Lost in all the Shaq craziness was the fact that Von Wafer was also milling around Health Point today. Easy to understand that the world stops spinning when one of the best centers of all time swings by to play out the string… leaving the young kid trying to prove himself all over again to just kind of sit there and say "hey there… anyone want to talk to me?"
Paul Flannery (and I'm sure others) did talk to him… and Wafer said he's looking to get past his bad rap.
“I just acted out at the wrong time,” Wafer said. “I love Coach
Adelman. He’s the first coach who gave me an opportunity to play. I
never talked back to him. I just acted out at the wrong moment. It cost
me. It cost me a lot. That just can’t happen.”
“I didn’t want to go out that way,” he said. “A lot of bad things
were said about me. That’s why I’m here early trying to get ready. This
is a big year for me. I can’t go out like that. I’ve got too much pride.
I’m more mature now. I know how this business works. You work hard,
keep your mouth shut and stay out of trouble and you’re going to be
blessed and fortunate.”
Sometimes when you screw up… or when you catch a bad break… it's the best thing that can happen to you because it teaches you something. It's those combined learning experiences that make you grow both as a person… and in this case, as a player.
So the question Von Wafer now lays out there is… does he really feel this way? Gerald Green said similar things about his experiences going over to Russia, but he came back to the US and showed everyone in the summer league that he's the same ol' guy.
Wafer is getting another chance. Quite possibly his last one in the NBA. And he doesn't need to light it up off the bench to prove he's worthy of it. All he needs to do is be the good soldier. Shoot good shots, play good D, and do what the team asks you to do. Then, even if the Celtics don't bring him back, word will get around that he has indeed changed and is indeed capable of playing team ball.
So let's see if Wafer is true to his word. Because if he is, then this is another steal for the Celtics that will be invaluable off the bench.