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Guard Fights Long Odds to Make Hornets

Guard Fights Long Odds to Make Hornets

Oct 22, 2002

By BRETT MARTELAssociated Press Writer

NEW ORLEANS (AP) – The 5-foot-9 Terrell McIntyre looks out of place alongside his much taller Hornets’ teammates – until he starts to run the floor during a scrimmage.

The former Clemson star drives past Hornets regulars. He sneaks no-look passes to teammates cutting through the lane or under the basket. He makes outside shots with consistency. He runs hard, bounces around screens and hits the floor for every loose ball in his vicinity.

In practice last week, while guarding David Wesley away from the ball, McIntyre sensed forward Lee Nailon dribbling behind him, then spun around and stripped the ball from the unsuspecting Nailon.

The 25-year-old point guard, who had no NBA experience before this month and was brought in to fill out the preseason practice roster, may not make the Hornets’ regular-season lineup. But he has made his mark.

“He has great court awareness and he’s a very good shooter,” coach Paul Silas said. “If I had a spot, I’d really look at him awfully hard because he can get you into a set offense and he does some good things.”

McIntyre had Silas chuckling during a preseason game against Washington last week when he foiled the Wizards’ last possession of the first half by tipping away a pass and then tying up the ball.

“It’s basketball like you’ve been playing all your life, just at a higher level,” McIntyre said. “I’ve been trying to show the guys I know what I’m doing out there and get them to have faith in me that I can play.”

At Clemson, McIntyre finished second on the Tigers’ all-time scoring list with 1,839 points (14.6 per game), 41 behind Elden Campbell, now the Hornets’ center. He also was Clemson’s all-time leader in 3-pointers with 259 and steals with 194.

McIntyre doesn’t complain that his height is probably what makes him a long shot to make the team, despite the way he has played.

“A lot of guys in my situation don’t even get this kind of opportunity, so I’m just thankful to get a chance to show I can play and I give all I can give every time out,” he said.

McIntyre spent last year playing in the National Basketball Development League with a team from his hometown of Fayetteville, N.C. He intends to return to that team if he’s cut from the Hornets.

“It’s going to be tough for him to survive on this club because of the numbers,” Silas said. “I really like the way he’s handled himself. He’s been professional through and through and added a lot to our practices.”

The Hornets already have three established NBA players who can play point guard: All-Star Baron Davis, 10th-year player David Wesley, and Bryce Drew.

But with Davis missing numerous practices and several preseason games because of back problems that have persisted since last spring, it is conceivable that McIntyre could find himself on the roster for at least part of the regular season.

“If we had to bring a guard back, certainly he’d be one to consider because he knows the system,” Silas said. “You bring guys in on 10-day contracts and it takes seven days for them to learn the system. And by the time they do, the other guy’s back. Terrell can come in and never miss a beat.”