Reporting Gigi Barnett
BALTIMORE (WJZ)—Back on home court. Baltimore native and Washington Wizards assistant coach Sam Cassell returns to Charm City this week.
Gigi Barnett explains his team is coming back to Baltimore for a game with the Knicks.
Around the waist, passing and dribbling. They’re the fundamentals of basketball retired pro Sam Cassell learned on the court at Dunbar High School in East Baltimore.
This week, the now Washington Wizards assistant coach is back to teach the skills at a clinic.
“This is where my groundwork and my roots started right here at Dunbar,” he said. “I have nothing but love for this city and this school.”
His visit comes just a few weeks before the Wizards square off against the New York Knicks and fellow Baltimore native Carmelo Anthony in a preseason opener at the Baltimore Arena.
The game marks the first time since 1999 that the sport is being played professionally in Charm City.
“It can be real crowded. I know for a fact people want to see Carmelo play. He’s one of our youngest stars in the NBA. Also he’s a part of our community. He’s from Baltimore,” Cassell said.
With his winning high school team banners still hanging in the gym, Cassell came to Dunbar armed with other Wizards coaches and players.
“It definitely made sense for us to come up here, and on top of that Sam went to this high school. It’s just a huge connection,” said Bradley Beal, Washington Wizards guard.
“I just want to be around these guys because they’re big role models for us,” said Brandon Giles, Dunbar High School student.
“Coming from Dunbar and seeing where he is, it makes you think ‘I can do that too,’” said Tyjae Clayborne, Dunbar High School student.
While the Wizards prepare against their showdown against the Knicks, they say the clinic is a way to cultivate Baltimore fans, and the younger, the better.
“No doubt about it. We gotta get the Baltimore fans back down to D.C. because we got a good product to put on the court this year,” Cassell said.
But first they have to bring the game back to Baltimore.
Tickets for the game between the Wizards and Knicks are on sale now.