- The Washington Times - Saturday, February 9, 2008


NASCAR starts its engines with the Budweiser Shootout from Daytona. 8 p.m., Chs. 5, 45


Oulet: Mike Jones will check in from out west on our Washington Wizards blog.


Mike Jones talked to Wizards players about the Shaquille O’Neal trade:

While the Phoenix Suns surprised many by trading for seemingly over-the-hill Shaquille O’Neal, many inside the Wizards’ locker room believe Phoenix general manager Steve Kerr made a move that will win him the championship either this year or next year.

Gilbert Arenas and DeShawn Stevenson expect Shaq — slowed recently by a hip injury — to make a miraculous recovery and start contributing right away. Arenas said the trade allows Phoenix forward Amare Stoudemire to move back to his natural position of power forward, and with all the Suns’ shooters, opposing teams won’t double team the Diesel. The Wizards believe with Shaq, the Suns will give something they’ve never had — a legitimate post-up threat.

Arenas envisions the Suns abandoning their run-and-gun game when Shaq’s in the game and opening things up by dumping the ball inside, which will force opponents to crash to the paint. Shaq, a solid passer, will then find open teammates on the perimeter and zip the ball to them for easy shots.

TWT FIVE Best Bracket Buster games

Patrick Stevens picks the best of the 14 Bracket Buster college basketball games on Feb. 23:

1. Drake at Butler: The leaders of the Missouri Valley and Horizon meet in this event again.

2. George Mason at Ohio: The Bobcats’ Leon Williams vs. the Patriots’ Will Thomas will be a great interior matchup.

3. Kent State at Saint Mary’s: Kent State can make this a more attractive game by not losing to the Toledos of the world anymore this month.

4. Davidson at Winthrop: It’s a chance to see Davidson’s Stephen Curry, and that more than justifies this ranking.

5. VCU at Akron: The Zips are the best mid-major program virtually no one knows about.

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