The group of players was primarily comprised of former collegians from the states of North and South Carolina, who had distinguished themselves during their collegiate careers. The weekend started on Saturday morning with drills and a teaching session in which a basic offensive shell was installed. The players were then divided into teams and went into game competition.
“What we were looking for are guys that just jump out at you,” said Bobcats Assistant General Manager Karl Hicks. “We do have some spots available in our mini-camp for summer league. A few of the guys really played well and caught the eyes of the coaches and the basketball staff.”
From Saturday’s initial group of free agents, the basketball staff picked 20 players to participate in an “All-Star” game on Sunday that was open to the public at the Bobcats Basketball Center in Fort Mill, South Carolina. After the game, four players were chosen to move on to the team’s mini-camp, which opens on Tuesday – point guards Patrick Johnson (Ball State) and Pierre Wooten (Winthrop) and big men Anthony Greenup (Shaw) and Moustapha Diouf (Queens).
“I really liked the intensity, how they competed and I thought it was a great opportunity,” said Bobcats General Manager and Head Coach Bernie Bickerstaff. “Those guys deserve a shot. It was a terrific group and the coaches did a nice job of organizing the event.”
After a year playing overseas in Turkey, Wooten knew this was a golden opportunity to catch the eyes of the Bobcats basketball staff.
“The competition was very good and you have to be able to adapt really quick,” said Wooten, who had seven points, three assists and three rebounds in Sunday’s game. “If the coach tells you to do something, you have to do it right now. You have to adapt to your players right now because you may not have that second chance. I would be a fool to tell you there’s no pressure because there is pressure when you’re competing for a job. You’re competing every single minute, every single second, but you just have to go out there and block everything out and do what you do best.”
Greenup (6-7, 220 pounds) recorded the game’s only double-double with 14 points and 10 rebounds, while shooting 7-of-10 from the field. Diouf (6-10, 215 pounds) totaled nine points, 10 rebounds and six blocked shots.
The Bobcats’ first mini-camp will run from Tuesday through Sunday before the team leaves on the following Monday for Minnesota to participate in summer league action. Over 20 players are expected to make up the mini-camp roster, including three contract players that were chosen in the Expansion Selection, players that became unrestricted free agents after being chosen in that draft, the team’s rookies and other free agents.
“We’ve got over 20 guys coming into this mini-camp and we can only have three contract players,” said Bickerstaff. “(Jamal) Sampson, once he gets ready, will be able to participate because he missed 25 games (with injury). Then there are some guys that we’ll bring in that went to the unrestricted list when we selected them in the expansion selection – like (Tamar) Slay. The three contract guys look like (Theron) Smith, (Jason) Kapono and (Gerald) Wallace.”
Now with the weekend’s activities behind them, you can add Moustapha Diouf, Anthony Greenup, Patrick Jackson and Pierre Wooten to that list.