Following the early practice today, the media was able to talk with a few players. One of the players was Trevor Booker. Initially, Trevor was asked to compare NBA and college players. His response. in part, revolved around the uneven level of talent within college basketball versus the NBA. He pointed out that "everybody here has a high basketball IQ." My interpretation of his point was that in college you have players with high basketball IQ, but not every player on your roster.
Another reporter asked if Booker was concerned with any potential rookie hazing by the veterans on the team. Booker, during one of the funniest moments during the media session, flexed his right bicep and said, "nah, do you see these guns right here?" For those who are prone to overreact, heed the sage words of the world renown philosopher (by that I mean comic), Talent who said, "It's just comedy."
Flip Saunders has dedicated the early part of camp to getting "back to the basics." He and his staff have focused on teaching the fundamentals. Booker was asked to compare the first few days of Wizards camp to his experience in college. He responded by saying that "both do a lot of learning in the first couple of days, everybody is still trying to learn the plays, learn the sets and learn the defense." With only four returning players on the roster, the Wizards coaching staff has a lot of teaching to do.
Booker was asked whether he thought the three or the four was his more natural position. Unsurprisingly, he responded "probably the four right now, but I feel with a little more work I'll feel more confident [playing the three]." He went on to state that his main concern with playing the three at this point is "probably the mismatches."
At the end he was asked to talk about the aspect of the pro game that he has found to be the most challenging to grasp. Booker said, "probably defense, playing good team defense. I struggled a little bit with it this summer." With Flip wanting to use his matchup zone about 20 - 25% of the time, it remains to be seen whether that will help him adjust more quickly.
A few quick comments on John Wall:
Given the recent story with Dez Bryant and his reported $54K dinner bill, rookie hazing was a popular subject for the Wizards rookies. When John Wall was asked about the Dez Bryant situation, he said "I would have carried the shoulder pads." When he was asked if he has been a victim of any rookie hazing he said that so far he has only had to bring doughnuts during the Summer League.
When asked if he was specifically concerned with Gilbert Arenas, given his past pranks. Wall responded that he was not worried with Gilbert specifically, but almost all of the veteran players. He said, "most of those two year, three year guys haven't had a chance to get anyone yet." Going into last season, the Wizards avoided young guys hoping to build around a veteran oriented club. To Wall's point - Blatche, Young and McGee - could be relishing the opportunity to haze a young guy.
Ever since it was clear that the Wizards would draft John Wall, one of the popular topics has been the potential impact that Gilbert would have on Wall. Some in the media have suggested that, in their opinion, it would largely be a negative influence. Well on the final question posed to Wall, he was asked to talk about what, if anything, he has learned from Gilbert so far. He responded by saying, "there is a lot of stuff that I am learning from him [Arenas] that can help me in the regular season."
So three days into camp it appears that Gilbert Arenas and John Wall like each other (check) and Gilbert seems to be teaching John the tricks of the trade (check). How well the two perform together on the floor will be seen shortly.