Will the Beef Brothers gain another relative? That question might be answered by the time the undefeated Washington Bullets summer team finishes play in the Urban Coalition League.
Some large prospects emerging from that team include 6-foot-10, 220-pound Mike Gibson (from the University of South Carolina at Spartansburg); 6-7, 215-pound Darren Daye (third-round choice from UCLA), and returning forward Joe Kopicki, 6-9, 240 pounds.
"They have been our most consistent players this summer," said General Manager Bob Ferry "All three of those guys have a chance to make the team."
"We'd like to evolve into a running team," Bernie Bickerstaff, the team's assistant coach, said. "When we had Wes Unseld and Elvin Hayes, we had that fine balance between running and physical. I'd like us to be physical with finesse. Those three guys have skills we could use."
The biggest player is Kopicki, who was drafted by the Atlanta Hawks in 1982. He came to the Bullets last season as a midseason replacement for Spencer Haywood, who retired. He played in 17 games, scoring 3.9 points per game, and had 62 rebounds. "Kopicki has been wonderful," Ferry said. "I would be surprised if he didn't make the team."
Daye has been the most impressive rookie on the summer team, according to Ferry. "He handles the ball well," Ferry said. Bickerstaff also gave Daye high marks: "He can pass and shoot, and has a real innate knowledge of the game."
One rookie everyone anxiously watches is Michael Britt, all-America forward from the University of the District of Columbia. Britt, a second-round draft choice, is an explosive offensive player but needs to polish his defensive skills, according to Ferry and Bickerstaff.
"He has to learn to make better decisions," Bickerstaff said. "He has to refine his game."
Because of a bruised hip, Britt has missed some summer league games. He is a player whose speed and offensive skills could carry him into the NBA, according to Ferry, but he must work on a "consistent outside shot and needs to tone his game down to eliminate mistakes, to make the right, easy play all the time and let the spectacular plays come," Ferry said.
Gibson was drafted in the second round by the Bullets in 1982, but played in the Philippines and then in the Continental Basketball Association for Rochester. Like the Beef Brothers, Rick Mahorn and Jeff Ruland, he is strong underneath the boards and has impressed the coaching staff. He is "exceptional shooting, has a good touch both inside and outside, and can block shots," Ferry said.
Winning a tournament last week in Princeton, N.J., involving teams from the New Jersey Nets, the New York Knicks and the Philadelphia 76ers, has been the highlight this summer for the Bullets. They beat the 76ers by 41 points, and then by 14. They beat the Nets by 40, beat the Knicks by seven and lost to the Knicks by 10.
"The team played just great," Ferry said. "We had great success despite the fact that Jeff Malone (the top draft choice from Mississppi State) didn't play." Malone stayed home in Macon, Ga., this summer because he still hasn't signed.
"The kids were the talk of the tourney," Ferry said. "This is the best summer league team we've ever put together."