- The Washington Times - Tuesday, June 19, 2001

With the 2001 NBA Draft eight days away, the Washington Wizards, owners of the top pick, are putting the wraps on interviews and one-on-one workouts with players.

Yesterday the Wizards worked out Arizona guards Gilbert Arenas and Richard Jefferson, Arkansas swingman Joe Johnson and California forward Sean Lampley.

Today the Wizards will get an up-close look at Duke's Shane Battier, a player the Wizards consider a top-five pick. Battier will share the workout with DePaul forward Bobby Simmons and Yugoslavian big man Vladimir Radmanovic.

Later in the week the Wizards will take a look at another player, Georgia high schooler Kwame Brown, a powerful 6-foot-11 forward also considered among the top five. Brown will work out with the closest player from a physical standpoint, at least to Shaquille O'Neal: 7-1, 305-pound DeSagana Diop. Diop is out of Oak Hill Academy in Mouth of Wilson, Va.

The Wizards also will work out Villanova's Michael Bradley and DePaul center Steven Hunter. Also slated to come in are guards Omar Cook (St. John's), Earl Watson (UCLA), Jamaal Tinsley (Iowa State) and Cincinnati's Kenny Satterfield.

There is no clear-cut top pick in the draft this year, so the Wizards remain uncertain about their choice. The Wizards also might trade down in the draft. One Eastern Conference general manager said the Wizards were shopping the pick, but assistant general manager Rod Higgins denied that.

"We're not actively calling people about the pick," Higgins said. "But we are gauging interest, no question. If a deal comes up that we can't resist … We're just protecting ourselves."

One rumor had the Wizards trying to package Richard Hamilton and Etan Thomas to New Jersey in exchange for the No. 7 pick. However, the Wizards shot that one down yesterday.

"I don't think you're going to see that happen," Wizards general manager Wes Unseld said.

If the Wizards keep the pick, the likelihood is growing that the team will become the first to choose a high school player with the top selection. According to a source with knowledge of the situation, the Wizards consider the top five players in the draft to be Battier, Eddie Curry, Brown, Tyson Chandler and Eddie Griffin of Seton Hall. Curry and Chandler, like Brown, are high school seniors. The highest high school player taken in the draft was Darius Miles, selected No. 3 by the Clippers last year. The Wizards already have worked out Curry, Chandler and Griffin.

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