"I wasn't delivering any message other than to tell him to shut up and get on with the drill," says Fitch. "I'm not playing any head games with Brent. I jump on all these guys once in a while so they'll keep hating me."
Emerging from the Pit
The talent was lean at last week's Portsmouth Invitational Tournament (a.k.a. the Pit), where players who are long shots for selection in the first round of the draft hope to improve their standing. Among those who succeeded were Mark Pope, the 6'10" Kentucky center, who showed scouts some surprising athleticism in both his offensive moves and his shot blocking; Moochie Norris, the 6'1" point guard from West Florida (and previously from Auburn), who showed such speed, quickness and creativity off the dribble that one scout likened him to Joe Dumars; Bernard Hopkins, a rugged 6'7" small forward from Virginia Commonwealth, who proved he could play outside the post; and Donta Bright, the 6'6" UMass forward, who can take it to the hole, but who also displayed some NBA three-point range, which was one of the big question marks about him.
Around the Rim
The final two spots on Dream Team III will be filled on April 14, and sources on the selection committee say the top candidates are Shawn Kemp, Mitch Richmond and Jason Kidd. The volatile Gary Payton is considered a long shot because of his reputation for trash-talking, even though some committee members admit Payton is a better player than Kidd. The committee's greatest regret is the premature selection last year of Bucks forward Glenn Robinson. Most observers believe that, with Vin Baker playing so well, Robinson isn't even the best player on his own NBA team.