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Bobcats Work Out Draft Prospects Long And Hard

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) _ The Charlotte Bobcats may have a new coach, but they've kept their reputation of putting draft prospects through the toughest workout in the NBA.

Players come to town with gaudy resumes _ and leave gasping for air.

``You're sprinting even to water breaks,'' forward Jared Dudley of Boston College said Friday.

``It was by far the toughest workout I've had,'' Corey Brewer of Florida said after his audition earlier in the week.

Added Florida State's Al Thornton: ``It kind of caught me off guard,''

Former coach and general manager Bernie Bickerstaff created the workouts to test how players react when they're tired. So he put players through a series of conditioning drills before they even picked up a ball.

Bickerstaff gave up the coaching and GM role at the end of the season for a job in the front office, but new coach Sam Vincent didn't make any changes.

``We really need to see a kid's explosiveness, his agility. We need to see how he moves off the left leg and the right leg,'' Vincent said. ``So we're trying to do some substantial testing just to get a feel for where their body is. And that's before they even touch a basketball.''

Dudley, who was working out for his seventh team, did everything from push-ups and vertical leaps to long jumps and sprints. After he finally picked up a ball, he was told to dribble the length of the court several times as fast as he could.

``You basically have the NFL combine out here,'' said Dudley, whose gray workout jersey was completely drenched in sweat.

Dudley was joined Friday by Herbert Hill of Providence and Florida's Chris Richard for the afternoon workout. Carl Landry of Purdue, Ivan Radenovic of Arizona and Charlotte's E.J. Drayton worked out in the morning.

The Bobcats plan to bring in about two dozen players before they pick eighth and 22nd in the June 28 draft.

That means a lot more heavy breathing.

``It was a lot of wear and tear on the body, a lot of fatigue,'' said Thaddeus Young of Georgia Tech after his workout Wednesday.

While Thornton called it ``the best workout'' he's had, not everyone enjoys the experience.

Last year, Brandon Roy of Washington and Grambling State's Brion Rush got sick and couldn't continue. Other players have shied away from accepting invitations.

Dudley had some advice for the other draft prospects: be prepared and come hydrated.

``They probably have the least water breaks,'' Dudley said. ``Philadelphia gave you 10 water breaks. So if you're coming from Philly to here, I feel sorry for you.''

Notes: Vincent said veterans Raymond Felton, Adam Morrison, Alan Anderson and Ryan Hollins have all agreed to play on Charlotte's summer league team next month. ``Especially Raymond, that was very important for me,'' Vincent said. ``He's a guy that we want to have a little bit more leadership from on the team.'' ... Vincent said while he hasn't talked to leading scorer Gerald Wallace, who will likely opt out of his contract and become an unrestricted free agent, he wants him to return. ``I think he brings a very strong element to this team,'' Vincent said.
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