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Thursday October 5, 2006 6:09 PM


Notes: Shooting Star?


McGrady raves about Novak's shooting form in training camp




Damien Pierce
Rockets.com Staff Writer


AUSTIN -- After wrapping up practice Thursday inside the University of Texas' Cooley Pavilion, Rockets star Tracy McGrady moved from one practice court to the next before settling into a spot to change his shoes.

Why the move to change shoes?

He apparently didn't want to miss watching the man who doesn't miss open jumpers on the other court: Steve Novak.

"He is the best shooter I've ever seen," McGrady said. "I don't care if he can do anything else. He can shoot and I love the way he shoots. I don't care if he can't dribble, he can't rebound, can't play defense, that man can shoot the ball."

Novak, a second-round draft pick, was certainly selected for that reason.

He set Marquette's school-record with 354 career three-pointers and knocked down an absurd 46.1 percent of his three-point attempts in college. Houston drafted him in an effort to boost its perimeter shooting.

Novak said he appreciated McGrady's praise, but realizes Rockets coach Jeff Van Gundy won't be so forgiving on the other aspects of his game.

"Obviously, to have a guy like that say that, means a ton," Novak said. "I don't think coach would say not to worry about those other things. But I like the way Tracy thinks."

Novak is attempting to work himself into the regular rotation during training camp and has spent time playing both power forward and small forward.

While the rookie is developing other areas of his game, McGrady said he'd be happy to do all the work for him.

"With all the attention that teams like to give me when I handle the ball and come off those pick and rolls, those guys just stand there wide open," McGrady said of Novak and Houston's other three-point shooters. "I do all the work for them. They just sit out there and twiddle their thumbs and wait on the ball to come and shoot the ball. What a job they have on the offensive end."

Bonzi's Back: During Thursday's workout, Rockets swingman Bonzi Wells participated in contact drills for the first time since joining the team on Monday.

Wells, who has been dealing with a groin injury since the end of last season's playoffs, said he participated in most of the team's scrimmage.

"I did as much as I possibly could," Wells said. "It was my first day of practice and my first time to play any live basketball since the NBA Playoffs last year, so I felt a little bit awkward. My timing was off, but the training staff is doing a good job of working with me."

Wells expects to regain his rhythm in the next two weeks.

Bad Luck: Since having the option on his contract picked up in June, Rockets forward Chuck Hayes has been electrocuted by a water fountain and has slipped on a puddle of a water in practice to injure his groin.

Could anything else happen, Chuck?

"I'm beat up, man," Hayes said. "I got aches and pains all over the place, but I'm going to be alright."

Hayes returned to practice Thursday after missing the team's first few practices with a groin injury.

The forward said he injured his groin about two weeks ago when he slipped on a wet spot while posting up during a scrimmage. He ended up doing the splits as forward/center Matt Haryasz fell on top of him.

Hayes also had a contusion on his pelvic bone and was electrocuted at Tracy McGrady's Celebrity Softball Classic when he went to get a drink of water.

"I've been getting treatment every day," said Hayes, referring to the groin injury. "It felt good to get back to practice. I'm two days behind so I have to work twice as hard."