By: Dan Steinberg
D.C. Sports Bog
Dave Hopla, as you might recall, is the Wizards’ shooting savant, an assistant coach who can apparently shoot the basketball better than any human, and who once made 14 million consecutive free throws.
Oleksiy Pecherov, you might recall, is the Wizards’ lanky Ukrainian prospect, a young man who’s currently outfitted in a walking boot and has recorded zero minutes in his NBA career.
Today, they decided to play HORSE. This was basically Redskins-Patriots on hardwood, minus the hard-fought stuff.
“Problem is, I never ever see you make a shot,” Pech said to Hopla at the outset, attempting to talk trash.
“Open your eyes,” Hopla told him as he drained a three. “You’re blind.”
“First time,” Pech said. “Everything happens for a first time.”
Quickly, Pech was made a HO. “Other side,” Hopla said, walking to the other side. “No more Mr. Nice Guy.”
He made another three without touching the rim, and Pech missed. That made it HOR. Hopla then drained a three from far in the corner and Pech missed again, making it HORS. Finally, Hopla decided to bank in an NBA three-pointer, which also swished, if you can call a banked three-pointer a swish.
“I’ve got problems, man,” Pech said as he sized up the shot. “Two weeks I don’t shoot. He beat me already. [Expletive.] I’ve got to make zis shot.”
Director of Player Development Ed Tapscott entered the gym. “I’m up to three Russian dinners now,” Hopla told him.
“I hope you like borscht,” Tapscott said.
Pech banked in the NBA three. It was a miracle. It was Fred Smoot locking down Randy Moss. The momentum seemed to swing in the Ukrainian’s favor. But alas, Hopla made a three from the top of the key, and Pech missed, and it was over. The whole thing lasted maybe 43 seconds.
“Wait,” Pech said. “I’ll come back.”
“I’ll be waiting,” Hopla said.”
I asked Pech to critique the master. “He make buckets,” Pech said. “He know how shoot ball, man. How old you?”
“50,” Hopla said.
“He’s [expletive] 50 and he make from every spot. From every spot, swishes, you know what I mean?”
It’s truly remarkable. Assistant coaches are not allowed to be profiled by media members right now, so I’m going to start fabricating weekly stories about a young Dave Hopla throwing acorns into garden hoses from 60 paces or something.