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Wizards begin pre-draft workouts

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The Wizards will have the third pick in this year’s NBA Draft, and are continuing the process of evaluating players during pre-draft workouts for the next two and a half weeks at Verizon Center.

The process began last week at a combine held in Chicago, where Wizards president Ernie Grunfeld and coach Randy Wittman took a look at some of the top college players, and decided which ones to bring in for workouts.

On Tuesday, the Wizards worked out:

Jason Clark, a 6-foot-2 senior guard from Georgetown

Matt Gatens, a 6-foot-5 senior guard from Iowa

Bernard James, a 6-foot-10 senior forward from Florida State

Scoop Jardine, a 6-foot-2 senior guard from Syracuse

Darius Miller, a 6-foot-8 senior guard from Kentucky

Miles Plumlee, a 6-foot-10 senior forward from Duke

After the workout, some of the players shared a few thoughts about the process, what they will bring to an NBA team and how they might help the Wizards.

The winner of the post-workout interview portion of the contest was Scoop Jardine, by a runaway margin. Jardine, along with Clark, brought a little of the Syracuse – Georgetown rivalry with them.

Scoop Jardine:

“We played against each other for four years. I was just telling Jason it was just like playing on the road against Georgetown and hitting big shots. “There’s a high level of intensity [during the workouts]. We were competing at all times.”

“I think basketball is above the rim, and that’s what you want to do – you want to compete and make it hard for your competitors, but off the court, we’re all friends. We’re professionals now, we’re both fighting for spots. We know what it takes to try to get to that next level.”

“I could help this team [the Wizards] a lot. I bring that winning attitude, I’m a locker room guy, a guy that’s going to have everybody in this league together.”

Jardine mentioned Oklahoma City as the model of a team of young players who grew up together to compete hard every night.

“Going to Syracuse for five years, I grew as a man, and now I’m going into my professional career, and I’m ready, because I learned how to do a lot of little things that’s going to get you over in life.”

Jason Clark:

“It’s kind of weird coming into this arena and not having on a Georgetown jersey. I’m willing to work hard to try to play here again.”

Clark has also worked out for Miami, San Antonio and heads to Chicago on Friday.

“It’s long stressful and tiring, but this is what you play basketball your whole life for. I’m just going to keep pushing, and try to get a job. Me and Scoop, we always went back and forth, talking about the games we played together and how exciting they were.”

“He always brags about how they beat us more, but it’s all good. It’s always fun going against him. We wish each other the best.”

Bernard James:

I think I did well, I went hard. I played good defense and rebounded well. Those are the three things I would bring to a team – rebounding, energy and defense/shot blocking. A lot of players in the NBA don’t play defense, or don’t play defense very well, so a guy like myself, coming from a system where defense is emphasized, it really plays to my talent.”

Darius Miller:

“It would be a lot of fun to play with John [Wall]. That’s one of my close friends. I still talk to him to this day, so I’d really enjoy that. The [workout] was good, everybody went hard, so we’ll see. I’ve been to three [workouts] other than this, and then I have six or seven left, so it will be a busy two weeks for me.”

“I feel like I’m a versatile player, offensively and defensively, so I would just try to fit in wherever they [the Wizards] needed me.”

Matt Gatens:

“It [the workout] was good. It was a good experience. It was a great workout with some great players. It’s a little different [the workout process], but I’ve been all over the world playing basketball, so there’s not thing new in that aspect, but it’s the next step, and I’ve always been looking forward to that step, and it’s finally here.”

In addition to the third pick, the Wizards have two second round picks – number 32 and number 46. The team is scheduled to hold workouts daily this week, and for several days the next two weeks leading up to the June 28 draft.  

 

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