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View Poll Results: Where will the Wizards finish in the East?
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  #21   IP: 24.111.53.41
Old 02-20-2007, 04:32 PM
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Clicking on that link tells me to register too, but I can access it another way.

Here's the article:

Getting up off the floor

Bulls rookie Martynas Andriuskevicius is optimistic he'll recover fully from serious injuries resulting from a teammate's punch at practice

By Melissa Isaacson
Tribune staff reporter
Published February 17, 2007, 6:23 PM CST


He remembers getting hit, but not hitting the ground. He does not recall the convulsions or suddenly standing up and trying to walk—or much at all about his subsequent three days in intensive care.

But Martynas Andriuskevicius does remember fearing he would die.

You don't forget that.

"When I was in the hospital, doctors tell me, 'There might be complications, or everything will be fine in three days,'" the Bulls center says.

"What sort of complications?" he is asked.

"Die," Andriuskevicius says. "He didn't say it, but I knew it. The way he was talking. I lost my best friend at exactly the same age and I think, 'I am going to die too.'"

To say Andriuskevicius (pronounced An-droo-SKAV-ih-chis) is hard-headed would be only partially accurate.

His head obviously was not hard enough to avoid a fractured skull suffered the morning of Dec. 21 during an altercation with a teammate at practice with the Dakota Wizards, a team in the NBA's Development League.

The Lithuanian-born Andriuskevicius is also 20, his age brings an inherent brand of stubbornness he hardly can avoid.

But he is, at heart, resolute. He is sure, less than two months after the incident that caused speech and hearing problems, that he is "totally fine." He is convinced he will get the go-ahead to play basketball at his next doctor's appointment within the month. And he is also positive he has no interest whatsoever in anything Awvee Storey has to say.

Storey, 29, starred for Proviso West in the mid-1990s before graduating from prep school and going on to Arizona State. He is the player who punched Andriuskevicius in the side of the head after what both describe as a fairly typical practice confrontation.

Before that moment, according to Bulls assistant Pete Myers, both players were "on the verge of making it in the NBA." Today they are on divergent paths, bound by frustration, regret and nagging doubt.

Andriuskevicius, who is 7 feet 2 inches, 240 pounds, says he was going for an offensive rebound and "he hit me in the neck. I didn't say nothing bad."

"I said something like, 'What are you doing?' Someone said that he said I was hitting him all practice, but I didn't even guard him," he recalls.

The 6-6, 225-pound Storey says there was some contact but "all it was, was he approached me, came to my face and he was saying a lot of stuff and I was saying a lot of stuff, mostly to get him out of my face. I hit him once, and that was all she wrote."

Storey is relating this by phone from Germany, where he is playing for Braunschweig of the German Basketball League after being suspended indefinitely and having his contract terminated by the NBDL.

"I still feel really bad about it," Storey says. "Even though I know Marty is going to be fine, I'm still in prayer for him and how he's doing."

The thing is, Storey says, the two did not have any problems with each other. They arrived in Bismarck, N.D., about the same time, two weeks before the incident—Andriuskevicius from the Bulls, to whom he is under contract, and Storey from the D-League player pool, where he was under contract to the NBA after the Nets waived him.

"We were both brand new, we didn't get in our apartments at first and we ate together," Storey says. "We were eating together almost every night. I am still to this day in shock thinking about it because we were fine. Everyone asks me if I had anything against him, and I say, 'No, nothing.' It was just an ugly situation I regret terribly."

Storey expresses remorse


After the punch, Storey remembers having one of those moments when time stands still.

"I looked at him, and everyone was just standing there, frozen," he says. "No one knew how to react. It looked bad from the second he hit the ground. Eventually he got up, but I knew he wasn't all right. I never want to experience that again."


Teammate Renaldo Major was on the sideline but came onto the court to see his roommate "on the ground shaking. Our trainer did a good job of settling him down and then he stood and tried to walk around. But he couldn't."

While an ambulance took Andriuskevicius to the hospital, Major climbed into a team van that returned players to their apartments.

"Driving back in the van, [Storey] was all messed up," says Major, who remains in close contact with Andriuskevicius. "He was so struck by it. He's an excellent guy, a great teammate. He's competitive on the court, but there's no meanness about him. He wouldn't intentionally hurt anybody.

"You never know what's going on inside someone's head, what makes them go over the edge. Two people got damaged that day."

No charges

Andriuskevicius was placed in intensive care with a severe concussion, fractured skull, bleeding in his brain from a 2-centimeter hematoma and six staples literally holding his head together. In his haze, Bismarck police interviewed him, but he declined to press charges.

"There is nothing to come from him going to jail," Andriuskevicius says. "That was not going to help me heal."

Wizards general manager Tom Wagganer then called Bulls GM John Paxson, Paxson called Andriuskevicius' Chicago-based agent Herb Rudoy and doctors in Bismarck consulted with Bulls doctors in Chicago.

"What I heard at first just made you wonder how severe the injury was," Paxson says. "We heard skull fracture and bleeding in the brain, and that's obviously not something that he'll be fine with."

Storey says he tried to call Andriuskevicius a couple of times.

"Even before people said, 'Don't try to call, do try to call,'" he says. "I even called that night just to break the ice, to say, 'I didn't want to hurt you.' I called and I texted. … I want him to know. I would just appreciate him letting me look him in the eye and say, 'I'm sorry. I never meant for it to come out the way it did. If I could go back and take it back, I would.'"

Andriuskevicius spent Christmas in the hospital with teammates and a friend the Bulls flew in.

"I hate hospitals," he says. "I had sinus surgery and got sick a lot of times and was in the hospital with fevers when I was younger, but American hospitals are pretty good. They have single rooms. In Lithuania, you have 10 in a room."

Within a week, he was back in Chicago, though not without persistent reminders of what happened. Andriuskevicius says he had headaches for a week and that his right ear felt blocked, all residual effects.

"I called my mom one time and wanted to speak English because I couldn't speak Lithuanian, I just forgot how," he says. "But she couldn't understand English, so I just listened."

The Bulls have kept him close, having him accompany the team on trips and at practice, where he occasionally stands and shoots but doesn't do much else. He is not allowed to rebound because of the danger of a ball hitting him in the head, and he can't lift weights overhead for the same reason.
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  #22   IP: 24.111.53.41
Old 02-20-2007, 04:33 PM
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Caution prevails

"Head trauma is a serious thing," Bulls team physician Kathy Weber says. "[And] there's something called a second-impact injury. If you're hit again, it doesn't have to be as hard. You can have acute swelling in the brain, the brain can become herniated and people can drop dead in minutes."

Andriuskevicius, though, professes no fear.

"It doesn't scare me at all," he says. "Maybe some guy my size would be afraid of walking through the door and hitting his head, but not me. I'm not that kind of guy."

Rather, as he heals, he becomes an impatient guy.

"Before I just wanted to do a little bit, but now my appetite is growing and I want to practice like everybody, I want to play," he says. "It's hard because all your life is basketball."

Up until now, so much has come easily. He started playing basketball before the age of 3. He learned to speak English a couple of years ago and now speaks it fluently after only four months of listening to music, watching TV and reading.

"I'm not a guy who thinks about the future," he says with a shrug. "I think about today, tomorrow maybe, but not 10 years from now. I'm not a dreamer. Everything in my life comes naturally."

At least until the punch that sent him reeling.

"I didn't realize it was going to happen," he says. "He's just a big coward because he hit me when I wasn't looking. If I was ready, he wouldn't do it because he would be scared."

Asked about Storey's attempt to apologize, Andriuskevicius shakes his head.

"I know he was trying to call me later, almost a month after," he says. "I totally don't care about him. He better not show himself in my eyes. I don't want to see him."

Legal action is still a possibility, Andriuskevicius and Rudoy say, once they see how the injury might impact his career.

"Now I just want to play basketball," says Andriuskevicius, whom the Cavaliers drafted in the second round of the 2005 draft and traded to the Bulls last summer. "My goal is to get minutes on court."

Paxson says the Bulls acquired Andriuskevicius because they were "intrigued by his size and ability to shoot, and I thought we were veteran enough to at least take a look at him and work with him. That was the whole idea at the time."

They sent him to the Wizards to get playing time but now will be "ultraconservative" with him.

"You just don't know," Paxson says of his future. "He was going to have to make considerable progress as a player, but these were the years for him to do that and this is an obvious setback."

Though he is not a dreamer, Andriuskevicius does fantasize about blocking shots—eight, 10, 12 in one game.

"Blocking a shot is more emotional than making a shot," he says.

But he also thinks about his days in the hospital, three days when he believed he would die like his childhood friend David, about whom Andriuskevicius would say only "was in a bad accident. It's hard for me, and it's still hard."

Still, Bulls team physician Brian Cole calls Andriuskevicius' recovery to this point remarkable.

"He has done beautifully," he says. "I would almost go so far as to say he has no appreciable physical or psychological deficits. He is really fortunate he has no residual concerns."

Storey's rocky road

Storey, who appeared in 34 NBA games the last two seasons with the Nets and the Washington Wizards, has a considerably tougher road ahead.

"He has paid a gigantic price already," says his Chicago-based agent, Mark Bartelstein. "The guy has never been given anything. He has had a rough road to success to make it to the NBA at 27. He wasn't drafted, went through all the minor leagues, had to scratch and claw to be given an opportunity to go to training camps where nothing was promised to him.

"We've talked about it, and he knows now he has to rebuild and start from scratch."

Over the last month, Bartelstein has received e-mails and messages criticizing him for calling his client a good guy.

"He's not a villain," Bartelstein says. "He made a mistake, and he feels horrible. I know this has torn him up inside. I've known him for several years, and he has a great heart and this is devastating to him, how this happened and how he's portrayed by people who don't know him.

"It's not excusable, and it's not something you say 'just happened.' It was a terrible thing. But it wasn't like it was premeditated. It's just a horrible situation."

Storey says he spent an "ugly Christmas" at home in Chicago.

"I turned off my phone," he says. "It's still touchy to talk about because never in a million years could I think something like this could happen."

The other night in Germany, he saw the movie "Rocky Balboa" and says he was inspired by something Rocky said.

"He said when you get hit hard, it's how you bounce back from that that you develop character," Storey says. "I will bounce back and I will grow from this."

He did not seem to catch the irony.

misaacson@tribune
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  #23   IP: 208.107.183.100
Old 02-20-2007, 08:02 PM
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Hard to believe how serious a punch can be. Surprising nothing like that happened during that Pacers/Pistons brawl a few years ago, or the Nuggets/Knicks fight. I can see the feelings from both sides. It's really too bad that that had to happen.
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  #24   IP: 24.111.53.41
Old 02-21-2007, 05:30 PM
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Yeah, it is hard to believe.

Too bad that had to happen for sure. It would've been cool watching Marty get better. I was not impressed at all with him, but maybe after a few more games, he would've gotten used to the team. And Awvee was a very good player.


(By the way, nice signature. That commercial is so annoying.)
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  #25   IP: 208.107.183.100
Old 02-23-2007, 10:13 PM
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Well, now the Wizards have Corey Williams. I wonder why the Skyforce waived him?
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  #26   IP: 24.111.53.41
Old 02-24-2007, 12:04 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by USBasket_EricE View Post
Well, now the Wizards have Corey Williams. I wonder why the Skyforce waived him?
When I saw Corey Williams' name pop up in the transactions when the Skyforce waived him, I was wondering that. And I'm also wondering why almost everyone passed on him. We get almost last choice in the player pool.

Too bad Tremaine didn't work out. I thought he'd be a great addition since he had NBA experience. I'm really hoping that Corey will be able to make an impact right away. We may have beaten Fort Worth, but I still don't think we've returned to championship form.
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  #27   IP: 208.107.183.100
Old 02-25-2007, 07:51 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DakotaWizardsFan View Post
We get almost last choice in the player pool.
That's the one thing about the D-League that I don't like. The best team gets the last choice. By hearing Joerger talk about it on Wizards Watch every Sunday night, I'm guessing he doesn't like it either. It would probably be impossible to get Chris Porter if he were to ever try out for the D-League because what kind of team would pass him up? Hopefully Corey Williams can show his talent tomorrow night in Broomfield. The 14ers have been on a losing skid so hopefully the Wizards take advantage.

I've also been wondering about Maurice Carter. Didn't the Wizards reserve the rights to him at the beginning of the season? And he was supposedly going to be ready to play in January. It would be nice to see him back. He reminds me of a time when the Wizards were hoisting a championship trophy!
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Old 02-25-2007, 09:39 PM
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Quote:
I've also been wondering about Maurice Carter. Didn't the Wizards reserve the rights to him at the beginning of the season? And he was supposedly going to be ready to play in January.
Yeah, you're right. I have no idea what all went on with that situation, but it seems like we aren't going to be getting them.

When Joerger signed autographs after one of the games he was talking about the player pool thing and how frustrated he is with it. I would be too. What if you're a good team and your best two players would leave? You're no longer the best team probably, but you can't get good players as replacements because according to standings, you still are good.

And the Kings played on TV tonight. Justin Williams only got to play for about the last minute, but I got to see him dunk. He also traveled though, but still. The Kings play on TV about 5 more times (I forgot the exact number) this season so you might wanna watch out for that.
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  #29   IP: 24.111.53.41
Old 03-06-2007, 05:07 PM
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Any idea why we waived James Maye?
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  #30   IP: 208.107.183.100
Old 03-07-2007, 04:09 PM
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I don't know if you got the paper or not, but they signed some guy from Brazil named Leonardo Di Pacce Dos Santos ("Morro" for short). He's a 6' 11" forward. They waived Maye because they had too many players (Chris McCray especially) at his position and he was the odd man out, which is too bad. He was having an excellent season. Joerger commented that Santos speaks Portuguese, but he didn't say whether or not he speaks any English. Just as long as he's a great player! We'll find out tonight against an Idaho team that the Wizards hold a 2-0 series lead over.

But just watch. Maye will go to another team and lead them to the D-League championship.............. or not.
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