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New Raptors pick Delon Wright's family draft celebration makes TMZ

06/26/2015 05:17 EDT | Updated 06/26/2016 05:59 EDT
TORONTO - Only a few hours after Delon Wright made it to the NBA, he made it to TMZ.

The infamous gossip website posted a shaky video of Wright's emotional family (including brother Dorell, a bench forward for Portland) boisterously celebrating after the Toronto Raptors drafted the point guard Thursday.

A red-eye flight from L.A. and a couple hours of restless sleep later, the 23-year-old had yet to see the clip — but might be glad to have the moment documented, given how surreal it felt.

"Shock went through my body, honestly," said Wright, selected with the 20th overall pick. "My brother jumped up before me so I didn't even get to make it up. I saw him jumping and I (realized) I got my name called.

"It was a funny feeling."

"It was priceless," added his mother, Stacy Adams Wright, who accompanied her son to Toronto alongside father Ray.

"(Delon) kept saying: 'Mom, can you sit on the couch? Just sit there. Sit on the couch.'"

His family's enthusiasm was understandable, given circuitous route Wright took to the NBA — a destination that certainly never felt assured.

After growing up in L.A. with an athletic aptitude that extended to football and especially baseball, Wright struggled academically and didn't graduate high school. When a subsequent stint at a Philadelphia prep school went sour, his family worried for his future in basketball.

He spent about four months where he "wasn't doing anything" except working out. Eventually, he looked at "one of the only options (he) had," and Wright enrolled at San Francisco City College.

Out of the spotlight at a junior college, Wright excelled. Twice he earned Coast Conference player of the year honours and, in his sophomore year, he led his team to a 27-3 record.

His play caught the attention of Division I teams and he was recruited to the University of Utah. Now, scouts were circling, and Wright's profile ballooned quickly.

After making the all-Pac-12 conference team in his first year with Utah, he was suddenly faced with an opportunity that had recently seemed impossible: forgoing his senior year for the NBA.

Wright decided he was ready. His parents and NBAer brother insisted otherwise.

"I didn't get any sleep that day," his dad Ray recalled. "I was trying to tell him this is a bad decision. We should wait."

His mother, meanwhile, had just earned a degree in organizational management from the University of Phoenix.

"I said: 'You don't know how special that would be for you to follow me and get your degree a year later,'" she remembered.

"He said, 'You know what mom, it's my life.' So I said OK. As your mom, whatever decision you make, you know I have it 100 per cent.

"And it was in the middle of the night, about 1 o'clock L.A. time, that he called and said: 'Mom, I'm going back to school.'

"And I slept so good."

Wright ultimately finished his degree in sociology in a season where he also won the Bob Cousy award as the NCAA's best point guard.

An athletic, pesky defender and generous playmaker, the 6-5 Wright now prepares for Summer League and training camp.

He received high-profile welcomes from Raptors all-star Kyle Lowry and an especially enthusiastic Dwyane Wade, a close friend of Wright's brother who retweeted his wife Gabrielle Union praising Delon as a "low key beast sleeper."

For Wright, this all feels easier to navigate now than it might have a year ago.

"I wasn't ready, to be honest, to go to the NBA last year," Wright said. "This year I was more prepared. I know what I have to do to get better ... and what teams want from me.

"So my senior year really helped me."

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