By Ivan Carter
Washington Post Staff Writer
Thursday, November 9, 2006
Calvin Booth was inactive for the third time in four games last night when the Wizards faced the Indiana Pacers, and the veteran center has yet to play.
Booth, who is in his eighth season and in his second stint with the Wizards, admits that not playing can be frustrating, but his professional approach to practice and pregame preparation has served as an example for the team's youngest players: forward Andray Blatche, guard Donell Taylor and center James Lang.
Going into last night's game, Booth, Blatche, Taylor and Lang had not played this season. Blatche and Taylor played in last night's blowout victory.
"I've always said that the most difficult thing in this league is to be Gilbert, Caron and Antawn -- having to play 40 minutes a night at a high level," said Booth, who appeared in 33 games last season with two starts. "And the second-toughest thing is being on the bench or on injured reserve and making sure you are ready for that opportunity. You just have to make sure that you stay consistent with your game preparation and be ready because it's a long season and a lot of things can happen."
Blatche's disappointment over not playing last season was obvious. He'd often wear a fixed facial expression throughout games and allowed his intensity in practice to wane. This season, he's been more upbeat on the bench and around the locker room and is approaching practice with a "game" attitude.
"I'm more mature about it," said Blatche, whose locker is two spots away from Booth's. "When you see a vet like Calvin and how he handles himself every day, that helps. You just have to keep telling yourself that your chance will come."