Hornets add size with Armstrong, Simmons

Wednesday, June 28th 2006, 10:14 pm
By: News On 6

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) _ One city just wasn't big enough to hold the Hornets two new towering titans, Hilton Armstrong and Cedric Simmons.

The Hornets' two new additions _ Armstrong at 6-foot-11 and Simmons at 6-foot-9 _ stopped by New Orleans' aquarium at lunchtime Thursday and then took a ride on the water taxi in Oklahoma City's downtown canal in the afternoon to meet fans in the team's two home cities.

``I think we're the only draft picks that traveled to two different cities,'' Simmons said. ``That probably makes us more special in a way.''

After attending parties following the draft in New York on Wednesday night, the players grabbed an early morning flight to New Orleans to prepare for a noon gathering. After that, it was time to hop on the team plane and head to Oklahoma City, which temporarily housed the team after Hurricane Katrina and will host 35 of the team's home games next season.

At their grand entrance in Oklahoma City, the two rode together on a boat before climbing stairs to a stage where they were presented Hornets hats and Oklahoma City jerseys with the position where they were taken in the draft _ Armstrong's featuring the number 12 and Simmons' the number 15.

``It's been a long day but it's been a good day,'' coach Byron Scott said.

Armstrong and Simmons got to know each other a little bit over the course of the draft workouts, where they were paired against each other often _ including one instance in Oklahoma where a Simmons elbow landed on Armstrong's nose.

``He's the type of player that I'm glad he's going to be on my team,'' Armstrong said. ``He works hard. He doesn't give up on anything. He's right there behind me, right there in front of me, on the side of me, everywhere.''

Both players said they hadn't begun to think about where they'd fit in for the Hornets in terms of playing time. They're expected to help provide relief for veteran P.J. Brown, who has had to play out of position at center instead of power forward. Scott said after the draft that neither Armstrong or Simmons are expected to start right away.

``That's not our choice,'' Armstrong said. ``We've got to make it tough for the coaches. We've got to play real well and let the coaches make that decision.''

And while they compete against one another, Scott expects the two will also be able to turn to each other as they try to learn the Hornets' system.

``It's a great day for us because we've added two great basketball players, young players that are going to be in this league for a long time and the good thing about it is they get to push each other,'' Scott said. ``I think that's going to be fun.''