Khalif Wyatt curled around a screen, caught a pass and swished a shot from beyond the three-point line during Thursday’s pre-draft workout with the Washington Wizards at Verizon Center.
It’s a drill the 6-foot-4 guard has performed too many times to remember as he tries to elevate his stock heading to the June 27 NBA draft, where the Wizards have the Nos. 3, 38 and 54 picks. Including Thursday’s session, Wyatt has gone through four workouts and said he plans to do up to eight more.
While the pre-draft buzz has not included much mention of Wyatt, the Atlantic 10 player of the year from Temple hasn’t been discouraged during this process, mainly because he has overcome other obstacles early in his career. As a freshman at Temple, for instance, Wyatt played in only 10 games but went on to be named Atlantic 10 sixth man of the year as a sophomore.
“It’s just a grind,” said Wyatt, who was among six prospects to work out Thursday. “It’s a grind flying from different cities and getting there for one day and having to work out the next day. Each team wants something different. They have different philosophies and stuff like that. Just picking up stuff on the fly. You’ve just got to listen and take stuff in.”
Also auditioning for Wizards Coach Randy Wittman and team president Ernie Grunfeld were guards D.J. Seeley (Cal State Fullerton) and Keion Bell (Missouri) as well as forwards James Southerland (Syracuse), Deshaun Thomas (Ohio State) and Laurence Bowers (Missouri).
Thomas and Wyatt were the only two in that group to have led their respective conferences in scoring last season. Wyatt averaged 20.5 points in 34 games, including 31 points in each of two NCAA tournament games.
Wyatt also averaged four assists, 2.9 rebounds and 1.7 steals and indicated he would be more than comfortable coming off the bench to give Wizards starting guards John Wall and Bradley Beal time to rest.
The Wizards have been seeking a dependable regular backup to Wall at point guard, and although Wyatt was able to direct the Owls offense last season, his inclination to score makes him better suited to play off-guard. But according to several mock draft Web sites, Wyatt may not be athletic enough to get his own shot consistently in the NBA.
“I can score the ball in different ways,” Wyatt said. “I’ve proven that on the college level, and I just want the opportunity to prove that at this level.”
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