Peter John Ramos backed his man down and prepared to execute a post move when he saw Andray Blatche open out of the corner of his eye. Ramos flipped a pass to Blatche and the bouncy young forward completed the play with a pretty double-clutching layup.
A glimpse of the Washington Wizards' future? Could be.
In this particular case, Ramos and Blatche were participating in yesterday's scrimmage involving the Wizards' summer league team and instead of Amare Stoudemire or Tim Duncan, Blatche scored over Jamal Sampson, a fellow NBA hopeful who is simply trying to latch onto some team's roster.
Blatche, who was selected in the second round of last week's NBA draft by the Wizards from South Kent prep school in Connecticut, and Ramos, the team's second-round pick last year, will be key members of a squad that will participate in the Reebok Vegas Summer League beginning Wednesday.
The team is particularly intrigued by the 6-foot-11, 235-pound Blatche, who was projected to be drafted somewhere in the first round before falling to the very grateful Wizards, who took him with the 49th pick.
"I had a lot of teams and other people tell me that I was going to be a first rounder and that convinced me to enter the draft," said Blatche, who averaged 27.5 points, 16 rebounds and six blocks per game last season. "When I fell into the second round, I was surprised. It was frustrating but there's nothing I can do about it now. I'm here and I'm going to make the most of it."
Blatche said he patterns his game after Minnesota star Kevin Garnett, who is credited with accelerating the high school-to-NBA trend when he successfully made the jump in 1995. Blatche is lanky and explosive and like Garnett, who has added 20 pounds since coming into the NBA, Blatche will have to add muscle to his skinny frame.
"Andray has a good feel for the game, he's got really good skills but he's also young and a lot of patience is going to be involved," said Wizards Coach Eddie Jordan, who will accompany the summer league team to Las Vegas. "He has a big upside, I believe."
To help Blatche navigate his first NBA summer, the Wizards will have him working with a nutritionist and Jordan said the team will closely monitor how Blatche adjusts both on and off the court.
"This process will be very important," Jordan said. "The first steps are very important. His behavior, his habits and then getting to the basketball aspects of it. The physical nature of the game, the quickness of the game, the pace of the game. All of it is going to hit him at once and this is just the first level. When you talk about [summer league] you're talking about free agents and rookies and guys who are just trying to make teams. The intensity level is going to be greater than anything he's experienced."
Blatche didn't show any intimidation during a brief scrimmage yesterday. He fought for low-post position, aggressively attacked the basket and even stepped out and drained a three-pointer as the scrimmage came to an end. The Wizards would love to see Blatche take a similar approach when summer league play begins Wednesday against Chicago.
"It's interesting to come out and play against some bigger and better competition," Blatche said. "I'm going to learn a lot from it and that's going to make me a better player."
Wizards Notes: Guard Jarvis Hayes, who is entering his third NBA season, will join the summer league team in Las Vegas but won't play. Hayes is still recovering from a right knee injury that forced him to miss the final 28 games of the regular season as well as the playoffs. Hayes said he expects to be ready to play at full speed when training camp opens in October.
"I'm itching to get back playing but it's coming," Hayes said. "I'm not where I want to be right now but I'm not experiencing any pain when I'm going through drills so that tells me that I'll be ready if I keep doing what I'm doing."