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Enthusiasm galore for Kelly Oubre: 'Ready to get it cracking'


Enthusiasm galore for Kelly Oubre: 'Ready to get it cracking'

TOWSON, Md. -- Kelly Oubre Jr. turns 20 in early December. That means his days of being a kid, or at least a teenager at Christmas is officially over. The childhood, rip-open-presents level of enthusiasm remains as evidenced by Oubre's attitude entering his first NBA training camp.

"I'm happy. I'm happy as hell," the athletic forward said Monday at Washington's media day. "I've been waiting my whole life for this moment. This moment right here and lacing them up for the games. I've been working my butt off all summer long.

"I'm just ready. I'm ready to get it cracking."

Since participating in the Las Vegas Summer League back in July, the 6-foot-8 forward "went back to the fundamentals, back to basics" with his preparation. "This whole summer I've been working on the little things, the tangibles that are going to help me succeed at this level," Oubre said.

Oubre highlighted his defensive "length" and ability to "get to the rack anytime I want to" as ways he can help the Wizards from the start.  

Some lessons already learned occurred in Las Vegas. To whatever extent game planning for the opponent took place, opponents knew to focus on the 15th overall pick in the 2015 NBA Draft.

"I found out in Summer League that teams have scouting reports that are more detailed," the University of Kansas product said. "It's going to be harder, but I can get to the rack and I can score the ball."

RELATED: John Wall makes $400k donation to local charity

Oubre natural athleticism overwhelmed opponents at times on previous levels. The challenge in Las Vegas came when defenses focused on taking away his natural driving abilities.

"I come off a lot of ball screens and they were making sure I couldn't get to the hole coming off screens," Oubre said. "Making sure they trapped me. Making sure they hedged out harder than normal on me, making sure I didn't turn the corner. Be calm and patient, change speeds. I've been working on it."

Of course, if defenders take away the drive, popping out for a 3-pointer works as a counterpunch. 

As for patience, that's an aspect his coach noted for Oubre, who likely receives inconsistent minutes this season, and the other new members of Washington's 15-man roster.

"There is a lot of learning for a guy like Kelly. He's going to make mistakes. He has to be patient," Wittman said Tuesday.

"Eleven of these guys were with us last year. Having an understanding of what we do, how we do it, the pace we do it at. It's all new for a guy like Kelly and the newcomers. It's really just making sure those guys they don't get frustrated and continue to work."

So far, Oubre is showing that putting in the work won't be an issue.

MORE WIZARDS: Training camp Day 1: Wizards set sights on faster tempo

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Wizards Tipoff podcast: Phil Chenier tells stories ahead of his jersey retirement

Associated Press

Wizards Tipoff podcast: Phil Chenier tells stories ahead of his jersey retirement

On the latest episode of the Wizards Tipoff podcast presented by Greenberg and Bederman, host Chase Hughes was joined by Bullets/Wizards legend Phil Chenier ahead of his jersey retirement set for this upcoming weekend on March 23.

Chenier looked back on his playing and broadcasting career and told great stories. He also shared some memories of the 1978 championship as the franchise gets ready to honor its 40th anniversary.

You can listen to the episode right here:

You can download the podcast on Apple Podcasts right here and on Google Play. If you like the show please tell your friends!

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Cavaliers coach Tyronn Lue stepping away from team to deal with health issues

USA Today Sports Images

Cavaliers coach Tyronn Lue stepping away from team to deal with health issues

An undiagnosed illness has convinced Cleveland Cavaliers head coach Tyronn Lue to step away from the team indefinitely, the team announced on Monday. Assistant coach Larry Drew will take over in the interim.

Lue, 40, is hoping to address his health issues in time to return before the year is out. According to a statement on the team's website, he has been under the weather for quite some time.


Here is what Lue said on the matter in a press release:

I have had chest pains and other troubling symptoms, compounded by a loss of sleep, throughout the year. Despite a battery of tests, there have been no conclusions as to what the exact issue is.

While I have tried to work through it, the last thing I want is for it to affect the team. I am going to use this time to focus on a prescribed routine and medication, which has previously been difficult to start in the midst of a season. My goal is to come out of it a stronger and healthier version of myself so I can continue to lead this team to the Championship we are all working towards.

That is scary stuff and certainly much bigger than basketball. But the surprising news happens to come at a crucial time in the Cavs' season. They are currently third in the Eastern Conference with only 13 games remaining before the playoffs.


The Cavs are just a half-game ahead of both the Wizards and Pacers in the standings. They will also have to reincorporate All-Star Kevin Love, likely sometime this week. 

That is a lot for Drew to deal with while Lue recovers and it adds another wrinkle to a Cavs' season that has been characterized by change.


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