Former NBA player Sam Cassell made a visit to his old stomping grounds Thursday, conducting a basketball clinic for more than 75 students at Dunbar.
"This place has done tremendous things for me," said Cassell, an alumnus who now works as an assistant coach for the Washington Wizards. "This is where my groundwork, my roots, started."
Cassell joined Wizards guards Bradley Beal and Garrett Temple to take the students through a fundamentals workshop, which included passing, shooting and dribbling drills. The event was a prelude to Oct. 17, when the Wizards will play against the New York Knicks in the inaugural Baltimore Basketball Classic, a preseason game at Baltimore Arena.
The Wizards' return will be especially meaningful, as the 2013-14 season coincides with the 50th anniversary of the franchise's move from Baltimore in 1973. The team was formerly known as the Baltimore Bullets.
The game will also be a homecoming for Knicks star Carmelo Anthony, who spent his first three years of high school at Towson Catholic.
"I think it's going to be sold out. If not sold out, it'll be real crowded," Cassell said. "We've got to get the Baltimore fans back down to D.C., because we've got a good product to put on the court this year."
Beal said he was glad to spend time with the students Thursday.
"It means a great deal for us to be able to give back and for them to put a smile on our face and to teach them a few things about basketball," the second-year player said. "We never had any guys come back and give clinics or camps at my school."
Brandon Giles, who plays on the offensive line for Dunbar's football team, said he was excited when he heard the Wizards would be coming.
"Being an athlete myself, it's good to see someone doing something positive with their talent," he said. "We wanted to be around these guys because they are role models for us."
Eddie Nelson, a Dunbar senior, said he will definitely be at the Baltimore Basketball Classic.
"Yes, my mom already got me some tickets. So I'll be there when they come here," Nelson said. "Very excited, because they haven't been here and I'd like to see what they've got and what they're going to do for the city they left."
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