Perry Moss isn't sure exactly what he did that some others didn't, but he's glad he did it.
When the Washington Bullets take the floor to begin the regular season Friday night at 7:30 in Atlanta, Moss will be among them, one of three players on the roster making his NBA debut.
Bullets Coach Gene Shue likes the idea of three newcomers. "That's not a bad balance," he said. "You always want to have a couple young players with potential. It's not a bad mixture."
The other two -- rookies Kenny Green and Manute Bol -- were fairly sure bets to make the team. Green was the Bullets' first-round pick this year (12th overall) and Bol, at 7 feet 7, is the talk of the league. When the team used Bol in its ticket advertisements two days after he was drafted in the second round, it gave the impression he wasn't going to show up on the waiver wire.
Moss' credentials include three seasons in the Continental Basketball Association after playing in college at Northeastern.
"I don't know what I did differently," said Moss, who will back up Gus Williams at point guard. "I do know that every day I played hard, with intensity on offense and defense, and hustled 100 percent of the time. Everybody that's here can play. I've come up on the short end a few times. Fortunately, this time I didn't come up short."
What did help Moss, 6-2, make the team was the broken bone in the left foot of Frank Johnson, who was put on injured reserve Tuesday as the roster was trimmed to the NBA limit of 12. Johnson, though, expects to be able to play by Nov. 6
"Frank will have to come back and be able to do it, first of all," Shue said. "He's been running, but he'll have to get in scrimmages and show that he's well again, and I don't know how long that will take."
"You count," Moss said of the four guards the Bullets probably will have. "You count people and see who does what. All I can do is concentrate on my game, do what I have to do in the time that I'm here and make the best of it."
Moss, who will be 27 on Nov. 11, was drafted by Boston in the third round in 1982, but was released. He spent that season with the CBA's Maine Lumberjacks, then the next two with the Tampa Bay Thrillers.
The CBA is full of dreamers but not riches, and all those hours spent traveling to games in vans instilled a healthy dose of realism in Moss.
"I can't even see myself having a good time, having this be fun for a long time," he said. "I just look at it as a lot of hard work, and I thank God that I'm here."
The Bullets will practice this morning at Fort Meade before leaving for Atlanta. "There's no doubt we're ready," Shue said. "We played well in the exhibition games . . . now we just have to carry it over to the games."