- The Washington Times - Friday, July 12, 2002

At yesterday morning's Washington Wizards minicamp session at MCI Center, Juan Dixon sat on the sidelines in street clothes. By the evening session, in his No.2 reversible jersey, he looked his usual self, forcing turnovers on defense and getting acquainted with his new position, point guard, on offense.

Dixon signed with the Wizards yesterday afternoon in time for the second of two practices with second-year players, rookies and rookie free agents.

According to the NBA's collective bargaining agreement, Dixon, as the No.17 overall selection in the NBA Draft, signed a three-year contract worth approximately $3.15million. The Wizards hold an option for a fourth year at $1.73million and can submit a qualifying offer for a fifth year at $2.44million.

"I got my chance tonight," Dixon said. "I'm making progress and getting better. I'm trying to learn what [the coaches] want to run, and just trying to run it and be a leader out here."

Dixon's signing followed that of No.11 overall choice Jared Jeffries of Indiana, who signed Wednesday. The pair faced each other in last season's NCAA title game, won by Maryland, but their roles in that game have been forgotten.

"We're teammates now," Dixon said. "That's over with, a couple months ago. Now we're working together to win as many games as possible."

Last night Dixon got his first action with the team at point guard after spending almost his entire college career as a shooting guard. When the Wizards' coaching staff broke the teams into two squads to scrimmage, Dixon played with Jeffries, Bobby Simmons, Kwame Brown and Brendan Haywood. Some of the time, Dixon guarded an old ACC foe, Will Solomon.

Note Guard Brian Brown and forward Rolan Roberts, both of whom were supposed to compete in the minicamp, were not present yesterday, bringing the roster without injured second-round pick Rod Grizzard to 15 players. After sessions today and tomorrow at MCI Center and Sunday at George Washington, coaches will cut at least two players before the team travels to Boston on Sunday night to compete in the Pro Summer League.


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