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Newz Forum: BASKETBALL: Top pick excused to prep for Olympics

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posted on Jul, 5 2004 @ 04:00 PM
Associated Press

CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- The Charlotte Bobcats have selected their summer league team, and top draft pick Emeka Okafor isn't on it. Okafor, the No. 2 overall pick in the NBA draft, has gone to Los Angeles to work with a personal trainer in preparation for Olympics.

"He's working on some individual skills and also our program," coach Bernie Bickerstaff said Monday.

Bickerstaff said Okafor would not be among the 14 players opening summer league play Tuesday in Minnesota. He also won't play on the team that goes to Utah later this month.

The Bobcats are concerned that Okafor will be tired from too much summer basketball when the NBA season begins. So they've limited what he'll do in Charlotte since he's sure to have a busy schedule with the U.S. Olympic team.

Bickerstaff would like Okafor back with the Bobcats for their training session next week, but isn't sure it will happen.

Of the players going to Minnesota, only Jason Kapono and Gerald Wallace are under contract. Both were selected in the NBA expansion draft.

The rest of the roster includes free agent Todd Fuller, who played at North Carolina State, and Tamar Slay and Loren Woods, free agents picked in the expansion draft.

Patrick Jackson, a guard who advanced to Charlotte's minicamp through an open tryout, will also play in Minnesota.

Pierre Wooten from Winthrop and Moustapha Diouf from Queens College were both on target to make the summer team, but Wooten had to leave camp because of a death in the family and Diouf has a leg injury. Both players advanced through the open tryout, and Bickerstaff said they will be invited back for the next minicamp.


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