At Garfield High in Seattle, Wash., the alumni rolls are very impressive. Bruce Lee and Jimi Hendrix were students at the school at the same time, making Garfield the breeding ground for groundbreaking hipness.
Quincy Jones also went to Garfield along with Irvine Robbins of Baskin & Robbins fame. From the NBA, All-Star Brandon Roy nearly jumped to the pros straight out of Garfield before settling in for four years at the University of Washington. That’s nearly the same path followed by Tony Wroten.
The difference is Wroten spent just one year at the University of Washington -- just like Sixers teammate Spencer Hawes -- but that’s not where the similarities end.
Roy was a big guard who could handle the point, defend against bigger players and could get to the basket seemingly at will. Wroten, at 6-foot-5, is also a big guard who reminds coach Brett Brown a little of Tyreke Evans, the Chester, Pa. native playing for New Orleans. It was during Monday’s scrimmage during the Sixers’ training camp at Saint Joseph’s University where Wroten let the fawning comparisons commence with some high-energy and spirited play.
“Tony was the star of the day,” Brown said after the scrimmage.
Matched up against rookie guard Michael Carter-Williams, Wroten was a blur in the open floor. He got to the rim easily in transition where he was able to make some impressive passes to teammates for dunks or finish it off himself.
On a young team with a slight, rookie point guard, chances are Brown will call on Wroten a lot come game time, not so much because of his energy and ability to play the point, but also because of his versatility.
“I think he’s just a big wing,” Brown said. “He passes so well, I suppose like a Tyreke Evans type. He's just a big player. He can play some two and some one and you instinctively think he can play the one because he sees the court so well. And I love that he can pick up full court and harass other point guards.”
Brown intends on having the Sixers play an up-tempo, running offense, which suits Wroten fine. Actually, after appearing in just 35 games for an average of 7.8 minutes per game for the Memphis Grizzlies last year, Wroten won’t have to blend in and wait for his shot behind veteran players.
Instead, it seems as if Wroten will be an integral part of the Sixers whether it is as a starter or as a sixth man.
Either way is fine by Wroten.
“I’m going to do whatever it takes, whatever my role is. Whether it’s coming off the bench or if I’m starting, I’m going to try and change the game every chance I get,” Wroten said.
That could even be while playing at the three spot, which is another position Wroten says he can handle. Wroten might be a little undersized at the three, but because of his athleticism, Brown says he has a pretty versatile wing man.
“He plays with tremendous energy when he stays focused,” Brown said. “And when he stays focused and in the game, he really can do some things because he’s so physically gifted. He’s an excellent athlete.”
Wroten was all over the place on the floor during Monday’s workout session and when he hit the floor with what looked like a sore shoulder from a blindside pick, Brown whistled practice closed for the day.
When the star of the day goes down, that’s a good time to wrap it up.