Hornets’ new duo in place
Published 6:56 pm Friday, June 30, 2006
One city just wasn’t big enough to hold the Hornets two new towering titans, Hilton Armstrong and Cedric Simmons.
The Hornets’ two new additions — Armstrong at 6-foot-11 and Simmons at 6-foot-9 — stopped by New Orleans’ aquarium at lunchtime Thursday and then took a ride on the water taxi in Oklahoma City’s downtown canal in the afternoon to meet fans in the team’s two home cities.
“I think we’re the only draft picks that traveled to two different cities,” Simmons said. “That probably makes us more special in a way.”
After attending parties following the draft in New York on Wednesday night, the players grabbed an early morning flight to New Orleans to prepare for a noon gathering. After that, it was time to hop on the team plane and head to Oklahoma City, which temporarily housed the team after Hurricane Katrina and will host 35 of the team’s home games next season.
At their grand entrance in Oklahoma City, the two rode together on a boat before climbing stairs to a stage where they were presented Hornets hats and Oklahoma City jerseys with the position where they were taken in the draft — Armstrong’s featuring the number 12 and Simmons’ the number 15.
“It’s been a long day but it’s been a good day,” coach Byron Scott said.
Armstrong and Simmons got to know each other a little bit over the course of the draft workouts, where they were paired against each other often — including one instance in Oklahoma where a Simmons elbow landed on Armstrong’s nose.
“He’s the type of player that I’m glad he’s going to be on my team,” Armstrong said. “He works hard. He doesn’t give up on anything.”
Both players said they hadn’t begun to think about where they’d fit in for the Hornets in terms of playing time.