The Wizards will open their rookie minicamp on Thursday evening, but three of their four picks from this year's NBA Draft - John Wall, Trevor Booker and Hamady N'diaye - all got to hang out together for the first time on Wednesday, part of it including taking a courtesy shuttle-style van from Verizon Center out to Archbishop Spalding High in Severn for a brief summer camp visit. All three were dressed in t-shirts and workout shorts - all you can expect, really, given the weather.
Before a pseudo free-throw shooting contest and an autograph session, they answered a round of questions from the campers. Highlight No. 1: One of the questions had to do with what teams the guys always wanted to play for (or something to that effect), to which the camp director responded, "We'll stick with the Wizards. Next question." Highlight No. 2, N'Diaye answered what seemed like a half-dozen different questions with some form of, "I like to block shots." Guess he understands his role.
It was the first time that Booker got to meet Wall, while N'Diaye and Wall have been hanging out since Monday night, when they met at the hotel and had a late-night workout at Verizon Center from 11:30 - 1 a.m.
"It has already started," said N'diaye about the need to develop chemistry and relationships. "From the first minute, John walked into the hotel, and I walked into his room. We started talking and from there went to the gym and starting working out. I think that’s where it starts, when people get along on the team, it shows on the court. For me, that’s what I’ve been doing for a long time now. I just get along with everybody and work with everyone. That’s one of the most important steps."
It hasn't taken long for Booker to get to know his new point guard, either.
"I think all three of us are clowns," said Booker, proclaiming Wall the funniest. "Three clowns together, you’ll have a good time."
As a nice contrast, Booker got a "good answer" from the PR staff when he was asked about what went on with the Wizards last year and responded, "I know some of the stuff that happened, but that’s in the past now. We’ve got some new guys on the team so I think it’s going to be different this year."
The other topic of the day, of course, was LeBron James and NBA free agency.
"When I see those guys, I’m going to have a word," said Booker. "LeBron is taking all the Sportscenter time. I want to watch other stuff other than LeBron. But tomorrow I will be, hopefully."
Oh, he's going to fit in nicely if James stays with the Cavaliers.
Wall is close with James, but he said they haven't spoken about James' destination, which did you hear? It'll be announced tomorrow on ESPN.
"That’s crazy to have a whole hour segment just to pick where he’s going to go," said Wall. "But hey, if you’re LeBron James, you can do certain things like that, you establish yourself on the basketball court and off the court, marketable and as a top NBA player, it means a lot. Basically he’s going to make and decision, and everybody can’t wait to see it."
All but the Wizards front office, of course, given the opposite tact that the team has taken, starting with the corps that got to take a field trip together on Wednesday.
"I have total belief in the ownership of this team," said Booker. "So I’m looking forward to playing with them, just working hard and seeing what we can do."