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Hornets, Forte Impressed With Each Other

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FORT MILL, S.C. — Joseph Forte called it his best pre-draft workout and Charlotte Hornets officials said they were impressed with the former Tar Heel as the team auditioned potential draft picks Saturday.

"I'd probably rank this as number one," said Forte, who has also worked out for Boston, Vancouver and Cleveland. "It was a good workout, a very tiring workout."

Forte was joined by French teen-ager Tony Parker and guard Ramel Lloyd of Long Beach State on the first day the Hornets have held workouts for players eligible for the June 27 draft.

Forte, a first-team Associated Press All-American and the co-ACC player of the year this past season as a sophomore, decided to skip his last two seasons of college and head to the NBA.

While some have questioned his quickness and long-range shooting ability, Hornets head coach Paul Silas said he was surprised at how well Forte performed at the morning workout at the team's training facility.

"Surprising quickness, and just knowing how to play, that was the most impressive thing," Silas said. "He really knows how to get his shot off, and that was what concerned me most."

Hornets vice president Bob Bass said he likes Forte's mid-range game.

"He can beat you off the dribble, and then he'll pull up on a mid-range jump shot," Bass said. "That's very difficult to defend, because the big guys can't get to him that way."

Forte, 20, said that while feels he'll be selected somewhere between 10 and 15 in the draft, he wouldn't mind going to Charlotte, which holds the 16th pick.

"I think it would be (a good fit)," Forte said after the workout, while wearing a teal Hornets practice jersey.

"David Wesley is the starting shooting guard, but Eddie Robinson is a free agent. If he left, there would be an opportunity for a shooting guard to come in here and maybe learn something from David. Plus, as soon as I got back to Carolina it felt good."

Forte, who led the Tar Heels by averaging 20.9 points per game last season, thinks he made the right decision leaving school early.

"I miss UNC, and I think about it every now and then, but I'm happy with my decision," he said.

Forte has been working out with a personal trainer his home in suburban Washington between meeting with teams. He's scheduled to visit Orlando, Chicago and New Jersey over the next few days.

"They all want to see if you can shoot, how far you can shoot," Forte said. "They want to see your one-on-one skills."

Silas said the Hornets plan to bring in about 10 more players, including former North Carolina center Brendan Haywood, before the draft.

"We watch a lot of tape, but how they do here means a little bit more because I can get a better feel," Silas said. "(Jamaal) Magloire had a great workout last year, and that's the reason we took him."

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