Schofield drops weight with focus on versatility, longevity

On Monday, as the Wizards continued to address the media from the Disney campus, rookie forward Admiral Schofield revealed he had dropped between 15 and 20 pounds since the season halted in March. Listed at 241 points at the start of the season, Schofield says he’s now weighing in around 220 to 225 pounds.

Since the Wizards’ announcements that Bradley Beal and Davis Bertans would not join the team in Orlando, Wizards general manager Tommy Sheppard has stressed the importance of versatility across the roster and how replacing the duo would require “multiple players that can play multiple positions.” While Schofield says the weight loss was a goal of his since his sophomore year at Tennessee and a move made with the intention of extending his NBA career, the transformation seems perfectly tailored for what the Wizards need right now.

“I was able to get down to a weight where I’m able to play more positions for the team and just be more agile on the floor and go longer and play at a higher energy,” Schofield said.

Schofield saw limited action with the Wizards this season, appearing in 27 games and starting twice. His playing time was sporadic and generally dependent on the health of the players ahead of him in the rotation, but that did not hamper him from putting on a few standout performances. In just his fourth NBA game, a November 2 matchup against the Timberwolves, the rookie scored 15 points and was plus-10 in just 14:48 of action. He shot 5-5 (1.000) from the field, 3-3 (1.000) from 3-point range and 2-2 (1.000) from the line, becoming the first Wizards rookie in seven years to make at least five shots in a game without a miss.

Just over a month later, he scored 14 points against Memphis, thanks mostly to a 3-5 (.600) performance from beyond the arc. His best game of the season, however, came in early January – in Orlando of all places. Schofield played a career-high 35 minutes off the bench as eight Wizards missed the game due to injury. He scored a team-high 18 points and grabbed six rebounds, setting career highs in each category.

Most of Schofield’s action, though, came in the G League. He averaged over 30 minutes per game with Capital City Go-Go and did a little bit of everything for the team, averaging 16.0 points, 5.5 rebounds and 2.2 assists per game. Schofield says his time with the Go-Go helped him develop a much better understanding of the game and where he fit.

“I think the biggest thing was letting the game slow down for me in the G League and understanding NBA spacing,” Schofield said. “But also understanding the offense and getting as many reps as possible, knowing our coverages, knowing how to defend, getting reps (with different personnel), understanding different teams on the fly and also just adjusting to playing three or four times a week.”

Go-Go head coach Ryan Richman says what appealed to him most about Schofield from the start was his understanding of all the little things that contribute to winning.

“He came from a winning program and he came from playing with good players,” Richman said. “Usually when you have all those things, you have a recipe for a player who knows how to make winning plays. That’s really the biggest thing. Sometimes in the G League, you have a lot of guys who think they need to score all the time or make all the right plays all the time. But sometimes a simple play is the winning play.”

Richman praised Schofield’s willingness to buy into his role, whether it was with the Go-Go or the Wizards, and said that the more he was able to do to increase his positional flexibility and put himself in a position to make an impact on each end of the court, the more success he would have in the league.

“He needs to be able to guard multiple positions,” Richman said. “A player who can guard guards and wings, but also guard bigs at times if we need to play small. Your body type is important for that. Not everyone can do that, but he’s the perfect size now that he’s lost that weight.”

With Beal and Bertans absent, there is now a void to be filled on the wing for the Wizards. Schofield’s frame and ability to matchup up with multiple opponents could put him in a position to take over some of the wing minutes left by Beal and Bertans. But Schofield says the goal of the transformation wasn’t only about quickness and agility – it wasn’t even entirely about improving himself for the Orlando restart. Instead, it was a move made with his whole career in mind.

“I thought I was quick enough when I was the weight I was,” Schofield said. “It’s about being able to go as long as possible. That’s what it’s about it. It’s about being able to play for 10 years, being able to play for 12 years. Playing at (my previous weight) is not good for your knees, it’s not good for your joints. It’s all about health. That’s what it’s about.”

The transformation could bode well for the rookie in both the short and long term, expanding his responsibilities with the Wizards in the present and preserving his health in the future. Ask Schofield or those around him, though, and it always comes back to one thing: excelling in the role that he’s given.

“He can do all the things (the Wizards) expect him to do,” Richman said. “I think sometimes guys don’t love that idea of ‘hey, I’ve got to fit into this little position,’ but once you can show that you can master that role is when you can expand your role.”

“I’m just trying to be an All-Star in my role and affect winning,” Schofield said.

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