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Originally published Thursday, October 19, 2006 at 12:00 AM

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Farmer plants seed with Sonics

Desmon Farmer wasn't expected to last this long. The Sonics opened training camp with a plethora of questions, from who'd start at point...

Seattle Times staff reporter

Desmon Farmer wasn't expected to last this long.

The Sonics opened training camp with a plethora of questions, from who'd start at point guard to who the reserves would be. And one of the holes coach Bob Hill wanted to fill was a sharpshooter off the bench.

But really, that guard job was pegged for Kareem Rush, a veteran who was cut by Charlotte last season. Players like Farmer and Denham Brown, a rookie from Connecticut, were invited to camp for a tryout, too, but Hill didn't expect much.

Yet, with Rush sidelined since Day 1 with a partially torn left groin, the 6-foot-5 Farmer has been able to grab a little attention. The lefty has intensified practice with his roars and three-point shooting while increasing the odds that he can break into the NBA after a journeyman's trek through seemingly every level of basketball since leaving USC in 2004.

"Both have done better than I thought they would do coming into camp and have deserved minutes," Hill said of Farmer and Brown. "Desmon only knows one speed, and that, most of the time, is too fast. He plays hard and has a lot of confidence in his three-point shot, so he doesn't drive it as much as I'd like him to, but he can make that shot."

Farmer arrived two weeks before camp opened to begin working out with new teammates. It's his second attempt to make an NBA team after being cut during Indiana's training camp due to injury in 2004. Once healthy, Farmer went on to play in Greece and Poland, but found he wasn't getting looks from NBA scouts.

He opted to play for the Tulsa 66ers in the NBA D-League last season, averaging 16.4 points while shooting 43 percent from beyond the arc, which helped reignite interest.

"Once you go overseas, if things aren't going super, super great, teams kind of forget about you over there," Farmer said. "That's why I decided to stay here in the development league to get my name back hot. I ended up being successful and that brought me here, but it was definitely a tough route."

Rush is questionable to make his exhibition game debut Friday against Portland. That gives Farmer more time to make an impression. He has already been pulled aside by guard Ray Allen for pointers and is learning the business side of the league while hanging out socially with forward Chris Wilcox.

Hill wants to keep his 18-man roster until Friday, but said cuts will be made prior to the team's trip to Los Angeles to play the Clippers.

"I'm not worried about who's here," said Farmer, who averaged 11 points with Seattle's summer-league team. "Things will have to work themselves out. I definitely think this is a great fit for me. I've definitely been performing in training camp, doing what they ask me to do. It's just about the choice — waiting it out and see."

One thing is certain, however: Hill is getting frustrated waiting to see what Rush can do for the Sonics.


"It's too bad," Hill said of Rush re-aggravating his groin during warmups Tuesday. "We'll just have to wait and see if he can go one of these next three games. But that gives the other guys a chance to stick around longer and make the team."


• Rookie Mouhamed Sene was bumped in the head by forward Kenny Adeleke during drills at the end of practice. Sene was evaluated and said he was fine.

• Allen twisted his right ankle and did not practice.

Luke Ridnour participated only in shooting drills due to his injured right thumb. Ridnour said the injury is getting better, but it was hit again at the team's open scrimmage on Tuesday.

• Forward Danny Fortson returned to practice, but still is being cautious with his injured knee. He missed Tuesday's practice due to his girlfriend experiencing labor pains, but it was a false alarm.

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