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Seraphin building on strong close

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Seraphin building on strong close

One might think, even in the world of basketballing giants, it hard for a wide-bodied 6-foot-9, 275-pounder to fade into the background. During the infancy of his NBA career, Kevin Seraphin largely managed to pull that off.

Over the close of his second season and through the opening days of training camp, it's been the opposite for the now 22-year-old center.

Funny what a little confidence can do.

With the media able to watch the entirety of Wednesday's split-squad scrimmage, the rising third-year center stood out for a "blue" squad that lost decisively. According to Seraphin's coach, that's been the norm this week out at George Mason University.

"Kevin has done good. He's been consistent, which I love," Randy Wittman said on hump day. "I haven't gone back any one day and thought I didn't notice Kevin out there. That's good."

During the scrimmage, Seraphin snagged multiple offensive rebounds in traffic. With the ball in his sizable mitts, he assertively and successfully took aim on the basket, whether a short jumper from the high post or quickly turning a rebound into a shot opportunity. The French Guyana native showed he's building on last season's impressive climax when he averaged 15.4 points and 7.0 rebounds while shooting 53.3 percent from the field over the final 16 games.

"I saw a lot of what I saw at the end of last year, which is positive," Wittman said. "Saw a lot of good things at the end of last year and we're seeing those same things here."

With Nene (plantar fasciitis) sidelined, Seraphin and Emeka Okafor are expected to handle the primary minutes in the middle for Washington during Sunday's preseason game at Charlotte. Even when Nene returns, Seraphin should not have his playing court time majorly curtailed if at all as the Wizards will look to impose their size on opponents.

Whether that playing time begins with the opening tap - or more likely as the first interior big man off the bench, the former first round pick and newly minted Olympian is ready.

"I have better confidence now. A year ago I wasn't playing. Now I'm playing. Now I have chance to prove some things," said Seraphin, who played sporadic minutes as a rookie and early last season. He became a lineup fixture following the midseason trade that brought Nene to Washington and shipped JaVale McGee out, scoring at least 10 points in each of his final 15 games.

"When you have confidence, you got more time on the court. Even if you have the same time, you feel like you have more time. Without having confidence, you try to make everything good. That's when you start to make things bad. When you've got confidence, you just play."

In addition to aiming for a playoff spot, Seraphin listed starting as one of his individual goals ("For sure, if I can be in the starting lineup, why not?"), along with wanting to be voted the league's Most Improved Player. With his self-belief brimming and having daily battles with his veteran mentors, why not.

"Those guys are really strong. Playing against Emeka and Nene every day, I can only get better."

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Familiarity for coach and GM should allow Capital City Go-Go to hit ground running

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Associated Press

Familiarity for coach and GM should allow Capital City Go-Go to hit ground running

Despite being a brand new franchise with a new roster and new facilities, the Capital City Go-Go will carry into their inaugural season a level of continuity. Both their general manager and head coach are familiar with what they are getting into and the people they will be working with.

GM Pops Mensah-Bonsu is no stranger to the D.C. community and the Wizards franchise. He made a name for himself starring at George Washington University, spent time with the Wizards as a player in their 2013 training camp and remained a frequent visitor to Wizards games as a scout for the Spurs in recent years.

"To be back in the community and the first general manager of the G-League team is special," Mensah-Bonsu said. "This is D.C.’s team. I want them to embrace us."

Head coach Jarell Christian played college ball in Virginia and goes back several years with Wizards coach Scott Brooks. Christian joined the Oklahoma City's G-League staff when Brooks was in his final year as head coach of the Thunder.

Christian began his coaching journey with an eye trained on how Brooks goes about his job.

"My introduction to pro basketball was under Coach Brooks and his philosophies. A lot of that stuff, I believe in wholeheartedly. That’s my foundation," Christian said. "I got a chance to know him through training camp and throughout that season. He and I developed a bond and a relationship that stood the test of time. To this day, we still talk often. It’s just another chance for me to reconnect with him and to continue to grow our relationship."

The Go-Go intend to make what they do as similar to the Wizards as possible. When guys like Devin Robinson, one of their two-way players, is called up he can step right in without a learning curve of the playbook or how they practice.

Having Christian in place will help that process in particular.

"There won’t be any issue or any slippage with guys going up and down to know what’s in store for them," Christian said. "A lot of the stuff that the Wizards will do, we will implement with the Go-Go. Just some offensive and defensive concepts. Some of the playcalls and the terminology will be the same."

"Whatever you see the Wizards doing, you will probably see the Capital City Go-Go doing, too," Mensah-Bonsu said.

The symmetry between the G-League and the NBA teams will also be helped by the fact they will share the same practice facility. Their proximity will come with many advantages from the Go-Go perspective.

"I think it’s going to help motivate these guys. We’re going to be practicing in the same place that the Wizards do and the Mystics do," Mensah-Bonsu said. "I think if these guys can see Dwight Howard and John Wall and Bradley Beal walking around every day, it will help motivate them to get to that next level."

"The exposure our players get with the Wizards [front office], the Wizards personnel, being able to watch them practice daily, watching their practice habits and what their routines may be, is really big," Christian said.

That element will also apply beyond the players. Christian, who is just 32 years old, will get to watch how an NBA coaching staff operates on a daily basis.

Christian has yet to take a tour of the new building in Ward 8, but he has seen blueprints. Among the amenities the Go-Go will enjoy that other G-League teams do not usually have is a dedicated dining area.

Many G-League teams do not go to that length.

"A lot of organizations do not provide food for their players on a daily basis, but we will. That’s the No. 1 thing in my opinion that’s gonna set us apart from our competitors," he said.

The Go-Go won't take the floor for their first game until November, but it seems like a good foundation is starting to take place.

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John Wall's sneaker closet is next-level – here are his favorite Adidas

John Wall's sneaker closet is next-level – here are his favorite Adidas

When John Wall re-signed with Adidas this past January, it was time to stock his shoe closet with all the newest, most exclusive Three Stripes designs. 

The brand is known for its designer collaborations and limited releases that can push the pricetags up into the hundreds. 

Cost is no object for Wall, who invited Chris Miller into the shoe closet of his Miami mansion. You can watch the full closet tour in the video player above.

Wall keeps thousands of dollars of footwear organized inside specially lit display cases. But what are his favorites? He pulled out six Adidas designs he's been loving this the summer. 

1. Raf Simons Replicant Ozweego Independence Day – These sneakers are the product of Adidas's collaboration with Belgian designer Raf Simons, who has worked as creative director of fashion houses Christian Dior and Calvin Klein. Wall got his hands on the Independence Day colorway of these sneakers before they were released in July. They're available retail for $450 at Saks Fifth Avenue

2. Yeezy Boost 700 "Wave Runner" – Designed as part of Kanye West's Yeezy collection, the "Wave Runner" has been a popular model since its first release in February 2017. A third release is scheduled sometime later this year, but to purchase them now, Flight Club sells pairs ranging from $575 to $1,320

3. Twinstrike ADV – Wall has the Twinstrike in multiple bold colorways. The shoe debuted late in 2017 and is more attainable than the first two pairs he showed off. They're available at Barneys New York for $180

4. EQT Support Ultra King Push “Bodega Babies” – These EQT Support sneakers got an update in collaboration with rapper Pusha T. The sock-style primeknit has been a popular design feature for Adidas. The sneakers are limited release, but retail at $220 at Barneys New York.

5. Pharrell NMD Hu Trail “Holi" in Pink Glow – This exclusive collaboration with hip-hop producer Pharrell Williams was inspired by the Holi festival of colors in India. Released in limited quantities in early March of 2018, the shoe's retail price was $250. To buy a pair now, it'll cost anywhere from $325 to $480 at Flight Club

6. Originals Gazelle – Finally, Wall gets to a classic! The Gazelle was originally designed in the mid-1960s and became one of Adidas's most recognizable, popular designs throughout the brand's history. They're popular, easy to find and affordable. The Adidas website has a whole section devoted to the Gazelle, which comes in men's, women's and kids' sizes. A standard pair of men's costs around $80 at retail

For those not keeping track, the six shoes above combine to cost around $2,000 or more. But whether people can afford them or not isn't the point. 

Wall told Miller how he couldn't afford the sneakers he loved as a kid, but still kept track of all the new releases and special styles. As he made money and started to build his shoe collection, he treated it like collecting fine art.

But also like art, you don't have to own designer sneakers to appreciate them. 

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