Wittman's show of emotions unifies Wizards

Wittman's show of emotions unifies Wizards
April 18, 2013, 10:45 am
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The teardrop is a high-arching shot that sails above the highest leapers and shot-blockers and hits nothing but net on descent.

A noted shooter in his playing days, Wizards coach Randy Wittman knows plenty about that. 

As a coach, Wittman is more of a straight shooter.  

Martell Webster let the cat out of the bag Thursday as Wizards players cleaned out their lockers after their 29-53 regular season. They lost the finale at the Chicago Bulls 95-92 on Wednesday night without four starters who sat because of injuries. 

“Randy is awesome, honestly. I think this is the most fun I've had as far as the head coach.  He’s passionate. He really cares about this team,” said Webster, who will be come a free agent July 1 after just one season in Washington. “I was telling him this today during the meeting, after we lost that 12th game … he’s crying after that game and he told us he cared about us and for me that was the point in the season that (I said to myself), ‘I’m in.’

“Totally in.  Bought into the system and when I did that, that’s when my season began turn into a positive light and I started to succeed after that point. That meant a lot. Didn't care about his job.  He just cared about guys that he was coaching. That was amazing. That was touching for me. “

The Wizards had lost 101-101 in overtime at the Atlanta Hawks on Nov. 21, giving up a shot at the end of regulation and a game-winning shot with 1.9 seconds left by Kyle Korver. Webster appeared to win the game on a made basket, but it was waved off by officials after a review determined the clock had expired. Three days later, the Wizards fell 108-106 at home to the Charlotte Bobcats in double overtime.

The San Antonio Spurs came through and blitzed the Wizards two nights later 118-92.  That’s when Wittman's moment came. And he didn't deny it, either, though he first made fun of rookie Bradley Beal's tendency to tear up.

“We only had one guy that really cried a lot and that was our young kid, Bradley,” Wittman said to a laughter. “He’s 19, come on.”

The Wizards didn't have John Wall for the first 33 games or Nene for the first nine to start the season and missed several others as the roster became a revolving door with D-League call-ups and late additions. They were 4-28 at one point but finished with a winning record at Verizon Center (22-19). 

“We went through so much at the start of the year. The thing that really got me emotional more was the fight and the heart that these guys were putting into it and we had nothing to show for it,” Wittman said. “We had the first victory in our hands. It was over and Korver hits a half-court shot. It’s taken away from you. There was a lot of emotion. This is a game of emotion.

“I’m an emotional guy.  I don’t hide things from you guys. I don’t hide things from my players. I wear my emotions on my sleeve. That was the point that showed me that these guys, even though we were 0-12, had a lot of heart, had a lot conviction to go out and continue to fight. I wanted them to know, even though we were 0-12, how much I appreciated that.  How much I really trusted in them.”

Beal, who missed 26 games with multiple injuries including to both legs, hadn't witnessed anything like Wittman crying since high school.

“He’s an emotional guy. He knows that we can be good. It’s just letting games go. I think everybody felt the same way," Beal said. "We have to get one, definitely for coach. It just showed he was passionate, that he loved us and that he wanted the best for us.

“It’s nothing to laugh about. It's just how he feels. I cried a few times."

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