EMMITSBURG, MD., OCT. 11 -- The young guys were sharing training camp horror stories when Steve Colter walked by. He wanted to commiserate; they were reveling in their own shared moment.
"It's a rookie thing," they said. "You wouldn't understand."
This is the only chance that Larry Robinson has to be a first-year player. Like Tony Harris and Mike Morrison, he shares the billing of long shot, which is like an albatross that fits snugly around the neck. With Colter and Darrell Walker as incumbents (and Ledell Eackles, presumably, soon to follow after the conclusion of contract negotiations), these three have to find a way to do enough things to warrant a second look.
"It takes a strong-willed person to go through training camp," Bullets assistant coach Jeff Bzdelik said, "not make it, but continue to try and try again. Training camps are extremely tough. You have to respect their commitment and dedication to achieve their goal."
Robinson, from Centenary, knows that every day Eackles continues to hold out is a good day. Because without him here, Robinson gets more time. And during that extra time, maybe he'll do something good.
"Not having anything against Ledell," Robinson said, "but the situation at hand, it doesn't do anything but help me. That's something that me and my agent looked at. We heard rumors that he was going to be holding out, and I just took my chances. But you're right. The longer he holds out the better chance they have to look at me."
Robinson is a slinky 6-foot-5 guard who finished eight field goals short of the school's all-time record for field goals in a season with 280. (The record, 288, is Robert Parish's). Robinson averaged 20.8 points and nearly seven rebounds in two years and was the Trans America Athletic Conference most valuable player last season.
He's shown an ability to get off his left-handed shot, and scored 16 points in the Blue-Red scrimmage Wednesday.
"He's scored very well," Bullets Coach Wes Unseld said. "I want to see a little bit more ballhandling, that type of thing. But he's done okay at that position. Defensively he's having some problems because of the caliber of player he's up against."
He comes from the smallest Division I school in the country. Not a small school. The smallest.
"It didn't help, but it didn't hurt," Robinson said. "It doesn't help because of the TV coverage. People have heard of Centenary, Robert Parish, of course. But I wanted to go somewhere where I could academically do well. And it's a hard school. I felt comfortable there."
Robinson was in Denver's rookie camp this summer and played in the Midwest Rookie Revue. After two days in the Bullets' camp he went to Seattle and played Los Angeles Summer League ball for the SuperSonics.
There may have been a chance for him there. Gary Payton, the second pick overall in the draft, had a job. But the word was that Sedale Threatt was on the trading block. It never happened.
Seattle also had Nate McMillan ready to be shipped to Cleveland as part of a proposed trade for John "Hot Rod" Williams. But Williams vetoed the deal, as superstars can, and in the domino effect that followed, the door closed on Robinson.
That left Washington.
"Things didn't turn out kind of the way I wanted," Robinson said. "I knew what Coach Wes was expecting out of a player, and I feel like I'm that caliber of player. I just stuck my neck out and said I'm headed to D.C."
Bullets Notes: Unseld said there would be no further cuts until after the first two preseason games, Saturday against the Nets and Sunday against the Clippers. The roster stands at 17. . . .In last night's Blue-Red scrimmage at Knott Arcc Arena, the Red team easily defeated the Blue team, 116-99. Bernard King had 17 of his 30 points in the first half to lead the Red team. Morrison scored 29 points for the Reds, while Charles Jones had 6 points, 13 rebounds and 5 blocked shots. Harris had 20 points for the Blue team; A.J. English and Harvey Grant each added 17. Pervis Ellison had 9 points, 10 rebounds and 7 blocks. Harvey Grant played sparingly, still bothered by shin splints that developed last week. English was sent back to Washington after the morning practice to have his sore knee examined. He returned and played last night after being given stronger pain medication.