The similarities between Utah's Delon Wright and Notre Dame's Jerian Grant extend beyond being NBA Draft prospects.
The four-year players - - a rare classification for touted prospects in this era -- dueled Monday during the Washington Wizards' first pre-draft workout this year.
Both led their teams to the second weekend of the NCAA Tournament this season. Both will turn 23 before the start of their first NBA campaign.
The point guards are listed at an impressive 6-foot-5. That size allows them to scan the court for shooters, create space for their own offense and defend big guards if needed.
Each has been around the pro game for many years. The son of ex-Bullet/Wizard Harvey Grant, Jerian's NBA pedigree is well known in these parts. Wright's, perhaps less so. His older brother, Dorell, a forward for the Portland Trail Blazers, just completed his 11th season in the league.
As is the case every season, the Associated Press selected All-Americans. Only two point guards were picked among the nation's 10 best players. Grant was named to the first team, Wright the second. Filling up the box score certainly helped both. Wright, who led Utah to a round of 32 NCAA Tournament win over Georgetown, averaged 14.5 points, 5.1 assists and 4.9 rebounds.
Most notably this June, both are projected first-round picks. Depending on what the Wizards desire with the 19th overall pick, either could land in Washington, which is where the pair battled head-to-head.
"It was fun. I watched a lot of him on TV this year. They compared us pretty much the whole year," Wright said. "Being seniors, guards. It was fun to finally play against him."
The Los Angeles native spoke shortly after a lengthy session on the Verizon Center practice court that included 3-on-3 full court action against Grant and individual work on his 3-point shooting. Wright's defensive length likely becomes his best asset as a rookie. He noted a high comfort running pick-and-roll sets, a favorite play under Wizards coach Randy Wittman.
What teams want to know is whether Wright can hit the perimeter shot.
"That's the main concern. Teams want to see if I can make the NBA 3's since the line is a little further back. If I'm struggling shooting or it looks natural," conceded Wright, who previously visited with the Pacers, Lakers and Bulls.
The workout mirrored his two-year career at Utah, which began after transferring from City College of San Francisco. Wright sank 36 percent of shots from beyond the arc as a senior after a dismal 22 percent the previous season. Oddly, Grant's 3-point numbers went the other over his final two seasons.
During a drill coming off screens before flaring out to either wing, Wright missed plenty of shots. When he moved to the top of the key, the 3-pointers fell one after another.
"At the beginning of the workout I didn't shoot good at all. Terribly, actually," Wright said. "But I thought at the end of it, I shot it pretty well. Better than probably what people thought of me."
Like Grant, Wright comes across during interviews as mature and thoughtful, traits often found in leaders. The Utes went 47-21 over the last two seasons after going 15-18 the campaign before Wright joined the program.
If he joins the Wizards, Wright becomes part of a loaded backcourt with John Wall and Bradley Beal. Washington needs a long-term backup for Wall, along with a perimeter shooting big man and wing depth.
"Coming in, trying to not have too much drop off if John Wall comes out of the game," Wright said of his potential role. "Maybe play with him. I can be interchangeable that way. I can play the two."
Same goes for Grant, who likely lands among the top 20 picks. Wright's draft range veers more toward the bottom of the round. At this point, he's not thinking about such things, especially one month out. Instead, Wright is following advice from Utah coach and former NBA player Larry Krystkowiak.
"For the most part he's telling me to enjoy the process," Wright said. "You only go through this one time."
At least for one day, he went through the process with Grant. The comparisons will take place regardless.