Morgan State hosts Washington Wizards’ open practice

The Wizards first-ever open practice at an HBCU took place on Monday in Hill Field House.


Edwin Moore

To celebrate the NBA’s 75th anniversary, the Washington Wizards returned to Baltimore for their annual Open Practice.

Tariq Turner, Sports Editor

On Monday, the Washington Wizards held their first-ever open practice on an HBCU campus at Morgan State University in Hill Field House.

“Oftentimes (HBCUs) get overlooked,” Wizards’ head coach Wes Unseld Jr. said. “Any time we put the spotlight on HBCUs, I think it’s a great opportunity.”

From 1963 to 1973, the Wizards were called the Baltimore Bullets and they played their home games in Baltimore Civic Center (now known as Royal Farms Arena).

Highlights of the Wizards’ open practice included players participating in shooting and defensive drills as well as a dunk contest.

There were also performances by the Wizards dancers and Morgan’s marching band.

Multiple members of the Wizards have connections to the Baltimore area including Unseld Jr. and 19-year-old rookie power forward Isaiah Todd.

Unseld Jr. was born in Catonsville, Md., which is about 15 minutes outside of downtown Baltimore. He was also a member of the Johns Hopkins University basketball team from 1994 to 1997 where he played the center position.

“It’s always a great opportunity to get home,” Unseld Jr. said.

Todd, a Northeast Baltimore native and cousin of Morgan men’s basketball all-time leading scorer Reggie Holmes, was elated to be back home.

Wizards rookie Isaiah Todd, a Northeast Baltimore native, greeted the crowd, which included his family members, on Monday. (Edwin Moore)

“Basketball was pretty much my life growing up here,” Todd said. “Walking in here and seeing my cousin is the leading scorer at the university here, that just means something special.”

Todd had many family members in attendance at Monday’s event including his mother Marlene Venable.

Wizards all-star Bradley Beal described Todd as a humble kid who is always willing to learn.

“He is a humble kid, always willing to learn, and works his tail off,” Beal said. “For us to be here for him too, his hometown, was great.”

Todd and the rest of the Wizards begin their regular season on Oct. 20 when they face the Toronto Raptors in Scotiabank Arena.