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4th All-Star appearance will be most special for John Wall

4th All-Star appearance will be most special for John Wall

The NBA will make it official later tonight, but John Wall has been selected by the league’s coaches as an All-Star reserve, league sources told CSNmidatlantic.com on Thursday. Of the four times the Wizards' point guard has been, this one will mean the most. 

"I think so. It means a lot," said Wall, who had surgeries to both knees May 5, had to play his way into shape during the season and has an East leading 26 double-doubles among guards. "When I was going through the process of listening to the doctor was telling me how long it might take. 'You might not be ready to start the season right away.' I really wasn't supposed to play back-to-backs until January so I think that would've hurt us as a team but also hurt me."

Wall finished sixth among East guards in the fan/media/player voting that was announced last week though he is the only one averaging a double-double (23.1 points, 10.1 assists) and now elevating the Wizards (25-20) to fifth in the conference and just two in the loss column from No. 2. He started to play back-to-back games in November.

"Nobody has told me," said Wall, who hasn't been told officially by the league that he has made it. "We started off pretty bad. Wasn't in position to be a playoff team. There a lot of great guards that have been playing well in the East this year. With us having a great December, winning a lot of games, starting off January very well and being in the playoff race that would solidify it."

The Wizards have been 23-12 since starting 2-8. Wall struggled defensively because of his ailments all last season but still averaged 20 points and 10 assists. He struggled to begin this season, too, but has dropped the extra weight and is playing at an elite level on both ends during this run that has included 14 consecutive home victories.

Two seasons ago, Wall was chose to the All-NBA Defensive team, and it was his only time he was named an All-Star starter.

"Doesn't surprise me," Wizards coach Scott Brooks. "He's been an All-Star for the last three years. He's having another great year. I haven't officially heard but it's probably safe to say that's definitely is going to happen. He's done a great job of leading us and  putting us in position to win. His shooting has imrpoved, his playmaking, his defense. I think everything is better across the board is much better."

Wall played through a right pinkie injury two weeks ago and a badly swollen left wrist. He shot just 4-for-21 in that loss to the Boston Celtics, but he rectified himself earlier this week with 27 points, seven rebounds and seven assists in a blowout in the rematch. 

"I like his toughnes,' Brooks said. "I like players that play with a fire. He brings it every night. I like the fact that his speed allows him to get to the basket. He doesn't settle. Last game he had nine or 10 drives to the basket. His jump shot has improved. His three-point shot is improving. ... He  loves to play. It takes a lot to get him out of the game."

[RELATED: Morris raises level to meet Scott Brooks' demands]

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‘Grateful for the opportunity’ A tale of the second Capital City Go-Go open tryouts

Capital City Go-Go

‘Grateful for the opportunity’ A tale of the second Capital City Go-Go open tryouts

The Washington Wizards G League affiliate, the Capital City Go-Go, held their second open local player tryouts at the Entertainment and Sports Arena Saturday morning in Southeast D.C.

Over 100 hopefuls filed into the arena with plans to impress Go-Go General Manager, Pop Mensah-Bonsu, head coach Ryan Richman, and his staff. 

Although each player in attendance has a unique path that’s led them here, they all shared one simple, yet intricate goal:

One shot in the G League. 

Adam Stanford, a prospect from California, traveled on a red eye to make the tryout on a less-than-ideal amount of sleep.

“My plane left at midnight from LAX, I had a two-hour layover in Denver, made it to Reagan National at five, checked into my hotel at six, took an hour nap and then Ubered here for tryouts,”  he said. 

“If I made this team it’d be big. Not just for me but for everyone who knows what I’ve been through from college to now.” 

Stanford is a 6-foot-4 wing from Campbellsville University, where he averaged 7 points, 5 rebounds, and was an academic All-American. 

Even with his positive outlook on the process, and an impressive showing Saturday morning, Stanford’s name wasn’t called for a follow-up workout later in the afternoon. 

The harsh reality that your chances are extremely slim to make a G League roster from an open tryout can be a tough pill to swallow, but as a guy who’s been on the opposite end of the chopping block, Mensah-Bonsu had an immense amount of respect for those who showed up to compete Saturday.

“Personally it’s tough because I never wanted to be that guy to read out the numbers of those who did make the team, and skip over those who didn’t,” Mensah-Bonsu said, “it’s heartbreaking. We always anticipate what the DMV has to offer in terms of the wealth of talent in this area.

"I was pleasantly surprised because we ended up selecting 15 guys to stick around for the afternoon portion, but going into this we were only planning to pick five.” 

Those who made the cut won’t be announced until a later date, which leaves the larger point of how those who were passed on respond?

The all-time leading scorer in Peach Sun Belt Conference history, Detrek Browning, was in attendance Saturday and put on a show. His combination of quickness, deep range shooting ability, and a knack for loose balls/putbacks captured the attention of every media member in attendance. 

However, his name wasn’t called for the next round of tryouts. 

Still, in a state of shock, he delivered words of encouragement not just for his self, but others to turn to after a similar letdown. 

“I for sure thought I was going to get a place here, but you just gotta focus and move on,” Browning said. “I quit my job in June to focus on basketball and it’s been paying off. I’ve seen my game increase exponentially.

“I did my best and that’s what matters,” he added. “I appreciate them not picking me up, it’s just going to make me work even harder.”




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Elena Delle Donne thanks makers of face mask, knee brace after 2nd MVP honors

Elena Delle Donne thanks makers of face mask, knee brace after 2nd MVP honors

Most MVP award winners thank coaches, parents and anyone who helped them become great. Elena Delle Donne is not most people.

The Washington Mystic's superstar forward had a lot to be thankful for after receiving the second MVP honors of her career, creating a long list on Twitter. Some injury-preventing accessory manufacturers made their way high up on her list.

Delle Donne became the first woman player to shoot 50/40/90 splits over the course of an entire WNBA season this year, but she was perhaps more grateful for the apparrel that allowed her to stay on the court: her knee brace and face mask. 

The Delaware native often deflects praise onto her teammates and coaches when receiving accolades, but when EDD's knee is being held together by her bulky brace and her nose is feeling protected after a fracture earlier in the season, they definitely deserve the thanks. 

She had a gruesome knee scare in a Game 2 loss to the Atlanta Dream in the playoffs last season, and even missed some early season games this year in recovery. Still, Delle Donne wouldn't let her knee keep her out of action, as her 31 regular season starts were the most games she's played since 2015. It's been evident she's had an edge all season to help her Washington Mystics get back to the Finals, and this time finish the job. 

Delle Donne's face mask has also been somewhat of a fashion trend in recent weeks with star athletes around the District. Wizards all-star guards John Wall and Bradley Beal along with Redskins runing back Derrius Guice, all wore the face masks in solidarity when they came to support the Mystics at the Entertainment and Sports Arena. 

Despite Delle Donne's nose having been fully recovered, she's kept the face mask on during games for style and reassurance. Considering these ailments, it's impressive Delle Donne's shooting touch not only hasn't been affected, but instead has improved. 

After a Game 2 win over the Las Vegas Aces, Delle Donne and Co. have the opportunity to make their season mantra come true and #RunItBack to a second straight WNBA Finals appearance.