Maryland rookie guard Laron Profit showed the hunger, discipline and ability during training camp that second-year forward Randell Jackson did not. As a result, Profit, a long shot at the outset, earned a roster spot with the Washington Wizards and Jackson was waived today.
Washington also retained free agent forward Gerard King and veteran free agent guard Reggie Jordan. Camp invitees Derek Grimm, a forward, and guard James Collins were released as the Wizards trimmed their roster to the NBA-required 15 players.
"Profit had a great camp," Coach Gar Heard said. "We like a lot of things he's done. He gives us a lot of energy."
Profit performed so well that Heard opted to keep six guards instead of his initial plan of retaining five. Last June, Profit was disappointed that he was not drafted until the second round by the Orlando Magic. Orlando had no plans for Profit and traded him to Washington for a conditional second-round draft pick in 2001.
The condition was Profit making the roster.
"It's a blessing," Profit said. "I ended up here with a chance. Coach Heard and [General Manager Wes] Unseld told me they were giving me an opportunity and to take advantage of it. . . . I'm thrilled to get a shot. I want to make the most of it."
Profit's job came at the expense of Jackson, who Heard said was in prime position to make the team when camp began but systemically played his way off the team.
Jackson, who started eight games last season, was surprised that he was released, Heard said. Jackson was not under a guaranteed contract.
"He was a surprise in a sense because I don't think he came to camp with the energy that I expected," Heard said of Jackson. "I talked to a lot of people that saw him play here last year and they told me he was a high-energy guy and that he really played hard.
"I never saw that on the court. I don't know what happened."
Heard and several players will help landscape a Northwest Washington school as part of the NBA's Team Up Day. The league-sponsored initiative is designed to encourage youths to participate in community-oriented activities.