- The Washington Times - Friday, December 7, 2001

Seen and heard last night at Compaq Center in Houston:

SUBSTANCE OVER STYLE There are a lot of guys in the NBA who wear their socks high, just below their kneecaps in some cases. Some of them are paying homage to the days when that was the NBA norm, and others probably have other reasons.

Not Wizards center Jahidi White, though. White, who wore his socks high when he was at Georgetown but not when he was in high school in St. Louis, wears his high for a reason.

"Man, I just wear them high because it helps to keep my legs warm," White said. "I know a lot of guys like the style, and I do too. But the most important thing for me is that my legs stay warm."

A REVELATION The other day while watching Michigan State and Florida play on television, Wizards coach Doug Collins said he kept reminding himself that if Kwame Brown hadn't turned pro and been the team's and the league's top pick in the draft, Brown would have been playing in that game. Brown had given Florida a verbal commitment.

"That kind of put it in perspective," said Collins, who watched the game with assistant coach Brian James. "I realized that he wouldn't have been ready to play at that level this early, either. That just lets you know how big the jump is.

Collins did allow that after posting the first double-double of his career against San Antonio (10 points, 12 boards), Brown is starting to show some promise.

PAY ATTENTION, MEL KIPER JR. Former North Carolina center Brendan Haywood had no idea that his former teammate at North Carolina, Julius Peppers, was in town to receive the Lombardi Award for being the top defensive lineman in college football. In fact, the award was handed out right around the corner from where the Wizards stay in Houston.

Haywood said he wasn't surprised in the least that the former two-sport star won the award. And now he suspects that Peppers will make some NFL team very, very happy.

"Man, that guy is one of the hardest working guys I've ever been around. I mean, he's so strong. He would get in basketball shape so fast after the football season, losing about 20 pounds. But I can understand why he's giving up basketball this spring," Haywood said. "He's definitely going top five in the draft."

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