazr Mohammed was so frustrated at being buried on the bench by Bobcats coach Larry Brown that he wanted out of Charlotte.

Brown replied that he tried to trade Mohammed, but no found no takers.

Now after the departures of Emeka Okafor and Tyson Chandler, the 33-year-old Mohammed is not only still around, he’s Brown’s starting center.

Mohammed smiled and shook his head this week when asked what if someone had suggested this scenario in April 2009.

“I would have told you it was crazy, that I really thought something was wrong with you,” he said. “I did not think I would last this long and definitely not starting. That was a rough, rough year for me mentally.”

Mohammed was surprised at how he was received when Brown took over as Bobcats coach because this was their second time together. Brown was in Philadelphia in 1998 when the 76ers acquired the former Kentucky big man shortly after Utah drafted him in the first round.

“I kind of thought that he knew what I brought to the team,” Mohammed said. “But it had been so long since I played for him. I didn’t play much for him in my earlier years, years had passed. I thought he knew but I just had to reintroduce myself to him.”

The Hall of Fame coach wasn’t impressed After being a part-time starter a year earlier, Mohammed appeared in only 39 games in 2008-09 and averaged 2.7 points and 2.0 rebounds.

Mohammed’s big contract made him difficult to trade, so he embarked on a rigid offseason conditioning program and came to training camp last year determined to win over Brown.

It didn’t work right way.

“When he got to play early I thought he was terrible,” Brown said.

Part of the problem is the 6-foot-10 Mohammed doesn’t do the things Brown likes from a center. He’s not extremely athletic, lacks a big wingspan and isn’t an intimidating shot-blocker.

“You know what his prototypical center is and I know I’m not his prototypical center,” Mohammed said. “But I know that you don’t play 13 years in this league without being able to do some good things out on the floor.”

That includes being a consistent scorer with a soft touch and an effective rebounder. He was also in great shape after his offseason workouts.

Mohammed slowly started to come on. In the same week in early February he had 23 points and 17 rebounds against the Los Angeles Lakers and 21 points and 20 rebounds against Minnesota.

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