- The Washington Times - Sunday, October 12, 2008

After a flat preseason performance against the Detroit Pistons on Friday, Washington Wizardscoach Eddie Jordan is eager to put the 73-62 defeat in the past and turn attention to the team’s weeklong European tour.

Beginning with Saturday’s flight to Berlin, the Wizards and New Orleans Hornets will put on clinics, conduct open practices and play two games (the second of which takes place in Barcelona) - all part of a mission to further promote the NBA overseas.

“We’re ready to fly to Europe,” Jordan said. “We’re ready to go to Berlin, we’re excited about the trip and we want to do good things for the NBA. Hope we play well over there and just [are able] to enjoy the experience.”

But judging by the pulse of the locker room, the Wizards have mixed feelings about heading overseas.

Second-year players Nick Young and Dominic McGuire and rookie JaVale McGee said they look forward to seeing the sights and the chance to showcase their talents in front of curious crowds.

Team captain Antawn Jamison said he welcomes the opportunity to go to Barcelona for the first time and visit an old friend in Berlin, but he also considers it an important trip for the Wizards and for the NBA.

“This is a business trip, but it’s also a chance for this team to bond more,” Jamison said. “We need that right about now. And we’re playing one of the most talented teams in the NBA, so we can get good competition out there as well, but these are just opportunities you have to enjoy.”

Point guard Dee Brown, who spent last year playing with Turkish team Galatasaray Cafe Crown, made a stop in Spain with his former team. Brown joined the Wizards in June and is enjoying life back in the United States.

“I’m a little excited,” Brown said. “I’ll like [doing clinics and interacting with fans]. But, you know, I’m an American guy, I like America. But, it is what it is.”

And others, like 12th-year veteran Antonio Daniels, are trying to take on a positive outlook, although it isn’t coming naturally.

“You want me to say it, honestly, or politically correct?” Daniels said when asked if he was looking forward to the trip. “Uh … yeah … but it’s a lot of traveling for the preseason. Especially when you only have one home game. But it is what it is, another training camp for us, great opportunity for us to bond, and work on some things we’ve been working on.”

Because of the nature of the trip, the Wizards have a to-do list that includes much more than playing basketball. Jordan said he won’t place a high priority on training and coaching because it will be difficult to do so.

“The trip, you just want to succeed logistically,” he said. “You want to go to these appearances and these clinics and get from place to place and not lose anybody. You know, like, keep the sheep together. Let’s move them, enjoy the experiences, don’t have any mishaps, be professional, play well if you can, and get back home next Saturday. Then we’re back into the business of having to get back at it again.”

The Wizards return to the District on Saturday. They play at San Antonio on Oct. 22 and conclude the preseason two days later against the Cleveland Cavaliers in Columbus, Ohio.



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