Aaron White lived the dream. Only 60 players had their names called during the 2015 NBA Draft. The Iowa forward with the perimeter game was one of them.
Dez Wells was not. Yet of the two Big Ten products, both members of the Washington Wizards' Summer League roster, it's the undrafted guard from Maryland with arguably the better chance of reaching the NBA this season.
White, Washington's second round selection, and Wells visited Verizon Center last month for pre-draft workouts. The pair returned Monday for the first day of mini-camp ahead of the upcoming Las Vegas Summer League.
Of the 16 players currently on this roster, only first round pick Kelly Oubre Jr. is a lock for the real Washington Wizards roster, which as of Monday night has but two open slots.
Clearly the Wizards have interest in White after selecting the senior forward 49th overall.
One week before the June 25th Draft, the 6-foot-8 White visited Chinatown.
"The first time I was here I didn't really know what to expect, if they liked me," White said. "Obviously, they see me as some part of their future. Definitely a good feeling. Just excited to get to work."
By virtue of drafting White, the Wizards own his NBA rights. Cold or not, his value as an asset arguably trumps his chances of making the 2015-16 roster. Washington could use another stretch-4 option. That's White's game, but if his game needs more seasoning, better for the Eastern Conference-contending Wizards that occurs overseas. His rights remain theirs and another player can join the club next season.
White understands the scenario, but hopes his performances during practices and Summer League changes minds.
"I know that they saw something in me that they liked," White said. "Depending on how the roster shakes out, I'd love to play for them this year. If not, I just want to become the best basketball player I can become. Whether that's taking a year overseas or whatever it is, I'm (up) to do (it). My goal coming in is to try and play (in the NBA) this year."
Wells has the same goal, but a different path. Because he wasn't drafted, John Wall's childhood friend could weigh different offers.
"It's all perspective," Wells said about not being drafted. "Depends on if you just want to hear your name called just so you can celebrate with your family. At the same time, if you want to pick your team that you choose to play summer league with, it's better for you."
The Wizards, who received a closer look at Wells during a June 11 workout, made it clear they hoped the power-packed guard would choose them.
"They were very interested in me. Even before the draft was over with they called me," Wells said.
After doing some homework in addition to consulting with his with his family and agent, Wells chose to stay in the DMV. The news broke shortly after the Draft's conclusion.
"I played around here. I know this area really well. Have good relationships with some of the players. I know the coaching staff," Wells said. "Just with the roster, I feel like my talents here, I can have a good impact this year if they pick me up."
Speaking with a certain friend who doubles as the Wizards' leading man helped with his decision.
"[John] reached out to me during the draft. He called me and we talked a little bit. I asked him what he thought about this fit here and he was all for it. That had something to do with my decision," Wells said.
The decision on whether White or Wells make the Wizards' regular season roster or even have a chance to attend training camp will not be up to White and Wells.
"Obviously that's in other people's hands," White said. "I'm going to work as hard as I can and prove I can be an asset on the floor and for the team."
The ex-Terp shares the same dream.
"I just want to play in the NBA," Wells said. "Show is not over. Still got a lot of chances left."
Notes: The Wizards expect to rotate their Summer League head coaching duties among their current assistance. Former assistant Sam Cassell,, now with the Clippers, served as SL coach in recent years.