Move to Charlotte helps Wingate and Hornets

December 20, 1992|By Alan Goldstein | Alan Goldstein,Staff Writer

LANDOVER -- David Wingate, the former Dunbar High and Georgetown star, spent an anxious month waiting for an NBA team to call after the Washington Bullets chose not to re-sign the six-year veteran, who had been seeking a multi-year pact.

When the Charlotte Hornets lost small forward Johnny Newman to a fractured hand last month, Wingate was signed to replace him for a minimum salary of $140,000.

Now dividing time between forward and guard, he has become a valuable addition to the Hornets, especially on defense.

Last night against the Bullets, Wingate shared the Hornets backcourt with former Dunbar teammate Muggsy Bogues.

Kendall Gill, who usually starts at shooting guard, is nursing a sore ankle.

"It's great playing with David again," said Bogues. "How often do

old high school mates get a chance to get back together? We still know where both of us like the ball, and our strengths, and we build on it."

Hornets coach Allan Bristow said: "David has really blended in well, and he's been a big surprise for us on offense.

"He helps us in a lot of the same ways as Newman, with his speed and quickness. He played the passing game before in Washington, and knows about pressure defense, so it's not like he's had a lot of adjustments to make."

Starting 14 of 15 games, Wingate has averaged 9.9 points, whilalso shooting a team-high 59 percent from the field.

"The coaches have confidence in me," he said. "I just work hard defensively and try to get the ball to the right people. The coaches told me exactly what they wanted, and I'm just going along with their game plan."

Wingate, who previously played for the Philadelphia 76ers and San Antonio Spurs, started 72 of his 81 games with Washington last season when he earned a reported $250,000.

He was seeking a three-year contract worth $2.5 million.

But Wingate's off-the-court problems, highlighted by three different charges of sexual assault that were ultimately dismissed, led to the Bullets discarding him.

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