- The Washington Times - Wednesday, July 5, 2006

Washington first-round draft pick Oleksiy Pecherov will make his debut tonight in the Las Vegas Summer League when the Wizards meet Toronto. The 7-foot Ukrainian forward headlines Washington’s team of rookies, free agents and young veterans.

Current Wizards on the team are 7-3 center Peter John Ramos, 6-11 forward Andray Blatche and guard Donnell Taylor. The summer is especially important for Ramos, who spent last season shuffling between the National Basketball Development League and the Wizards. The 21-year old Puerto Rican is entering the third and final season of his contract.

Washington also will evaluate Pecherov because the franchise must decide before next season whether to keep him or send him overseas for another season.

“He has a work ethic that has already been established — it’s from playing for a professional club since a young age,” coach Eddie Jordan said of the No. 18 pick in last week’s NBA Draft. “He always stays late to make 20 free throws in a row, and that’s hard to do sometimes. It’s great to see a guy who is willing to work and listen. With his skill level and his upside, it’s exciting.”

Notable free agents on the summer league team are former Connecticut guard Rashad Anderson, former Virginia standout Roger Mason Jr. and ex-Duke and Utah center Chris Burgess. The Wizards finalized their roster yesterday by waiving forward Isiah Victor (Tennessee) and guards Logan White (Dayton), Schea Cotton (Alabama) and Will Solomon (Clemson).

Washington has few roster spots open with 12 players under contract, not including restricted free agent Jared Jeffries. If the Wizards retain Jeffries and keep Pecherov, they would have one open slot on the 15-man team.

The Wizards will play five games in eight days at Cox Pavilion in Las Vegas, then head to the Long Beach (Calif.) Summer League to play four more.

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