The Pelican Blog

Pelicans Day 4 training camp notebook

By: Jim Eichenhofer,, @Jim_Eichenhofer

jeff_withey_mug_239x250.jpgThe New Orleans Pelicans have plenty of new faces this fall, but only one player who qualifies as a rookie in terms of professional experience. Saturday’s preseason game at Houston (7 p.m., 105.3 WWL-FM) is Jeff Withey’s first as a pro, with him potentially lining up against one of the most feared centers in the NBA, Dwight Howard.

“It’s going to be a handful, but I’m excited for it,” Withey said. “He’s obviously a great player.

“I’m extremely excited (to play in an NBA game). I’ve dreamt about this my whole life. Now it’s here. It came so fast. I hope I’m ready. I’m excited for this team – I think we’re going to keep getting better and better.”

Withey’s whirlwind week of training camp concluded Friday with the team’s seventh practice since Tuesday morning. After going up against several teammates who are more physically mature, the 23-year-old acknowledged that he needs to add strength and weight to his 222-pound frame.

“It’s something I’m going to get to,” Withey said, before breaking into a smile. “Right now my body is taking a little bit of a beating. It’s part of the process. I’m learning from it.”

Other notes from Friday:

• Although he already has some experience as a pro in the D-League and overseas, Arinze Onuaku will also play in an NBA game for the first time this preseason. Monty Williams on the Syracuse University product: “He has something that we don’t have – an athletic guy who is about 280 (pounds). But he can move. That’s something that you can use throughout the year in spot minutes, maybe if him to guard in a pinch against a big guy.”

• The Pelicans scrimmaged extensively this morning. “Today we played a lot more than we have (this week),” Williams said.

• New Orleans will hold a shootaround Saturday morning at the Toyota Center.