With a brother in the NBA, star guard is ready for the next level
By Ivan Huang and Zack Tobita
Sibling rivalry sometimes starts before the second child is even born, and continues as kids develop and compete for everything from toys to attention.
After leading City College to its first undefeated regular season, sophomore Delon Wright rivals his older brother, whose day job just happens to be playing for the NBA’s Philadelphia 76ers.
As a member of the Golden State Warriors, big brother Dorell Wright led the NBA in three-pointers made in the 2010/2011 NBA season with 194.
“I came to City because it’s one of the top junior colleges, and I wanted to be closer to my brother and his family,” Delon said.
When the Warriors were in town, Dorell would occasionally stop by City College to catch his younger brother in action.
Wright attributes his older brother for getting him into the sport that he has so much passion for.
“I got into basketball when I used to watch my older brother play,” Delon said.
Living in the shadows of Dorell, who is six years older, serves as motivation to 20-year-old Delon.
“When I was younger people told me I would never be as good as my brother,” Delon said. “My high school coach would always tell me ‘you’re just the younger brother’ in an attempt to motivate me.”
Delon, who attended Leuzinger High School in Lawndale, Calif. just as older brother Dorell did, felt he had something to prove.
“It made me realize from then on that I no longer wanted to be in his shadow,” Delon said.
Playing with the pros
Delon proved that he could compete with elite talent when he played in the Drew League, a Los Angeles basketball summer-league, last year. The league featured current and former NBA players.
Some of the NBA Stars that have participated in the Drew League include; LeBron James, Kobe Bryant, James Harden, John Wall and Russell Westbrook, who is also a Leuzinger High School alumnus.
“[Westbrook] and I are cool,” Delon said. “I can talk to him about anything.”
Having a three-time NBA All-Star one call away doesn’t hurt, but Wright says he models his game after Miami Heat guard Dwyane Wade.
“I see myself as a ‘D-Wade’ (one of Wade’s nicknames) type of player,” Delon said. “I try to slither around the court.”
Delon got the opportunity to meet Wade while Dorell was a member of the Heat team from 2004-2010.
“Sometimes I call [Wade] to see how he’s doing,” Delon said.
After playing in the Drew League with his brother, he feels that a matchup today between the two would have a surprising outcome.
“I think I could beat him,” Delon said of older brother Dorell. “In the summer [during the Drew League] we played and he couldn’t really score on me.”
Delon was highly touted by Rams assistant coach Adam D’ Acquisto earlier in the season.
“He’s a pro,” D’Acquisto said. “He has a better feel for the game than anyone we’ve ever had.”
D’Acquisto’s strong statements were validated this past season when Delon led the Rams to the school’s first undefeated regular season at 28-0 and consecutive playoff appearances during his tenure at City College.
The Rams won three playoff games this past season before falling to Chaffey College in the CCCAA (California Community College Athletics Association) semifinals.
“I feel bad about it,” Delon said of his final game. “I didn’t play as well as I should of. Most of it was on me … I didn’t step up.”
After he was awarded the Coast-North Conference MVP for a second consecutive year while leading the state in steals with 4.1 per game, Delon showed selflessness by taking the blame for their playoff loss.
Leading by example
Delon was looked up to by his peers for what he did on the court during his time at City.
“He was a good leader,” teammate Byron Jones said. “He took the game in his own hands if things weren’t going our way.”
Head coach Justin Labagh’s perception of Delon is no different.
“He wasn’t a vocal leader. He just led by example,” Labagh said. “He just competed in every single practice and every single drill.”
It’s safe to say that Delon has come a long way since he came to City where he was able to be part of an exciting run.
Early in his sophomore year Delon committed to the University of Utah where he will be joining the Utes basketball team in the 2013-2014 season.
“I think he’s going to do very well,” Labagh said. “He’s a really smart player. He’s quick, can anticipate a lot, and he fixes things really quickly.”
Teammate Gabriel Aguirre, who spent the last two seasons with Delon on the Rams squad, thinks Delon’s flexibility will help him contribute to the success of the Utah basketball program.
“He will succeed at the Division I level due his ability to do different things on the court [at] a high level,” Aguirre said.
The Utes finished near the bottom of their conference this past year, but head coach Larry Krystkowiak is looking forward to adding Delon to their team.
“We are very excited to have Delon sign with our program,” Krystkowiak said, according to the University of Utah’s official athletic site, utahutes.cstv.com. “He is a versatile player … and is a playmaker. He is a winner and comes from a great family with a basketball pedigree.”
Bonta Hill, who has been the public-address announcer for City College’s home games for five years and has followed Delon’s progression believes that he will play a pivotal role in Utah.
“He’s going to have the ball in his hands,” Hill said. “If he gets in the weight room he could be a nice player.”
With top-tier competition in the Pac-12, Delon will get a chance to make a name for himself on a national stage.
Labagh had high regards for Delon when he was asked to rank him among City’s greatest basketball players.
“He’s right up there,” Labagh said. “He’s top 5 of the best players we’ve had here.”
Delon brought an exciting style of basketball to City College over the last two seasons, and has left a legacy that marks his place in history among the finest student athletes to come out of the school’s sports program.
Follow Ivan on Twitter: @ivanreports
Follow Zack on Twitter: @zackaaa (1733)