Wizards 

Training Camp Notes: September 30th

This was the second consecutive day in which a member of the My Mind on Sports team was present at Wizards Training camp. As most Wizards fans already know, Otto Porter and Trevor Booker are injured and have remained limited thus far. The non-stop chatter was apparent again today, as it was yesterday when walking into the gym. This Wizards team appears to be a close-knit bunch, they truly like each other and don’t hide it. On Media day, several players shared several team bonding moments, many of which included video games. That bonding is evident in that never ending chatter heard around the gym, no player is left out including the new additions. Eric Maynor and Al Harrington seemed to have fit right in and their new teammates already love what they bring to the table. Coach Wittman, Nene, Martell Webster and Trevor Ariza spoke to the media after practice. One of the things that kept coming up throughout the conversations was Jan Vesely’s huge dunk during practice, here’s what was said during the media availability portion of practice.

Nene

On the injury scare earlier: “I go hard, but if i feel something i just stop a little bit and I get back”

In regards to this being a veteran laden team: “It’s a different  view of the game, different things we can bring and we look better right now. The way we read, the we pass, the way we play… it’s of more quality man”

New additions Eric Maynor and Al Harrington:  “Its a great addition..Eric Maynor, Al Harrington they helping us a lot right now, on leadership”

Current state of health: “Right now, I just want to feel better man..if i feel good, than everything is going to be good”

Coach Wittman

On John Wall being healthy at the start of the season: “This summer was important for him to rest, get his body right so that when we came here to camp he could get in here…..you know last year was a tough time for John, from a conditioning, get your legs underneath you… being able to be the player he was capable of being. I don’t think he was ever able to do that last year. ”

On injuries: “I’m always concerned with this team, this team always concerns me..I have dreams about this team”

On Otto Porter: “I haven’t learned anything, nothing.. its hard to learn when you’re not on the floor.”

“I know who Otto is, Otto’s a very sound fundamental player that’s got a good ball IQ and thats kind of what I do. Now I need to get to know Otto, it’s important for him to get healthy so…. because all these schemes, things we do is different than we do in college, terminology… everything . You can sit there and watch it but you don’t have any idea though, until you get out there and experience it.”

Martell Webster

How Training Camp has been thus far: “Amazing….I think we’ve exceeded expectations, we were able to put a couple more things in defensively and offensively just by surprise cause coach was like I feel they’re ready for it. So I think we’re a little ahead of schedule but we still have a lot of ground to cover.”

“So far the last couple days have been amazing, guys have been running, guys are in shape, we didn’t have to worry about getting guys in shape. Which is the key, if you have guys coming into camp with great condition then it makes for an easy camp.”

On the “P” Word(Playoffs): “That’s our mentality but we understand that we have to take this one practice at a time and I don’t think we’re going to look to far to the future with this. We’re better than last year just because of the experience. The guys that have come back, the one year of extra experience coming into training camp makes it a little easier so I’m not going to sit here and say we’re going to “stamp” our name on the playoffs because at the end of the day you have to go out there and prove it.”

On Jan Vesely’s Big dunk: “Oh yeah, he caught a body today. He actually livened up practice with that, guys coming out, this is the third day, legs are heavy, now you gotta will yourself  through practice but it was fun. When he did that, it livened practice up, brought the competitive nature out of everybody.”

“It was a chris paul, blake griffin type play except this one was, John Wall-Jan Vesely. John came off a pick-and-roll and went middle, Ves rolled and caught a body, simple as that.” (Martell thought it was John, but it was a Beal-Vesely Pick&Roll)

Who should start at small forward:  “Trev’s getting some attention right now,  but as of right now if I had to critique the last few days I’d say he’d be the staring 3 right now. It’s something that he has on defense man.. which is amazing. he’s making open shots which makes it easy on John but then on defense he has an asset that you can’t really teach. He plays it like….a cornerback honestly to tell you the truth. Has great anticipation skills, great defensive awareness, it’s competitive, I love it. Like I said, I don’t care about the starting role. I already know that that position is interchangeable, there’s a chance I might play some 2, but coming off the bench with the second unit is just as fun.”

Defensive accountability: “The whole goal and the message that we’re trying to get across this year is that we gotta hold each other accountable no matter what. So don’t take too much time trying to explain your reasoning, just say what you need your defender or your help side defense to do and hold them accountable to it. And that’s what me and Trev have been working on, plain and simple we can’t have any excuse….we have a defensive scheme, we have to execute it.”

On Otto Porter: “Focal points in defensive scheme and offensive scheme, you tell him to pay attention to those because when he gets back he’s going to have to perform. So I’m not going to talk his head off but for key focal points, I’m going to tell him to make sure he’s paying good attention and that he’s aware. He’s doing a good job during breaks getting some shots up and then after practice getting shots up just to keep his rhythm but you know this is a game that you can’t speed back to. You can’t just come out here and rush it so it’s going to be times where he’s going to be frustrated because his legs may not be there or he may not be as fast, he might not have that first step, but that’s all part of it when you’re getting back into the swing of things.  It’s going to be tough, but we’ll have his back.”

Trevor Ariza

How camp has been thus far:  “It’s been real good, getting back with the guys, getting used to playing with them again. Going thru new things, it’s been pretty fun.”

Why he was on trainers table when media walked in: “Nothing big, just a little precaution with my calf, felt a little pull a little bit when I shot the ball and started to run back.”

When told about Martell’s thoughts that he(Trevor) deserved to start at the 3: “I mean I can say the same thing about him, that’s just how we feel about each other. We push each other out here and we just want the best for each other.”

On last year’s struggles: “I feel like we have a really good team and we all want to be good..we know we had a lot of things that were up against  us last year that was none of our faults. We just couldn’t quite get right but as time go on we just kept fighting thru it kept fighting thru it and stuck together and hopefully that helps us out this year.”

John Wall and Nene starting this season healthy and in camp: “It’s a big difference, just them being on the court.  It helps us, it prepares us for what we did towards the end of last year when they were healthy.”

Intensity level of this year’s Training Camp: “We know what we want to do, we know what we want to accomplish and to do that we have to push each other and the level of intensity has to stay high.”

On Otto Porter: “Stay the course, they drafted you at that position for a reason.  Season’s long, there’s a lot of ups and downs but as long as you stay the course and continue to work hard you’ll be alright.”

On Jan’s big dunk: “It was disgusting and there he goes right here(pointing at Pops Menasah)”

“Exactly, he put it tee…described it to a tee” on Martell’s comparison of the play being Chris Paul-Blake Griffin like.

“He didn’t jump tho, he was already there…sometimes its not your fault, he was in the wrong place at the wrong time.” When trying to defend Pops Mensah-Bonsu

Pops Mensah-Bonsu

On “the” dunk: “We have defensive principles on this team where they say you don’t let the ball or the man go middle and somebody had a defensive break down and the guard, Bradley Beal went middle and as I know…I went to stop the ball and he made the right play and dropped the ball off and before I knew it, I turned and I was already in the air…Jan was already in the air, I jumped, well a halfway jumped and he dunked the ball so hard. I had no chance of blocking it, that’s all they talked about the rest of practice.”

“I got Martell today too, but it’s a guard…I don’t get no points for that.” in a discussion with Trevor Ariza

“He jumped over me and i think he jumped outside the paint..he took off from far and he dunked it hard and let me know about it..he don’t even speak english good and let me know about it..he looked at me and said yeah, yeah, I dunked you.”

It was definitely fun at Wizards practice today, the players really get along well and seem to be focused on shattering last year’s expectations. They are definitely off to a good start with both John Wall and Nene healthy to start the season.

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CEO/Founder of My Mind on Sports For More Information on Wilson, check out his Bio in the "Team" Section Follow Wilson on Twitter: @Willietspeaks

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