Seraphin building on strong close

Seraphin building on strong close
October 6, 2012, 5:31 pm
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One might think, even in the world of basketballing giants, it hard for a wide-bodied 6-foot-9, 275-pounder to fade into the background. During the infancy of his NBA career, Kevin Seraphin largely managed to pull that off.

Over the close of his second season and through the opening days of training camp, it's been the opposite for the now 22-year-old center.

Funny what a little confidence can do.

With the media able to watch the entirety of Wednesday's split-squad scrimmage, the rising third-year center stood out for a "blue" squad that lost decisively. According to Seraphin's coach, that's been the norm this week out at George Mason University.

"Kevin has done good. He's been consistent, which I love," Randy Wittman said on hump day. "I haven't gone back any one day and thought I didn't notice Kevin out there. That's good."

During the scrimmage, Seraphin snagged multiple offensive rebounds in traffic. With the ball in his sizable mitts, he assertively and successfully took aim on the basket, whether a short jumper from the high post or quickly turning a rebound into a shot opportunity. The French Guyana native showed he's building on last season's impressive climax when he averaged 15.4 points and 7.0 rebounds while shooting 53.3 percent from the field over the final 16 games.

"I saw a lot of what I saw at the end of last year, which is positive," Wittman said. "Saw a lot of good things at the end of last year and we're seeing those same things here."

With Nene (plantar fasciitis) sidelined, Seraphin and Emeka Okafor are expected to handle the primary minutes in the middle for Washington during Sunday's preseason game at Charlotte. Even when Nene returns, Seraphin should not have his playing court time majorly curtailed if at all as the Wizards will look to impose their size on opponents.

Whether that playing time begins with the opening tap - or more likely as the first interior big man off the bench, the former first round pick and newly minted Olympian is ready.

"I have better confidence now. A year ago I wasn't playing. Now I'm playing. Now I have chance to prove some things," said Seraphin, who played sporadic minutes as a rookie and early last season. He became a lineup fixture following the midseason trade that brought Nene to Washington and shipped JaVale McGee out, scoring at least 10 points in each of his final 15 games.

"When you have confidence, you got more time on the court. Even if you have the same time, you feel like you have more time. Without having confidence, you try to make everything good. That's when you start to make things bad. When you've got confidence, you just play."

In addition to aiming for a playoff spot, Seraphin listed starting as one of his individual goals ("For sure, if I can be in the starting lineup, why not?"), along with wanting to be voted the league's Most Improved Player. With his self-belief brimming and having daily battles with his veteran mentors, why not.

"Those guys are really strong. Playing against Emeka and Nene every day, I can only get better."