- The Washington Times - Monday, March 22, 2004

Seen and heard yesterday at MCI Center:

HOMECOMING — Gheorghe Muresan took part in an AAU clinic following the game.

Muresan, a 7-foot-7 center who played with the Washington Bullets/Wizards from 1993 to 1998, retired from the NBA in 2000 because of health reasons after a brief stint in New Jersey. He has since worked with the Romanian national team and tried to promote basketball in Europe.

Now living in northern New Jersey with his wife and two children, Muresan said he is grateful to the Wizards.

“It’s good to be back here in Washington,” said Muresan, who was named the league’s most improved player in the 1995-96 season. “They gave me my first chance to play. I will always owe them for that.”

Muresan, 33, said he no longer has the desire to be in the NBA. But there are some things he misses.

“Most of all I miss the people I worked with,” Muresan said. “For a while I was mad after my career ended because I spent so much time with the guys. But I had fun.”

Muresan was joined at the clinic by Mystics coach and former teammate Michael Adams; the Wizards’ Lonny Baxter and Mitchell Butler, who played with Muresan for three years; and Wizards assistant coach Phil Hubbard.

BAXTER SIDELINED — To make room on the active roster for Larry Hughes, the Wizards placed Lonny Baxter on the injured list with right knee tendinitis.

Baxter, claimed off waivers March3 after being released by Toronto, has appeared in six games for the Wizards and is averaging 1.7 points and 2.3 rebounds.

GO SYRACUSE — Wizards reserve center Etan Thomas — who was victimized in the second quarter by Miami guard Dwyane Wade’s one-handed dunk — talked about his Orangemen finishing off Maryland in the NCAA tournament on Saturday.

“Steve Blake congratulated me when I came in, but they weren’t too happy about it,” said Thomas, also referring to former Terps Juan Dixon and Baxter. “They were talking so much before. I didn’t talk as much as I could have. I was quiet. That’s the worst, when you’re quiet about it. I just gave them a look. I have the whole week to talk to them.”

John N. Mitchell

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