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Indian center prospect Satnam Singh impresses at Wizards workout

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Indian center prospect Satnam Singh impresses at Wizards workout

Wisconsin guard Traveon Jackson's confusion was perhaps understandable when he first saw Satnam Singh at the Washington Wizards' latest draft workout.

The mountainous 7-foot-2, 290-pound center is trying to become the first player in the NBA from India, though not the first of Indian descent. This is where Jackson's case of mistaken identity kicks in.

“I thought he was Sim Bhullar at first until he told me his name,” Jackson confessed following Wednesday's session. 

The 7-foot-5 Bhullar, who hails from Canada, broke the barrier when he played three games with the Sacramento Kings last season. Another milestone would fall if Singh lands with an NBA team. 

“I feel good about this because in India there are a lot of Indian players who could have a chance to come here and play in college and play in high schools,” Singh said. “I think I can open the door for everyone to come here and play. So it’s good for India and all the players. It’s good for me and my country.”

Though he epitomizes the term raw prospect, Singh also offers upside. DraftExpress.com, one of the leading NBA Draft websites, ranks the 19-year-old as the 66th best prospect in the 2015 class.

Singh is also something of a mystery man. He left India - a recent Sports Illustrated article said he hails from a small wheat farm in Punjab - in 2010 for the IMG Academy in Florida. That's where he trained for the past four years before declaring for the draft. 

Though a member of India's national team, Singh didn't play D1 college basketball unlike the other five players working out Wednesday before members of the Wizards organization, including team President Ernie Grunfeld and coach Randy Wittman.

Jackson, a 6-foot-3 senior and son of former NBA standout Jim Jackson, played with frontcourt standouts and potential lottery picks Frank Kaminsky and Sam Dekker during the Badgers' run to the national title game. On Wednesday, he and Singh were on the same side during 3-on-3 drills.

"He nice. He good. He’s definitely rough around the edges, but, man, he’s big,” Jackson said of Singh. “He was able to set some big ball screens and he can really hit the pull-up, pick-and-pop shots. So he’s definitely going to be on a team. I don’t know what team he’s going to be on but he’s going to be on a team for sure."

Singh previously worked out for the Kings and Boston Celtics.

Two other Big Ten products, Iowa center Gabriel Olaseni and Minnesota forward Maurice Walker, and a pair of Southeastern Conference players - Auburn guard Antoine Mason and Ole Miss forward M.J. Rhett - rounded out the session. Only Singh ranks among Draft Express's top 100 prospects.

The Wizards, who own the 19th and 49th picks, have center Marcin Gortat under contract for the next four seasons. With reserve big man Kevin Seraphin likely to sign elsewhere in free agency, Washington could look for a backup plan in the upcoming draft. Singh screams D-League project, but with Gortat around, the Wizards can afford patience with a possible second round selection. 

“He’s got good hands. He’s a big guy. He’s got a soft touch,” said Olaseni, who was also on Singh’s team. “Obviously being 7-2, close to 300 pounds, he’s effective around the rim so he kept a lot of loose balls alive for us. So being only 19 years old he’s got a lot of upside.”

Notes: University of Maryland standout Dez Wells headlines Thursday's workout session along with UNLV guard Rashad Vaughn.

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Warriors will visit D.C. kids instead of White House when they play Wizards

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Warriors will visit D.C. kids instead of White House when they play Wizards

Instead of visiting the White House when they come to Washington this week to play the Wizards, the defending-champion Golden State Warriors plan to hold an event with D.C.-area kids.

Their invitation was rescinded by president Donald Trump following a back-and-forth between the two sides last year. After the Warriors won the title, they openly questioned whether they should follow the tradition given many of the players and coaches disagree with his policies. Trump took the opportunity away before they came to a final decision.

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The Warriors' event will be closed off to the media and held at an undisclosed location. It is set for Tuesday, the day before they play the Wizards at Capital One Arena. The Warriors had the option of holding a ceremony with other politicians in the Democratic party, but decided that would send the wrong message. 

"It's their championship. They got disinvited to the White House, so it's up to them what they wanted to do. So they made their plans," coach Steve Kerr said. "I want the players to have a good day and to do something positive and to enjoy what they're doing."

The Warriors are the first NBA team to make this choice since Trump was elected president. Last season, the Cleveland Cavaliers held their celebration with president Barack Obama in November. They did so just days after Trump was elected and LeBron James questioned at the time whether he would visit the White House with Trump in office.

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Sports teams visiting the White House goes back to the mid-1800s. The first World Series title team to visit was the 1924 Washington Senators. By the 1960s, NBA teams were going and by the 1980s NFL and NHL teams made it a tradition.

Entire teams snubbing the White House is unusual, but many players have turned down the opportunity. In the NBA, some famous cases include Larry Bird in 1984 and Michael Jordan in 1991, according to Rolling Stone.

Perhaps the Warriors start a trend, or maybe it will be a one-off thing. Regardless, the alternative they chose is a respectable one. 

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5 must-see moments from Wizards' blowout loss to Hornets, including Bradley Beal's buzzer-beater

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5 must-see moments from Wizards' blowout loss to Hornets, including Bradley Beal's buzzer-beater

Here are the five best plays or moments from the Wizards' 122-105 loss to the Charlotte Hornets on Friday night...

1. This was a tough one for the Wizards. For the third time this season, they got beaten by the Hornets and for the second straight time it was in a blowout.

They still had their moments, though, including this alley-oop from Tomas Satoransky (11 points) to Markieff Morris (13 points, eight assists, six rebounds). It was the second alley-oop connection for those two in as many games:

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2. This was a play that encapsulated the Wizards' night. Jodie Meeks drew a flagrant foul on Michael Carter-Williams, but took a hard shot to the head:

3. Kelly Oubre, Jr. had a solid game with 11 points, including this big dunk:

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4. Speaking of Oubre, he helped the Wizards close the first half with a late surge. The real highlight was Bradley Beal stealing the ball and hitting a corner three at the buzzer:

5. Beal ended up with 33 points, six assists and six rebounds. Here's an and-1 he got to go down in the second half:

All in all, it was an ugly performance for the Wizards. To cheer you up, we'll leave you with this young fan who had a great time at Capital One Arena despite the result:

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