Blatche Q&A At ESPN Zone

Photo CD Brown for DC UrbanSports

Wizards forward/center Andray Blatche addressed fans and the media last night at the ESPN Zone downtown.

Questions ranged from player injuries, the 'Big Trade' his new role on the team, to going back to school and getting a degree, Gilbert Arenas, and what his idea of a perfect date might be.

Definitely a cornucopia of questions.

Q. What NBA player would you mostly compare your game to?

After pondering the question for a few minutes we got the following answer.

Andray Blatche. "I'm not sure. I don't know. I'll have to get back to that question."

Q. The team has been based heavily around the Big Three: Haywood, Jamison, Caron, and Arenas. Now that three of the four are gone, how do you adjust to playing with the new guys, and how do you adjust to playing without the new guys that you're used to playing with for the last three to four years. How did your game change?

AB. "My game changed because I have to step up. I have a different role now. I have more of a front role. The chemistry was there for us. We all have one thing in mind - that's winning... We just go out there and give a lot of effort and work hard as a team."

(Not taking away from his former teammates, Blatche acknowledges the energy of the newly acquired players.)

AB. "It seems like it's more fun playing with a bunch of younger guys, because we all have so much energy, and work extremely hard."

Blatche, declared for the 2005 NBA Draft out of high school, was picked up by the Washington Wizards with their only selection, the 49th pick. Naturally, the question came up about Blatche returning to school.

Q. ... are you leaving the option open to get your degree, still?

AB. "That's still going to be something I'm going to do. My mom wants me to do it, and I'm going to find time to do it, and get it done."

Good for you, Andray.

Q. When your team mate (Josh Howard) got hurt, and is now out for the entire year what did you think? Did you think, here we go again, back at the rebuilding stage again?

AB. "I definitely thought here we go again. ...It's a set back for us, but we have great guys to come in. Al Thornton is stepping up and playing great for us. We're just going to continue to hustle and play hard."

Q. We hear reports that you are the party guy around town. What do you want to say to those people who say that Andray Blatche spends too much time at the club and isn't getting it done on the court?

AB. "When I first got here I was 18 years old. I'm not going to lie, I used to go out a lot, but then as I got older I matured. That's something I did a lot in the past, but now not as much. That's something that's pretty much old, back in the younger days."

Q. How hard is it to put the distractions aside that you read about in the paper and see online, and really focus on the game?

A. "You just got to block it out, keep your focus on your teammates and practice, and games. Myself, I didn't read the papers and watch the news or nothing like that. I wanted to stay focused when I played my game."

Q. What would your dream date be like?

(This question also gave Blatche reason to ponder).

AB. "It all depends. Is it my girlfriend, or just someone I just started dating?"

Q. How 'bout for someone you've just started courting?

Blatche, blushing and pondering, yet again, and still not receiving an answer, the female questioner then asked...

Q. Where would you take me on a date?

AB. "You like to eat? 'Cause I like to eat."

Q.I like to eat. I'll order a nice big steak.

AB. "We got Ruth's Chris, then."

Q. And then?

Movies aside, Blatch adding that "you can't really talk at the movies", Blatche hesitated again until someone from the audience shouted, ESPN Zone!

It must be hard to take random questions in a public setting from people you hardly know.

AB. "One-on-one time so we can talk, and get to know one another, and see if the vibe is right."

Q. Has the team put the whole Gilbert Arenas thing behind them now? Where is the team now in terms of that whole situation?

AB. As an organization, we wished it hadn't occurred, but it had. Gilbert and JaVaris made the decision by bringing that (guns) into the arena, and they're paying for it now - suspended for the rest of the season. My thing is that it was a mistake and you can't hold it against them. Nobody's perfect, and we're trying to look past it and give them a fresh start next season."

In recent news, the Wizards have signed guard Shaun Livingston to a ten-day contract. Livingston was the L.A. Clippers’ first-round pick in 2004.

Ten days? You better play hard, man.

The Wizards are at home tonight against New York. Listen to Blatche and coach Saunders discuss the matchup.

Blatche is faring well, as of late, averaging 10 points per game. He scored 25 points in a win over Chicago on Monday, and a career high 33 points in a 109-99 win over Minnesota the week before.

**Updates** Wizards lose 116-118 in OT to Knicks. Wizards beat New Jersey on Sunday, 89-85.

Wizards waive Mike James