The Washington Wizards G League affiliate, the Capital City Go-Go, held their second open local player tryouts at the Entertainment and Sports Arena Saturday morning in Southeast D.C.
Over 100 hopefuls filed into the arena with plans to impress Go-Go General Manager, Pop Mensah-Bonsu, head coach Ryan Richman, and his staff.
Although each player in attendance has a unique path that’s led them here, they all shared one simple, yet intricate goal:
One shot in the G League.
Adam Stanford, a prospect from California, traveled on a red eye to make the tryout on a less-than-ideal amount of sleep.
“My plane left at midnight from LAX, I had a two-hour layover in Denver, made it to Reagan National at five, checked into my hotel at six, took an hour nap and then Ubered here for tryouts,” he said.
“If I made this team it’d be big. Not just for me but for everyone who knows what I’ve been through from college to now.”
Stanford is a 6-foot-4 wing from Campbellsville University, where he averaged 7 points, 5 rebounds, and was an academic All-American.
Even with his positive outlook on the process, and an impressive showing Saturday morning, Stanford’s name wasn’t called for a follow-up workout later in the afternoon.
The harsh reality that your chances are extremely slim to make a G League roster from an open tryout can be a tough pill to swallow, but as a guy who’s been on the opposite end of the chopping block, Mensah-Bonsu had an immense amount of respect for those who showed up to compete Saturday.
“Personally it’s tough because I never wanted to be that guy to read out the numbers of those who did make the team, and skip over those who didn’t,” Mensah-Bonsu said, “it’s heartbreaking. We always anticipate what the DMV has to offer in terms of the wealth of talent in this area.
"I was pleasantly surprised because we ended up selecting 15 guys to stick around for the afternoon portion, but going into this we were only planning to pick five.”
Those who made the cut won’t be announced until a later date, which leaves the larger point of how those who were passed on respond?
The all-time leading scorer in Peach Sun Belt Conference history, Detrek Browning, was in attendance Saturday and put on a show. His combination of quickness, deep range shooting ability, and a knack for loose balls/putbacks captured the attention of every media member in attendance.
However, his name wasn’t called for the next round of tryouts.
Still, in a state of shock, he delivered words of encouragement not just for his self, but others to turn to after a similar letdown.
“I for sure thought I was going to get a place here, but you just gotta focus and move on,” Browning said. “I quit my job in June to focus on basketball and it’s been paying off. I’ve seen my game increase exponentially.
“I did my best and that’s what matters,” he added. “I appreciate them not picking me up, it’s just going to make me work even harder.”
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