Former Georgetown Hoyas Chris Wright and Julian Vaughn stay close to home for pre-NBA draft workout with Wizards
By Steve Yanda,
For all the times Chris Wright entered the Georgetown men’s basketball locker room at Verizon Center over the past four years, he swore Saturday morning that he had never before been down the adjacent hallway that led to the Washington Wizards’ practice court.
That changed a little before 8 a.m. when Wright, who just completed his career as a Hoyas point guard, joined five other NBA prospects in a predraft workout in front of Wizards brass that included President Ernie Grunfeld.
“We don’t come on this side; we’re always on our side where our ‘G’ is at, our logo,” Wright said as he nodded toward the royal blue ‘G’ that marked the entrance to the Georgetown locker room not more than 50 feet away. “We walk through a different way. I’ve never been to this side. It’s a different experience. It is a job interview. You have to approach it in a very professional way.”
As he spoke, Wright flexed his left hand, on which he underwent surgery near the end of Georgetown’s regular season. He missed three games after breaking the third metacarpal in his non-shooting hand before returning for the Hoyas’ 74-56 loss to Virginia Commonwealth in the first round of the NCAA tournament.
Although a long scar traces from the base of the knuckle on his middle finger down into the back of his palm — an area encircled by significant swelling — Wright says his hand no longer causes him any pain. Not too long ago, the entire hand was swollen as a result of the corrective surgery. Its current state is much easier for him to play with.
“My fingers are normal now,” Wright said. “I have full range of motion. I’m good. . . . The only time it looks nasty is when you look at it. But I don’t feel anything.”
For Wright and another fellow former Hoya, forward Julian Vaughn, Saturday’s predraft workout was their first, and they were aided at the very least by familiar surroundings. Georgetown plays its home games at Verizon Center, the exterior of which is adorned on one side by a banner that includes Wright’s face.
“I think they gonna take that down,” Wright said of the banner. “I don’t know. Hopefully I could get to keep it. I’m sure my mother would want it. Hopefully I can get one with the Wizards.”
Forwards Gilbert Brown and Jerai Grant (DeMatha), as well as guards Demetri McCamey and Darrion Pellum also participated in Saturday’s session.
Vaughn said he had spoken with Greg Monroe and Roy Hibbert, former Georgetown players now in the NBA, in recent days to get a sense for what kind of grind the predraft process can be. And he’s been preparing himself in part by running three miles every other day. Given the fringe nature of their draft status, the players at Saturday’s workout understood the importance of making a good impression.
“You can’t be a little kid about it,” Vaughn said. “You can’t go out [Friday night]. You’ve got to sleep. You’ve got to get up. . . . If you play well in one of these things, you never know what could happen.”