Former UM basketball player Sheldon McClellan says his rookie season with the Washington Wizards has been a “bumpy ride,” but he is soaking it all in and trying to improve each day.
He returned to the team on Tuesday after spending 10 days with the D-League Delaware 87ers. He was expected to get into the game Wednesday against the Chicago Bulls.
McClellan got off to a good start this season, starting two mid-November games for injured Bradley Beal, but once Beal came back, the rookie’s minutes and production started to dwindle. He played only once over the next nine games. So, he was shipped off to the D-League for some seasoning.
"It’s definitely a roller coaster. It’s tough, especially as a rookie," McClellan told the Washington Post. "There are people who have higher standards than you that’s in front of you, so you’ve got to wait your time and just stay ready whenever your name is called. It’s going to be a bumpy ride and I understand that. I’m just staying ready."
McClellan, a key player on UM’s Sweet 16 team last season, has averaged 4.6 points in 11.1 minutes this season.
Wizards coach Scott Brooks explained his decision to send McClellan to Delaware.
"I think he just needs to go down there and get some minutes," Brooks told the Washington Post. "It’s a great opportunity. I’ve used it in the past. I don’t look at it as a demotion or punishment. It’s an opportunity to improve.
"When you’re getting into the NBA season, December and January are coming up, you don’t get a lot of practice time and when you do it’s very short and not the intensity that you need to get better as a young player," Brooks continued. "He’s going to be able to get minutes and get practice time, but he has to improve on all parts of his game. I think he can be a pretty good player."