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."
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.
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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.
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