CHICAGO -- Long before he was punishing rims at Villanova and cementing himself as a likely top-10 NBA Draft pick, Cam Whitmore was growing up in Odenton, Md., just west of Annapolis. He remembers coming home from school as a kid and his father, Myron, surprising him with tickets to a Wizards game that night.
The Whitmores would make the roughly hour-long drive into D.C. to watch the hometown team. In about five weeks, there is a chance Whitmore could be drafted by the team he grew up rooting for.
Washington received the No. 8 pick in Tuesday night's lottery and, though it's possible Whitmore is gone by then, he is one of the best prospects projected to go in their range. He also sounds a lot like the player head coach Wes Unseld Jr. has described that they need; an athletic wing who can create his own shot off-the-dribble and defend.
Could the stars align and bring Whitmore's basketball life full-circle?
"That’s the crib, so I’ve gotta represent. Just know that the Washington Wizards still have a special place in my heart," he said at the NBA Draft Combine on Wednesday.
Whitmore, still only 18 years old, starred at Archbishop Spalding High School before heading north to play at Villanova. Last season as a freshman he averaged 12.5 points and 5.3 rebounds while shooting 47.8% from the field and 34.3% from 3-point range.
Whitmore's NBA draft status was likely bolstered by his performance in the measurement portion of the combine. Listed at 6-foot-7 and 232 pounds, he registered a 40 1/2 inch vertical leap, one of the highest in this year's class.
Whitmore says he met with the Wizards on Wednesday in Chicago. They are interviewing a series of prospects over the course of several days. Arkansas guards Anthony Black and Nick Smith Jr. also had interviews scheduled with the Wizards this week, as did Michigan swingman Jett Howard.
Whitmore is among several top prospects in this draft who grew up close to D.C. Jarace Walker (Houston) is from Baltimore, while Jordan Hawkins (UConn) hails from Gaithersburg.
As a young fan attending NBA games in D.C., Whitmore idolized LeBron James, Deron Williams and John Wall. He wouldn't mind putting on the same jersey Wall once wore come this fall.
"That’s home, the D.M.V. There’s nothing like playing at home. The fans, hopefully they would be excited to have me. We’ll see if they pick me," Whitmore said.