- The Washington Times - Tuesday, February 7, 2006

While Washington Wizards coach Eddie Jordan was going over the scouting report with his team for Monday night’s game against Orlando, second-year guard Awvee Storey noticed that whenever Jordan discussed Magic guard DeShawn Stevenson and his tendencies, he was talking specifically to Storey.

“I didn’t think much about it until he told me in warm-ups that I was going to be starting, and when he did tell me, I thought I misunderstood him,” said Storey, who made his first career start in a 94-82 victory that evened the Wizards’ record at .500 for the first time in two months. “Of course, I was nervous. But then I just said I need to go out and focus on the things I can do, like rebounding and playing defense. Once I did that, I was fine.”

Storey, 28, started in place of Jared Jeffries, who said he suffered a bruised back when he fell during a recent practice. The injury forced Jeffries to miss his second game this season. Jeffries did some light shooting yesterday and put his availability for tonight’s game with Golden State at “80 percent.”

But if he can’t go, Jordan, who is very comfortable with Storey on the floor, might call on the 6-foot-4 guard again.

“We like what he gives us on the floor,” Jordan said. “He was a defensive-minded player first, and then later in the game he was a facilitator. Awvee is active, and he rebounds. He was just what we needed.”

Storey got off to a fine start with four points and four rebounds in the first quarter. And even though those were the numbers he finished with, his scoring output nearly equaled a season-low five points from Orlando’s leading scorer, former Maryland standout Steve Francis.

Storey encountered some trouble at the start of the third quarter when the Magic got him tied up in some pick-and-rolls, freeing up Stevenson, who is more of a slasher, for some open jumpers.

Jordan was forced use veteran Antonio Daniels more in the second half. Though Daniels did a good job of cooling off Stevenson, Jordan remains confident Storey will be ready when called upon.

“That’s one of the reasons why he made the team — he’s ready to play,” Jordan said of Storey, a member of the New Jersey Nets for nine games last year and has played professionally in Venezuela and South Korea.

Since the Wizards and Chucky Atkins agreed to a buyout last month, good things have happened in the team’s backcourt. Daniels has been playing very well during the last three weeks, and rookie Donnell Taylor is also benefiting. Taylor played 12 minutes and scored 10 points on 4-for-5 shooting against the Magic.

Both Taylor and Jordan agreed that Taylor’s hard work (“before, during and after practice,” Jordan said) have made it easy for the coach to call on him.

“For me, practice is my game time,” Taylor said. “If I work hard in practice, Coach will develop confidence in me and won’t hesitate to use me.”


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