- House and Senate negotiators reach two-year budget deal
- Congress seeks ban on in-flight calls
- Michelle Malkin’s Twitchy site sold to owners of Townhall, HotAir: report
- GM’s Barra to be first woman to run top American carmaker
- China: Poisonous smog is a military asset, if you think about it
- Texas woman admits to sending ricin to Obama
- Ron Paul on son Rand: ‘I think he probably will’ run for president
- Cold War heats up again in the Arctic: Russian airfield reactivated after 20 years
- 6-year-old boy suspended for sexual harassment over kiss
- Voters deciding Mass. congressional contest
NBA Draft: Rebuilding Wizards seek a magic potion
Washington strives to develop winning chemistry with new additions
NEW YORK — Just more than 24 hours before NBA draft, about a dozen young men gathered at a New York city hotel to face a room full of reporters. It’s something they’ll have to get used to pretty quickly. These players are about to become professional athletes, and their lives are about to change, some far more so than others.
Some are making the leap from college, but some are leaving their home countries for the United States and leaving International league play for the NBA, all while learning a new language, culture and way of life.
Four players who appear somewhere on Washington’s draft board were in that media room — Enes Kanter, Kawhi Leonard, Markieff Morris and Jan Vesely. Any one or more of them could be Wizards by Thursday night. Barring a trade, they will have the sixth, 18th and 34th overall selections.
“I had a good workout with Washington,” said Morris, a 6-foot-9 power forward from Kansas. “They are definitely looking for forwards that can run with John Wall and stretch the floor. I can definitely be another defensive presence. I can score if they need me to; I can be the guy they can throw it to in the post and score, and I can pick and pop with John.”
Also on the draft board for the Wizards is rebounding machine Kawhi Leonard, a 6-7 small forward from San Diego State, who could be a good fit in coach Flip Saunders‘ “junkyard dog” role. He’s a defensive-minded player who seems to enjoy rebounding more than scoring.
“I felt good about Washington,” Leonard said. “I just tried to go out there and compete and play my hardest.”
In addition to his on-court tryout, Leonard said the Wizards also talked with him at length about his background.
“They wanted to see what kind of person I am, see if I’m a hard-working player,” he said. “I’m not a one-skilled person, I do a lot of things on the court, so whatever my coach wants me to do, I’m ready to play.”
Kanter, a 6-11 center from Turkey, works as a student assistant coach for Kentucky. He couldn’t play for the Wildcats because the NCAA declared him ineligible for receiving money for playing overseas.
“It was tough because I couldn’t play in any games,” he said. “Every practice, that was my game. I just tried to give it 100 percent in practice.”
In preparation for the draft, Kanter worked with well-known trainer Tim Grover in Chicago and it did wonders for his game and his confidence.
“It feels great [to be one of the top international players],” he said. “I’m going to show everybody that European basketball is getting so much better.”
Kanter may not be around at No. 6, but he’s expressed an interest in playing for Washington and has been called one of the most NBA-ready players in this draft by several analysts.
© Copyright 2013 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.
About the Author
Carla Peay keeps you up to date on the Washington Wizards and the NBA.
- John Wall’s practice session includes contact
- Chris Singleton falls out of Wizards' rotation
- Wizards can't sustain solid start, fall to Mavericks
- Kevin Seraphin gets some tough love from his 'big brothers'
- Wizards' Randy Wittman desires healthier team in 2013
Latest Blog Entries
By Donald Lambro
Growth spikes are little more than trend-free anomalies
- Obama takes 'selfie' at Mandela's funeral service
- Harry Reid's visa pressure cooker
- Somber duty: U.S. presidents in hot demand at Mandela's memorial
- American bourbon now better than Scottish whiskey: U.K.-born expert
- Chinese man fed up with his girlfriend's shopping jumps to his death
- CARSON: Why did the founders give us the Second Amendment?
- Israeli P.M. Benjamin Netanyahu backs out of Nelson Mandela funeral
- Galaxy S4 owner claims Samsung tried to silence him after phone caught fire
- FITTON: A closer look at the Benghazi lie
- Obama lied about Syrian chemical attack, 'cherry-picked' intelligence: report
Independent voices from the The Washington Times Communities
A column dedicated to discussing politics, national security, civil liberties, and education.
Criticism may not be agreeable, but it is necessary. It fulfills the same function as pain in the human body. It calls attention to an unhealthy state of things.
The “Silver Tsunami” created by aging Baby Boomers is hitting America. Let’s explore how we adjust to it, enjoy it and defy negative expectations about age.
Find the latest news and happening that effect those in the Washington D.C., Northern Virginia and Maryland Metro region.
White House pets gone wild!
Let it snow