Through his high school days at Georgetown Prep and for the past four years at Georgetown, Markel Starks’s home base for basketball has been the D.C. area. With the NBA draft set to take place in a little more than two weeks, the point guard is trying to stick around even longer, this time with the Washington Wizards.
Starks was among six players who participated in a predraft workout Tuesday afternoon at Verizon Center for Wizards Coach Randy Wittman, President-General Manager Ernie Grunfeld and other front-office officials. The Wizards own the 46th pick in the June 26 draft following their first playoff appearance since 2007-08.
Also participating in Tuesday’s workout were Thanasis Antetokounmpo, a 6-foot-8 forward from Greece; Keith Appling, a 6-1 guard from Michigan State; Gonzaga’s Sam Dower, a 6-9 forward; Baylor’s Cory Jefferson, a 6-9 forward; and Jamil Wilson of Marquette, a 6-7 forward.
Washington figures to be in the market for a point guard to play behind starter John Wall. After years of searching, last season the Wizards finally landed a dependable backup to Wall in Andre Miller, but the veteran of 14 seasons is 38.
“That would be the icing on the cake,” Starks said when asked about the possibility of playing his entire basketball career locally. “I’ve come through a long process. I’ve played a lot of ball in this area, a lot of ball around the world, so to be play at home, that would be something. When I look at the roster, there’s no guys from the area.”
The Wizards’ player with the closest ties to the District is Otto Porter Jr., who played two seasons at Georgetown before declaring for the NBA draft. Washington selected Porter with the No. 3 overall pick last year, but the forward appeared in 37 games and averaged less than nine minutes.
Starks said he has spoken with former teammates such as Porter before this round of predraft workouts and when he was playing for the Hoyas. Other former Georgetown players who have worked out for the Wizards in recent years include Austin Freeman, Hollis Thompson and Henry Sims, all of whom played at least one season with Starks.
The native of Accokeek, who is listed at 6-1, has completed six workouts for NBA talent evaluators and has participated in the Portsmouth Invitational and a college all-star game for seniors during Final Four weekend.
“Everybody’s experience is different,” Starks said. “One guy might be in shape. Another guy might not be in the greatest shape. Every team, every workout is different. [Former teammates] have shared some information with me. I’ve taken heed of it.”
As for Starks’s physical fitness, Hoyas Coach John Thompson III frequently praised his two-time team captain for being in peak condition this past season and called the first-team all-conference selection a “machine.”
“Markel Starks doesn’t get tired,” Thompson said.
Starks averaged 37 minutes this season and started each of Georgetown’s 33 games. His 17.3 points were second on the Hoyas behind D’Vauntes Smith-Rivera. Starks also led the team in assists (4.1) and was second in three-pointers made (57) and free throw percentage (.870).
“D.C. is where I’m from. D.C. is where I want to be,” Starks said. “Hopefully I get the opportunity, but if not, I won’t be discouraged or anything like that. This is a grown man business. You have to be able to take the good with the bad and be able to move on.”