As the D-League becomes increasingly prevalent to the pro game, it's easy to understand and appreciate the type of grind such prospects are on in hopes of getting that worthwhile look from an NBA executive or two.
There's no denying the players must make sacrifices along the way, but the fact of the matter is that coaches and/or front office staffers in the minor league should often garner as much praise for similarly getting down and dirty as well. The pay is low, the travel/lodging accommodations aren't stellar, and getting involved in the D-League often means picking up, only to land in an otherwise smaller and unfamiliar city.
Of course, as the goals become within grasp and their hard works begins to pay off, everything is (or will be) worth it in the end.
Eager to hit the ground running and learn as much as he could, Jarrett Sutton relished the opportunity he had to serve as Basketball Operations Coordinator for the Santa Cruz Warriors last season.
As a member of the team's staff, Sutton was involved in team-building while evaluating prospects in anticipation of last year's D-League Draft, and also continued his scouting efforts during the season as well.
Having played with Kim English and other NBA prospects during a four-year collegiate career at Missouri, Sutton was attempting to break into The Association in a different sense. While English led a group trying to impress big league executives during NBA Summer League, Sutton was interviewing for jobs, and subsequently preparing to assume a new post in Santa Cruz.
During his time at Missouri, the guard appeared in just 49 games over a four year period. Recognizing that, however, the determination and passion he continues to carry himself with, to this day, should speak volumes about where he's been, and where he's destined to go. The ability he showed to stick with it showed perseverance.
"From my background, I made my college team as a walk-on. I was actually cut my first year," Sutton said in a recent conversation with RidiculousUpside.com. "But I made my team as a walk-on, earned a full-ride scholarship, and ended up being a part of the winningest class in Mizzou history. I think, for me, it meant a lot because I've always had to start at that bottom, even if I were told 'no' initially."
At 26 years old, Sutton is on a respective grind of his own. Given the progress he continues to make, there's no doubt he can relate to the journeys D-League players are on to make a name for themselves, too. In addition to having an eye for spotting things some others may not, Sutton is not too far removed his own playing days. Thus, he could very well serve as an asset for a minor league team in a number of different ways.
As he looks ahead to different opportunities, Sutton regards his time in the D-League rather highly, and is eager to continue breaking barriers en route to getting more immersed in the game he loves so much. In fact, working for Santa Cruz guaranteed a varied workload for Sutton, ensuring that he'd get to experience first-hand and be involved in many aspects of the game, an opportunity he may not have gotten elsewhere.
No stranger to hardcore and/passionate basketball communities, he had nothing but praise and appreciation for the Santa Cruz Warriors' fan base.
As he spoke to Ridiculous Upside, it was easy to see Sutton has a passion for video work and training, among other things.
"I've interviewed with NBA teams, but just haven't gotten that break yet. I'm still going to push as hard as I can to accomplish my goals, whatever they may be," he added.