Summer's over, and Tom Sluby may be headed back to school. The Gonzaga High School and Notre Dame graduate was waived yesterday by the Washington Bullets after he decided to leave camp because he said he wasn't getting a real chance to make the team.
"I think I'm going back to Notre Dame to go to grad school," said Sluby, who has a business/communications degree.
Sluby, a guard, was the Dallas Mavericks' second-round pick in 1984 (41st overall), but averaged less than five minutes of action in 31 games and was released after the NBA season. The Bullets signed Sluby, who is 6 feet 4 and weighs 190 pounds, before the start of training camp.
"Today I said to Bob (Ferry, team general manager), 'We've been in camp three days, and I've been playing against power forwards and centers. Could you find out what's going on?' " Sluby said as he left the team's camp at Fort Meade.
"Bob talked to (Coach) Gene (Shue) and then told me that they had the guard positions and small forward positions filled, and that they were looking for one player, and that was a big player. Since they have those filled, there's no reason to be in camp.
"It's a tough enough situation to come in and play hard knowing your chances are minimal. But if you're working hard and you're not given a real shot, there's no use continuing to do it."
The Bullets had 11 guards, including Sluby, in camp competing for jobs in an area in which the major uncertainty is when Frank Johnson will be able to play again after he broke a bone in his foot. Thus, Sluby found himself playing out of position in workouts.
"Right now on our team," Ferry said, "we didn't have a position for him, and I told him that. But I think you find everybody playing against everybody. We're looking at skill and ability rather than specific positions.
"He did a nice job. It was just a case of the odds of him making it were not worth distracting him from anything else he might want to do. When you've got a degree from Notre Dame and plan to go to grad school, you're headed in the right direction."
You can have only so many shooting guards on one team. Dudley Bradley, Jeff Malone, Tom Sewell and Johnson filled the role at various times last year and all are back, for the moment at least.
"We have a lot of competition at that position," Shue said. "The smaller players sometimes have to play positions (they are) not used to."
Shue said players such as Sluby can use quickness to their advantage when playing against bigger people. Shue denied that the guard positions were set.
"The big question mark is Frank Johnson," he said. "I can't count on him for a couple of weeks. I don't know what the makeup of the back court will be."
Sluby will call his agent, Art Wilkinson, to let him know to spread the word that he is available. But if another offer surfaces, his taking it will depend on "it being the right time in the right situation."
Shue said the two-a-day practices with a lot of scrimmaging have been tiring his players and accentuating the nagging injuries of some. Tom McMillen hasn't done anything but shoot free throws the last two days because of an ankle he hurt before camp started.
Center Jeff Ruland -- who missed Sunday's sessions after he sliced his big toe open when he slipped on a wet tile floor in the locker room Saturday -- returned to practice.
Bradley, however was the latest casualty. He missed yesterday's practices after he cut a toe while walking in sandals Sunday evening. Bradley expected to practice today.
Ferry said, "I would be more concerned if it were (Redskins kicker) Mark Moseley."