PLANO – It was sometimes hard to tell who was having the most fun Thursday afternoon at the Sports Authority’s Mavs Academy in Plano.
Was it the boys and girls campers? Or was it the guy who captivated the kids, a familiar looking guy wearing Dallas Mavericks tracksuits?
“For me, taking a little part of my day to make these kids smile, there’s no greater joy than that,” said Tyrell Terry, a 20-year-old Mavericks guard.
It was refreshing to see Terry, the Mavericks’ No.31 pick in the 2020 Draft, having fun on a basketball court – or for that matter seeing him, period, in a basketball setting.
Terry has only played 11 games as the Maverick, totaling 11 points and shooting 0v7 on 3-point attempts in 56 minutes of field time.
Most of his playing time was with the Memphis Hustle in the abridged G-League season in the Disney World bubble, where he averaged 14.7 points and 5.1 rebounds in 13 games.
Most of the time, however, Terry’s rookie season was shrouded in mystery. He took time off from the Mavericks from March 17 to May 12, with the team describing the reason for his absence as personal.
Terry’s comments Thursday to Plano Sports Authority were the first since his leave. Although he declined to explain in detail why he moved away from basketball, Terry expressed his gratitude to the Mavericks franchise.
“I had something to deal with personally that I needed to take care of so that I would come back and be the best version of myself,” he said. “The Mavericks were very helpful and supportive during this time.”
By the time Terry returned, there were only three regular season games left. He didn’t play in any of those games, nor in Dallas’ seven-game playoff loss to the Clippers, but Terry said the Mavericks “treated me like I never left.”
Without detailing the precise reasons for his 2-month leave this season, the Mavs guard @ tyterry05 expresses his gratitude for the support he has received from Mavs and fans. Terry appears in the Mavs Academy hoops camp at Plano Sports Authority. pic.twitter.com/ffEyxJG8zn
– Brad Townsend (@townbrad) July 8, 2021
So are Mavericks fans, Terry said. Two days before his return, Terry wrote on Instagram “The Lord gives his toughest fights to his strongest soldiers” and “Back and better than before. “
Fans have expressed their wishes to Terry on social media, although they didn’t know the circumstances of his departure. Terry before the season signed a four-year contract, although the fourth season was a team option.
“When I was gone, the fans could easily have been in my DMs saying, ‘Where the hell are you? You must be back here,” Terry said Thursday. “Saying a lot of negative things. But I did. found the opposite with Mavs fans.
“They’ve all been very supportive of me, saying they care about me and they care about me, and this season they’re excited to see what I can do. I am very grateful for all the support the Mavs fans have shown me.
The 2020-21 season will indeed be the rookie season that Terry hasn’t had – for a new coach, Jason Kidd, but not an unknown name for Terry.
Born in North Dakota and raised in Minneapolis, Terry played his only college season at Stanford. Kidd is a Bay Area legend, having grown up in Oakland and playing two seasons at Cal-Berkeley.
One of Kidd’s teammates during his freshman year at Cal was Jerod Haase, who after one season transferred to Kansas and had a remarkable career. Why is Haase’s name important? He was Terry’s head coach at Stanford.
Hiring Kidd is widely seen as a positive for Mavericks star point guard Luka Doncic, but 6-2 Terry could benefit as well. Terry, who is spending the summer in Dallas, said he spoke to Kidd by phone after Kidd was hired and hopes to meet him in person in the next few days.
“I’m looking forward to this and looking forward to what’s going to happen with Coach Kidd,” said Terry, adding that he and Kidd have teased each other about the Stanford-Cal rivalry.
Terry is slated to play for the Mavericks’ Summer League team in Las Vegas in August, but on Thursday he focused on Plano’s boy and girl campers.
After a year of running camps virtually due to COVID-19, Mavs Academy, in partnership with Chick-fil-A DFW, is running in-person sessions at 50% capacity, although virtual camp options are available. available.
During a question-and-answer session with the kids, Terry was momentarily puzzled when asked to name the toughest NBA player he has kept: “I haven’t kept all the players yet. He explained, then quickly added Houston’s “John Wall”. , one of the 11 teams he faced.
The best question came from a boy who wondered if anyone had discouraged Terry from playing basketball.
“It’s a great thing to have confidence and self-confidence,” said Terry. “In middle school, high school and university, all I heard was how little I was. I still hear it to this day.
“I could have easily let people say, ‘You’re too small; you will never get there. But I did not do it. I have tried to find ways to compensate for my thinness. This belief in me kind of got me to this point.
In the NBA, of course. With a new trainer. Getting ready for what he’s hoping for is the first of many full seasons, unlike the one he was deprived of last season.