There was a lot to make Melo Trimble feel right at home Tuesday in his predraft workout with the Washington Wizards.
There was his familiarity with the Verizon Center, where Trimble played two games as a junior at Maryland last season and went to countless others growing up.
There was his familiarity with several former Maryland team managers who now work for the Wizards in a variety of jobs, including his former roommate, Ryan Lumpkin.
There was even some familiarity with a player he was going against, former Indiana star James Blackmon Jr.
Still, Trimble said that it was a bit different, at least going in, than it was for his recent workouts for the Brooklyn Nets and Chicago Bulls.
“I was so happy to be here. I couldn’t believe I was here, to have an opportunity to actually play for the Wizards. I was a little nervous,” he said afterward. “Once I started making shots, that went out the door.”
Trimble said that the predraft process has also been a lot easier than a year ago, when he put his name into the draft pool without signing with an agent and withdrew from consideration a few hours before the deadline to return to College Park.
At the time, it didn’t appear as if Trimble was going to be drafted.
“During the [NBA] combine, I had a lot on my mind and I wasn’t clear about what I wanted to do,” said Trimble, who was also attending school at the time. “Obviously this year I signed with an agent early, so I was able to have a clear mind about everything. I just want to prove myself at this level. I just go out and compete.”
After a near-disastrous performance the first day at this year’s NBA combine in Chicago, when he missed all five shots he took and committed five turnovers in 18 minutes, Trimble seemed to settle down, finishing with 12 points and six assists on the second day of fullcourt scrimmages.
Asked what kind of feedback he has received from NBA scouts and front office personnel, Trimble said, “The feedback I got was all positive, just continue to get better and be myself. Don’t try to do anything I can’t do.”
Trimble said he roomed at the combine with former Maryland teammate Justin Jackson, who announced last week that he would return for his sophomore year.
After Jackson disclosed to Trimble in Chicago that he would likely go back to College Park, Trimble said, “I told him that I supported him and just do it. I told him, ‘Have a clear mind about it. Don’t overthink it and put pressure on yourself.’”
In Chicago, Trimble acknowledged for the first time publicly that he knew from the start of his junior year that it would be his last at Maryland. He talked about it again Tuesday.
“I didn’t want to think during the season, ‘Oh, I’ve got to score this amount of points,’ just to put my name in the draft,” said Trimble, who led Maryland in scoring for the third straight year and was named All-Big Ten for the second time. “I knew it was my time [to leave] after the season, so I was able just to play basketball.”
That might explain his emotional reaction after hitting the game-winning 3-pointer with a little over a second left to beat Michigan State on Senior Day at the Xfinity Center. Though many fans were still hopeful that Trimble would return for his senior year and it wouldn’t be the last shot he took in College Park, Trimble said Tuesday, “I knew.”
During the portion of Tuesday’s workout that was open to the media, Trimble showed some of the same attributes he demonstrated during his three years as a Terp. Playing in a game of fullcourt 3-on-3 involving all guards, Trimble was strong in the pick-and-roll, particularly driving and drawing contact.
“It’s basketball. I expect physical play. It was like that in college,” Trimble said. “The NBA level is a different game, grown men, and I expect it.”
Though he didn’t take any outside shots in front of the media, Trimble said that his consistency and range has improved during the time he has spent in Las Vegas.
“Out in Vegas, I get up a lot of shots,” he said. “Going against guys that are taller than me, different guys I didn’t play [with] this past year or since I’ve been at Maryland. Just a different atmosphere with a group of guys.”
In Las Vegas, Trimble is working out on a regular basis with former Oklahoma State star Jawun Evans, former Oregon star Tyler Dorsey as well as Rodney Purvis, who split his college career between North Carolina State and Connecticut.
“We all want to prove ourselves and get on an NBA roster,” he said. “You just have to lay it on the line and compete.”
The Wizards, who don’t own a first-round pick and choose No. 52 overall, have interest in Trimble as a backup to John Wall, according to NBA sources familiar with the team. Both of Wall’s backups last season, Brandon Jennings and Trey Burke, are unrestricted free agents.
Asked how he might be able to help the Wizards, Trimble said, “Competitiveness, winning, I came from a winning program. Obviously John Wall is a great point guard, I can learn from him. The other players on the team, like Bradley Beal and Otto Porter, just those group of guys, I can learn from them, continue to get better and whenever my name is called, hopefully produce.”
While Trimble was always viewed as a quietly confident player at Maryland, at least one NBA scout questioned his confidence after this year’s combine.
Trimble, who has workouts scheduled with the Philadelphia 76ers on Sunday and the Houston Rockets the following day, said that he has learned about showing confidence from watching Wall.
“The confidence you’re talking about here is just a pride thing, [it’s] personal,” Trimble said. “I always relate to how John Wall plays, with the confidence, the attitude he plays with is something that rubs off [on] me. Even though we’re not teammates or anything, I still watch him. His energy just gets me going. That’s the kind of confidence I’m talking about, just the feeling that you can do anything.”
Notes: Former Pittsburgh standout Jamel Artis, who grew up in Baltimore, was among the players who worked out for the Wizards on Tuesday. ... Former Iowa State guard Monte Morris had travel problems that kept him from participating.