- The Washington Times - Friday, June 12, 2009

Holding the No. 5 and No. 32 picks in this year’s NBA Draft, the Wizards worked out seven potential future pros Wednesday, most notably North Carolina standout Ty Lawson and Southern Cal freshman DeMar DeRozan.

While both prospects said they would be happy to play for the Wizards next season, DeRozan, who worked out by himself, especially liked the idea of playing on an up-tempo team that would highlight his athletic abilities.

“This is a great team [for me] - get out in transition, really run,” he said. “They’ve got a lot of athletes on the team - Gilbert Arenas, Nick Young, Caron Butler. A team like this would be great for me.”

The 6-foot-7 DeRozan, a projected lottery pick, could fill the Wizards’ need at the two-guard position. In his only year at USC, DeRozan developed into a versatile perimeter player who could attack the rim, handle the ball and rebound.

Playing more than 33 minutes a game for the Trojans, DeRozan averaged nearly 14 points and six rebounds a game.

“I learned a lot,” said DeRozan, who has worked out for Oklahoma City, Toronto and Golden State and will head to Memphis and Sacramento before the draft. “A lot of people expected me to come in [and] have 20-, 30-point games. I just wanted to come to college and learn [and] grow, and that’s what I did.”

Since the Trojans’ loss to Michigan State in the second round of the NCAA tournament, DeRozan said he has improved his game - namely his outside shooting, which was a concern at USC after he hit only 17 percent from 3-point range.

“My long-range shooting is extremely different from college - really worked on it,” DeRozan said. “My strength, my ballhandling and, you know, my post-up moves. … I feel a lot of improvement in a lot of areas.”

In Lawson’s workout, it was clear the Clinton native was more than just a speedy distributor. Sure, the ACC player of the year showed off his quickness in the open floor, but perhaps most impressive was Lawson’s shooting ability.

He made quick work of a 3-point shooting drill at the top of the key and made 10 of 11 shots just inside the college 3-point line.

“I’m shooting the ball a lot better, and I’m in a better position this year [in the draft],” said Lawson, who has worked out for Phoenix, Detroit, Philadelphia, New York and Toronto. “I’m not trying to find out where I’m going to be [drafted]; I know what slot I’m probably going to be [selected].”

That slot, according to the point guard, is somewhere in the top 20, with the late lottery still considered a possibility.

The 5-11 Lawson is aware of the questions surrounding his height and conditioning, but he’s confident what he accomplished in college should land him in the top 20.

“Winning a national championship is one of the best things you can do in college basketball,” said Lawson, who worked out with Arkansas’ Patrick Beverley, Gonzaga’s Josh Heytvelt and Jeremy Pargo, Coppin State’s Tywain McKee and USC’s Taj Gibson. “I feel real good about that, and I feel a lot more comfortable coming to workouts.”

But for the next two weeks, neither DeRozan nor Lawson will know how genuine the Wizards’ interest was.

“It’s all up in the air,” DeRozan said. “A lot of teams are showing interest. [There are] a lot of places I could go and everything. You hear different things from different teams, and you just wait until June 25 [and hope] for the best.”

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