In their first season in the NBA G League, the Memphis Hustle had a rough year, finishing with a 21-29 record. Struggles should be expected from a team in year one Still, the Hustle had some bright spots in players that progressed over the course of the campaign.
Former Arkansas guard Dusty Hannahs emerged from the end of the team’s bench to become a key role player in the later stages of the year. During the last 10 games of the season, he averaged 14.2 points, 2.6 rebounds and 4.5 assists on 40% from the field and 42% from beyond the arc in 34 minutes per game.
In a recent interview with RidiculousUpside.com, Hannahs discussed his journey and how he gained his team’s trust to eventually earn more playing time, allowing him to make an impact.
Ridiculous Upside: Despite a solid two-year run with Arkansas, you didn’t get any traction when it came to draft workouts. Why do you think that was?
Dusty Hannahs: I think it was a mixture of people not knowing who I was. I’m used to it because it was the same way when I went from high school to college. The only workout I had was with the Grizzlies and it went really well. I look at it positively because I only had one draft workout and they ended up picking me up for their G League squad. I do think that if I was someone that came out for a lot of workouts and they saw that I shot the ball well, I would have landed on a Summer League squad.
RU: Shortly after the draft, you decided to sign a deal with a Polish team but didn’t end up playing at all. What were the reasons behind you staying in the states?
DH: While the pay might’ve been better in Poland, it wasn’t enough to sway me to go because I really wanted to play for Coach Cyprien and stay close to him.
RU: When did you learn that the Hustle wanted you to attend their workout?
DH: A few days after I signed, I played a few pick-up games with the Grizzlies guys as Coach Cyprien and the front office were watching. After that, Coach let me know that he wanted me in training camp with the Hustle.
RU: As a rookie, you had a chance to play with vets like Durand Scott, Marques Teague and Myke Henry? What did you learn anything from those veterans?
DH: Just watching how they get prepared every game helped me get better. I tried to take a lot from those guys —- watching how Omari Johnson shot the ball with confidence , Marquis Teague’s go-to moves and Trahson Burrell’s rebounding. It really helped me towards the end when I had my opportunity to be able to average 15 points, 5 assists and 4 rebound in the last month of the year. All parts of my game grew from watching how they scored the ball, rebounded and facilitated.
RU: How are you spending your second summer as a pro athlete?
DH: I’ve been working out at the University of Arkansas gym with strength coach Adam Pettway. Alongside that, I also go to Los Angeles with Bobby Portis and train with him. I’ve been using this off-season to hone my game and focus on improving my body to deal with the grind of being a pro and help get me closer to the NBA.
RU: Do you have any plans to return to the G League next year?
DH: I’m still currently weighing my options. I had a really good time in the G League, especially towards the end when I felt like the game really slowed down for me. As a combo guard that can shoot, I think I can really fit in the NBA with the way the game has been going.