As the 2018 G League Elite Mini-Camp got underway earlier this week, NBA executives, scouts, and coaches filed into the Chicago gym to have a peek at the best prospects the minor league had to offer. The stage was set to allow such youngsters the opportunity to prove they are worth another look in the months to come.
“The roster was unbelievable. I could see more than half of these guys heading over to Summer League and then going to NBA training camp in the fall,” Memphis Hustle head coach Glynn Cyprien told RidiculousUpside.com. “That’s a tribute to the G League staff putting this whole event together. It was very professional and efficiently run.”
Coach Cyprien was among the head coaches tasked with guiding players through games of competition at the camp. Such a selection should be considered an honor in of itself. It’s a testament to the coach’s commitment to the development of his players in Memphis. Serving as a mentor in Chicago, it was up to Coach Cyprien to put his players in the best position to get noticed. His group featured the likes of Diamond Stone, Kadeem Jack, and Shevon Thompson.
“The thing we talked about with our guys was how to be unselfish and play the right way. That’s what GMs and coaches want to see,” he said. “Who is going to do the dirty work? Who will lock in on defense during an event like this?”
Coincidentally enough, the camp doesn’t just serve as a growth opportunity for the players, but for the coaches involved as well. Those on Coach Cyprien’s staff included Grand Rapids Drive coach Ryan Krueger, Windy City Bulls coach Charlie Henry, and former NBA forward Buck Johnson, who is taking part in an NBA program that helps former players explore and prepare for future coaching opportunities.
“We had four games and divided the duties amongst ourselves. Each one of us had a game,” he shared. “For a guy like Buck, it gave him an opportunity to coach, draw up plays, and do things he hasn’t done before. I enjoyed that more than anything else.”
When Coach Cyprien’s group wasn’t hitting the hardwood, he took pride in Hustle big man Chance Comanche’s participation at the camp. Despite only starting fourteen games for Memphis this past season, the young gun averaged 9.2 points on 59% shooting with 5.7 rebounds. He especially showed potential toward the end of the campaign.
“I’m so proud of Chance [Comanche]. What he did for the Hustle says so much about who he is. We had other big men with us earlier in the season, so he had to wait his turn,” the coach said. “He remained professional and when his number was called, he made a great impact. For him to come to an event like this, it’s a big deal not only for him, but for us as an expansion team.”
As previously mentioned, the Hustle coach has high hopes for many of the week’s competitors. Understandably so, Comanche is included in that group. “He’s got a lot of people calling about him. He’s taking this thing seriously and realizing he can play in this league for a long time,” the coach concluded.
Based on the level of competition stemming from the camp, the 6’10” center likely isn’t the only one with positive things to come.