Roger Phegley, the Washington Bullets' No. 1 pick in the NBA draft in June, was in town for the first time yesteday and the Bradley star said he liked what he saw.
"I'm impressed with the arena, the management and staff as well as the type of ball the Bullets play," Phegley commented at Capital Centre. "It's a class operation."
General Manager Bob Ferry opened contract negotiations with Phelgley's agent yesterday. Following this year's draft. Ferry had said of the 6-foot-7 guard, "He is the one I really wanted. He's got a great shooting touch, excellent range and plays tough defense."
The Bullets had gone into the draft looking for a big guard following a season in which Washington's guards were continually victimized by opponents' all back court men. The uncertain status of three-time All-Star Phil Chenier for next season compounds the problems at guard. Chenier missed most of last season with a back ailment that so far has not been responsive to treatment.
The soft-spoken Phegley, was impressed that the Bullets play a similar style to his team at Bradley. "I want to be part of an organized team, not a bunch of free-lancers," he remarked.
"Dick Motta called me right after the draft and said he wanted a big, shooting guard. That's what I wanted to hear. That plus, being picked by the world champions, was more than I could have hoped for."
Phegley originally attended Bradley on a baseball scholarship. He was a basketball walk-on as a freshman and earned a starting spot by the fourth ward, he switched almost exclusively to guard by his sophomore year. In the last two seasons, Phegley played at guard "95 percent of the time."
"I like to take a smaller guard underneath and post him," Phegley disclosed. "But I also have confidence in my outside shooting to a range of 25 feet." Phegley shot 53.7 percent from the floor and 85 percent from the free throw line at Bradley. He averaged 27.5 points a game in his final two years and was named most valuable player in the Missouri Valley Conference as a junior.
Phegley, according to Ferry, could see action at small forward as well as guard. That suits Phegleys fine. "I feel, that playing at both spots in college made me a well-rounded player," offered Phegley, who feels one of his assets is his knowledge of the game.
Phegley will be married in September to his hometown sweetheart. He spent part of yesterday looking at apartments. Later, on the way to Dulles Airport for a flight back to hometown East Peoria, Ill., Phegley's agent Joe Napoli perused a Bullet roster.
"It's hard to break up a winning combination," observed Napoli. "Somebody's not going to have a job."