Today the Washington Wizards introduce the newest edition of the team in Trevor Booker of the University of Clemson and the 2nd round draft pick, Hamadi N`Diaye. You could see the influence that Ted Leonsis had on the team as Season Ticket holders were invited to watch the press conference as well. There is more access to the fans than I’ve seen since I was blessed to be in the locker room.
Ernie Grunfield and Flip Saunders joined the two rookies on stage as they explained that they were real excited of picking the big men because of their experience in college. Both being 4 year players helped tremendously with their games because as Ernie put it, “gives them a little more prepared.”
Flip Saunders, explained how Booker showed a high motor and also said he (Booker) will give it everything he got. He spoke very high on Hamad N`Diaye and even gave him the nick name of, “H.”
In practice, Flip went on to say that Hamadi kept blocking the basketball out of bounds and Flip went to say, “H, what good does it do if you keep blocking it and sending it out of bounds?” Flip explained Hamadi’s response by saying, “Coach, the crowd goes crazy!”
They both seem to have great character as after the press conference was done, the media got a hold of both of them and from what they said, college really payed off. They both seem really hungry and have upside that has no limit. Ernie and Flip Saunders stated that they will have practice which was held after the press conference. Both Booker and H have been through big games and have seen a lot being in school for 4 years.
Coach Saunders stated that they will have minicamp from either July 8th or July 9th. The first test for these young kids will be Summer League. During the conference, Kyle from TruthAboutIt.net asked a question about his comparison to Ben Wallace and Coach, out of left field, came in with the comment, “hopefully his free throws are better, I’ve been through that.” The room erupted with laughter.
Hamad was infamously known as the, “SHOT BLOCKER EVER,” in college. Well Hamadi was not lying, because statistically he can say so. We’ll see how that translates to the pros. He has better stats when it comes to blocking, than the likes of Patrick Ewing, Alonzo Mourning, and Shaquille O`Neal. Hamadi stated that he his family was in Africa and there is nobody here with him. The Senegal native says he was living a dream and cried for almost 30 minutes after hearing his name in the 2010 NBA Draft. If there was any definition to a hungry player, I would put Hamadi on that list.
Rumors were going around that, Yi Jianlian has been traded to the Washington Wizards. Now reports are out and saying that the Washington Wizards have traded the barely used Quinton Ross to the New Jersey Nets for Yi Jianlian and $3 Million dollars in cash. People are wondering why the Wizards keep taking these guys and not spending the money on free agents? Well its simple to answer, Ted Leonsis and Ernie Grunfield already stated that they want to get younger and they don’t want to spend money on big free agents. This is the Ted Leonsis way, so I don’t know why people are getting frustrated or even hating on what is going on. The Wizards take in Yi Jianlian’s contract and he only has one year left which means he will be off the books so the Wizards, if they wanted to, could go after a big free agent next year baring any other major moves. Yi was the #6 pick in the 2007 draft by the Milwaukee Bucks but has been traded twice since then. We can only hope that the Wizards can tap into these talented young players. As a fan would say, “Has the season started yet?”
Here is Comcast SportsNet's Mike Jones article on the Yi trade
WASHINTON WIZARDS OFFICIAL NEWS RELEASE
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
June 29, 2010
WIZARDS ACQUIRE YI JIANLIAN, CASH CONSIDERATIONS FROM NEW JERSEY
Team Sends Quinton Ross to Nets in Exchange for Former Sixth Overall Draft Pick
WASHINGTON, DC – Washington Wizards President Ernie Grunfeld announced today that the team has acquired forward Yi Jianlian and cash considerations from the New Jersey Nets in exchange for guard/forward Quinton Ross.
“This trade is a good opportunity to add a skilled seven-footer with significant NBA experience who was the sixth overall pick in the draft just three years ago,” said Grunfeld. “Yi fits in very well with our ongoing plan of building towards the future with a core of young, talented players.”
Yi averaged career highs of 12.0 points, 7.0 rebounds and 1.0 blocks in 52 games (51 starts) last season with New Jersey. The seven-foot native of China holds career averages of 9.6 points and 5.8 rebounds in 179 games (152 starts) in three seasons with Milwaukee and New Jersey.
Originally selected by the Bucks with the sixth overall pick in the 2007 NBA Draft, Yi was traded to New Jersey along with in exchange for Richard Jefferson prior to the 2008-09 season. He averaged 8.6 points and 5.2 rebounds as a rookie and was named the Eastern Conference for December. Yi followed his rookie campaign by averaging 8.6 points and 5.3 rebounds with the Nets in 2008-09. Prior to entering the draft, he led Guangdong to the Chinese Basketball Association title and competed for the Chinese National Team in the 2008 and 2004 Olympics.