Team's attitude adjustment puts Webber in good spirits


SHEPHERDSTOWN, W.Va. -- Chris Webber has been at the Washington Bullets' training camp for two days, and already he has noticed a tremendous change from last season's team.

"Attitude," Webber said yesterday. "It seems like this team has a different atmosphere, and a different attitude."

Maybe that impression came when rookie Rasheed Wallace first dunked on Webber, then began woofing in his face early in

Monday's scrimmage. Webber participated in his first practice yesterday, and noticed the increase in intensity.

"Just the whole environment here, it feels good," said Webber, who signed a six-year contract Monday for a reported $59 million. "It looks like everyone worked hard in the off-season. And for us to get better as a team, that's good."

The team broke camp yesterday and will practice at Bowie State this afternoon before flying to Charleston, S.C., for tomorrow's first preseason game, against the New York Knicks.

Word on Wallace

Coach Jim Lynam was asked for his early assessment of Wallace.

"Overall he was very good, and he worked hard," said Lynam. "I expected a very competitive guy, and a very athletic guy. And I think I've seen all that."

The 6-foot-10, 248-pound Wallace has run from baseline to baseline and demonstrated a soft shooting touch from about 15 feet, which should benefit a Washington team that had problems on the perimeter.

Wallace, however, is still adjusting to NBA defense. While checking Gheorghe Muresan during Monday's scrimmage, Wallace caught a hard elbow to the jaw.

"Now I know how to play him," Wallace said about Muresan. "I just get around his hip and when he swings that elbow, I duck.

"Defensively, this is a little more challenging," he added. "In college you could say 'Coach, let's go to zone,' when you're tired. You can't do that here and when you get tired, you just get scored on."

High school reunion

As Wallace checked into the hotel last Thursday, he hardly noticed the player in the lobby hiding behind a newspaper. Only when that player said, "What's up, young boy?" did Wallace realize it was Harry Moore, a former high school teammate at Simon Gratz in Philadelphia.

Wallace started at Simon Gratz early in his freshman season only because of Moore's misfortune. A senior and the team's starting center, Moore was sidelined after being shot in the leg.

"It was near Thanksgiving, and Harry went to a party and got shot," Wallace recalled. "We went to the hospital the next day, and later at practice, Coach [Bill Ellerbee] said, 'You have to fill the middle spot now.' "

For the next four years, Wallace was the starting center, with Moore coming back to play power forward when he recovered. Moore, who is in Washington's camp for the second straight season, later became an All-Atlantic 10 Conference player at St. Bonaventure.

"The last person I expected to see was Harry," Wallace said. "Hopefully he can make the team and we can be teammates again."

Around the horn

With Mark Price resting the inflamed plantar fascia of his left heel, Doug Overton probably will start at point guard tomorrow night. . . . Kevin Duckworth on Sunday had what Lynam described as "his best practice" in his past two years with the Bullets. But Duckworth has practiced sparingly since, and any chance of a reserve role he could have gained seems diminished.

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