Tyrone Bogues, the Washington Bullets' first choice in June's college draft, signed a contract yesterday morning, then joined his new teammates for the opening session of training camp at Fort Meade.

"It feels great getting everything out of the way," said the 5-foot-3 point guard from Wake Forest, terms of whose multiyear contract were not revealed.

"I wanted to get started as soon as possible and get in shape, and holding out I wouldn't have been able to do that. I'm happy with everything and I'm glad I'm able to start playing."

The Bullets are hoping Bogues can help them transform last season's oft-plodding offense into a more uptempo attack.

"I hope he's very good. He could just add so much to this team," said General Manager Bob Ferry before the initial workout. "When you see him here, around other basketball players, you don't think about his height -- you think about his skills, how he can do this against one guy and that against another."

Bogues was among 20 players present, including holdover point guard Michael Adams, who also signed yesterday. Three unsigned players were missing: guards Frank Johnson and Darwin Cook and forward Charles Jones, who did attend a team meeting Thursday night.

The Bullets are coming off a 42-40 regular season and an embarrassing 3-0 sweep at the hands of the Detroit Pistons in the opening round of the playoffs. Given that most of the other teams in the Eastern Conference have decidedly improved, the Bullets need to foster cohesiveness as soon as possible. That makes nettlesome the absence of those three players, counted on as contributors.

Forward Jay Vincent, a subject of summer trade rumors, meanwhile arrived looking slimmer than a year ago and confessed, "I really didn't know if I'd be here or not."

For a while it was uncertain whether Bogues would be signed in time for camp's opening.

"It's just a terrific plus having him here today," said Coach Kevin Loughery. "If a rookie misses a week, it's like missing a month of the regular season. If he misses two weeks, it's like two months, and if he's not here for any of the training camp, he's behind the whole year.

"He has the kind of game we want to play. He'll be overmatched sometimes, but we're not worried about that as much now as incorporating him into what we want to do."

"It hasn't really sunk in yet, knowing I'm on an NBA level," Bogues said after the practice. "I'm trying not to think about that. I'm just trying not to put pressure on myself, not go all out and do all sorts of wild things. I'm trying to take it slow, let things come."

The same could be said of Cook, who may be the last of the three yet unsigned veterans to agree to terms. After appearing in all 82 regular season contests, he ended last season upset over both his playing time and his role with the team. Correspondingly, the Bullets weren't pleased with his output of 7.5 points and 1.8 assists per game.

"They feel like I didn't really do anything for them last year," Cook said by telephone from his home in Los Angeles. "I don't feel I got the opportunity to go out and do what I've done for the last seven years. I was only backing up Jeff {Malone}. I didn't think I was used to my full potential."

Loughery said he expects to cut as many as five players by Sunday night.

"Twenty people are more than you'd normally bring in. It's too many for training camp," he said. "We're not gonna cut anyone we think has a chance to make our team, but we want to get into things right away."