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Speedy Getting Praise With 76ers

October 6, 2000

STATE COLLEGE, Pa. (AP) _ Rookie guard Craig ``Speedy″ Claxton is making a strong impression on the Philadelphia 76ers in the first week of training camp.

``He has exceptional talent and athletic ability,″ said veteran guard Aaron McKie, who will likely be teamed with the 5-foot-11 point guard from Hofstra in the Sixers backcourt. ``I think when a lot of you people get to see him play you’ll be surprised by how good he is.″

Coach Larry Brown said Claxton is farther ahead in development than other young NBA players, partly because he didn’t leave college early for the NBA.

``The fact he went four years to school and he’s so athletic, means he’s way ahead defensively of where most young kids are,″ Brown said. ``He can move his feet and he’s got strength.

``He’s not out of place at all. If we had a chance to do it all over again, we’d do the same thing.″

Brown canceled practice early Friday, after several players received bumps and bruises during the first three days. The team had planned two-a-day sessions through Monday to prepare for Tuesday’s preseason opener against San Antonio.

Claxton averaged 22.8 points, 6.0 assists and 3.3 steals as the America East Conference Player of the Year last season, then dazzled scouts at the Chicago pre-draft camp in early June.

``I know I’m playing well right now, but I can’t let up or take a day off,″ said Claxton, who missed the Sixers’ summer league due to a quadriceps injury. ``The hardest thing so far is the physical contact.″

To keep in shape this summer, Claxton said he played pick-up games at Temple against some pro players, ran on a treadmill and worked out in the weight room.

``I didn’t know what kind of shape I had to be in. I guess what I did was right,″ he said.

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