- The Washington Times - Sunday, March 16, 2003


Seen and heard last night at MCI Center:
ROOKIE RISING: Most of the talk about Rookie of the Year has centered on Houston's Yao Ming and Phoenix's Amare Stoudemire. Meanwhile, flying under the radar is Miami's Caron Butler.
Butler has been named Eastern Conference Rookie of the Month three times this season, more than any other rookie in the league.
Add also to Butler's resume the fact that he leads all rookies in scoring (14.6), minutes (37.1) and steals (1.62). He is also second in free-throw percentage (.816), and fifth in assists.
FOLLOW THE LEADER: Miami Heat coach Pat Riley says the Wizards, if they are going to reach the playoffs, are going to have to hitch their season to Michael Jordan's shoulders and ride them for what it's worth. And when Jordan retires at the end of the year, Riley feels the Wizards must continue to follow his lead.
"He turned this franchise around," Riley said. "They lead the league in attendance. They were struggling a couple of years ago. While he's active and he's still playing, it's all about trying to make the playoffs."
One criticism that has come up about Jordan is that his presence on the roster has hampered the development of the young players. Riley says this is untrue.
"I don't think they've thwarted their young guys," Riley said. "I think Kwame Brown has played enough this year. The other young player, [Jared] Jeffries, the injury to him really hurt him, obviously. But I think they've played their young players enough. They've got a half dozen veteran guys that are ready to win, and I think that's where they're going with it. I think Doug's done a good job with it. They got to get there now with Michael playing."
John N. Mitchell

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