Monday, October 13, 2008

Express News: Ex-Spurs guard in Hornets' mix

Notebook: Ex-Spurs guard in Hornets' mix

Mike Monroe - Express-News The Spurs have a spirited battle for playing time behind starting point guard Tony Parker, with veteran Jacque Vaughn and rookie George Hill in the mix, and potential competition from Salim Stoudamire if his right groin strain ever heals.

Meanwhile, former Spurs guard Devin Brown is engaged in his own fight to become the primary backup behind the New Orleans Hornets' All-Star point guard, Chris Paul.

Brown signed with the Hornets on Aug. 22, leaving his home in San Antonio only long enough to fly to New Orleans to sign his contract. Then, it was back to San Antonio, where he grew up and starred at West Campus and UTSA, to join many of the Spurs in summer conditioning.

“I came back here and did all that training stuff they do — flipping tires and all that other crazy stuff,” he said before scoring five points in 22 minutes in the Hornets' 89-84 preseason victory Friday night at the AT&T Center.

“I was here all summer, and then went down there early, because we started our camp early because of our (preseason) games in Europe.”

Hornets coach Byron Scott sees Brown as a combination guard, able to play behind both Paul and shooting guard Morris Peterson.

“He has played extremely well (at shooting guard) with Chris in practice,” Scott said, “but he can run our team as well. I think he's getting our offense pretty good, but I want him to get to where he doesn't think about it, just reacts. He's done well the first couple of preseason games, and also in training camp.

“We came into camp looking at him strictly as a backup at point guard, having him and Mike (James) fight it out. But now it looks like he can play the two guard for us, too, so he and Rasual (Butler) can fight for that position.”

The Hornets' preseason schedule could not have worked out better for Brown. After a preseason game Wednesday in Indiana, they flew to San Antonio and had a light workout Thursday morning. That left Thursday afternoon for Brown to indulge in one of his passions: Golf at Oak Hills Country Club.

“I went to the bank,” he said, “and then I checked on everybody out at Oak Hills. I got around. We played yesterday, a six-some.”

New voice: There was something very different about Friday's pregame introductions at the AT&T Center: The voice.

For the first time in 18 years, it was not Stan Kelly's.

The team announced that Kevin Brock, who has been the Silver Stars PA announcer since the franchise moved to San Antonio in 2003, had replaced Kelly.

A club spokesperson said that Kelly's contract expired after the 2007-08 season and the team opted to go in a different direction.

Sitting out: It was Fabricio Oberto's and Ime Udoka's turn to take the night off on Friday. Neither player suited up for the game against the Hornets. Three Spurs starters — Tim Duncan, Bruce Bowen and Michael Finley — sat out Thursday's preseason opener in Houston.

Considering Devin Brown's skillset, it's really surprising he didn't find more of a home here in San Antonio. At the time of his signing, he seemed like the perfect story: Hometown kid coming out of UTSA and challenging the new big signing, Brent Barry, for wing space. However, I've heard serious doubts about his work ethic and commitment to the team, and that is ultimately what (apparently) got him a ticket out the town.

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