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Wittman kept Wizards from giving up
Posted By HOOPSWORLD On February 26, 2013 @ 7:00 pm In Wirenews | Comments Disabled
by Jeff Zillgitt, USA TODAY Sports
Dejected, frustrated, flabbergasted, baffled, angry and disappointed, Washington Wizards coach Randy Wittman endured through all the close losses and the few blowout defeats.
He kept coaching, kept prodding, kept encouraging. He combined tough love with thoughtful teaching.
Wittman also had perspective.
“It is a game,” Wittman said Dec. 9, the day after the Wizards dropped to 2-15. “There’s a lot going out there in the real world that brings you back to reality. … There’s a lot of things that are a lot more important than winning or losing game.
“Though, that’s our livelihood. Listen, you get up every morning. All I do is try to prepare these guys and put them in positions I can best utilize them in. I’ll continue to do that. It’s my job. That’s what keeps me going. This is my job. I’m a pretty stubborn-willed guy. I don’t give in to injuries or circumstances — 2-15, losing close games. My job is to try and figure out the right buttons to push to get some more wins.”
It got worse before it got better for the Wizards, who eventually dropped to 4-28.
“These guys stayed together,” Wittman said. “They fought night in and night out. There was no finger-pointing when you’re 4-28.”
He saw the big picture. Even with point guard John Wall and center Nene out with injuries, the Wizards competed. In those first 32 games, Washington lost five overtime games, including two in double overtime, and lost 12 games by six points or less. They were rarely blown out.
“You could see the grit of this team, the character of not giving in,” Wittman said. “That was a positive even though there wasn’t a lot to show for it from a win-loss record.”
He kept the locker room together when it could have imploded. Wittman convinced the Wizards they were not a one- or two-man team. He refused to let players believe they were losers.
“It’s hard, especially when the numbers don’t add up,” Wizards forward Martell Webster said. “You kind of feel like there’s a divide in the team and begin to wonder why we’re sticking with the … [For more on NBA A-Z: Randy Wittman kept Wizards from giving up, click here.]
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