First-round draft choice Tyrone Bogues was a conspicuous no-show yesterday as 12 players assembled at Bowie State College for the opening of the Washington Bullets' rookie/free agent camp.

Negotiations between the team and agents for Bogues, the 5-foot-3 point guard from Wake Forest who was the 12th player selected in June's NBA draft, only began late last week and Bullets General Manager Bob Ferry said the contract proceedings reflected that.

"It doesn't necessarily follow a formula, but you hear what they want you to pay their client and you know what you think that you should pay," he said. "Sometimes it's hard to figure out the market. You want to pay a player at a certain position at a rate that's comparable to what other players in the league are making {at the same position}."

Bogues is expected to provide some much-needed quickness to the Bullets, one of the slowest teams in the NBA last season. When he was drafted, the former Baltimore Dunbar High School star was highly praised by both Ferry and Coach Kevin Loughery for his leadership capabilities, another problem area for the 1986-87 team. As is usually the case in contract negotiations, however, such talk is forgotten at the bargaining table.

"It's a funny thing," said Ferry. "You get the agents coming in and selling the player, talking about how good he is and how much he'll mean to the team, and then they say that he won't sign without a no-cut contract. Well if he's so good, then why ask for a no-cut contract?"

Last season's first-round pick, John Williams, also was the 12th player taken in the draft. He held out for most of training camp before signing for approximately $250,000 in his first year. At the time, his agent, Fred Slaughter, said a bigger problem than money was guarantees.

Bogues is thought to be seeking between $300,000 and $400,000 the first year. Attempts to reach his agents at ProServ in Washington were unsuccessful.

The conclusion last week of the business moratorium between the league and the NBA Players Association has already put pressure on teams to sign their draft choices and veteran free agents before veteran camp opens over the weekend. Presented with the thought that, because of Bogues' diminutive stature, he ought to be practicing as soon as possible so his teammates can get used to him, Ferry disagreed.

"His height doesn't have anything to do with our wanting him here, it's the position he plays," said Ferry. "The point guard you want in camp learning your stuff because he's the one who has to run it."

Although he didn't participate in the morning workouts, 7-6 center Manute Bol dropped by to watch. Recently married, Bol seemed just as happy about the new NBA "illegal offense" rule that prohibits two-man isolation offenses with the remaining three players stationed near midcourt.

The rule change will help Bol on defense, keeping him closer to the basket and shot-blocking range. To his great joy, it will also bring him closer to scoring range on the other end of the floor.

"The man who made that rule, I want him to be my friend," Bol said. "I don't like the isolations. Sometimes I was so far outside that I thought I'd catch cold."