My journey to the NBA was one that I will never forget.
I had a dream and that is all it took. Sometimes, when you believe hard enough and when you give your whole heart into something, then you can't go wrong. I've had a dream since a very young age to one day be in the NBA. Although it was a dream when I was young, it became a goal once I got to college. I had fun playing the game that I love.
I have had a basketball in my hand since I was three or four years old but I think I took the game seriously when I was in high school. Basketball was the sport that I grew to love more and more each day and the game eventually became a part of me.
Growing up, I always had my family to be there for me from the jump. My mom was in the WNBA and because of that, I was constantly surrounded by the sport. I remember she was always playing. She would practice, play overseas and coached. You name it, she did it. I truly believe that because I was always around the game, I grew to love the sport myself. I always felt attached to the sport from a young age.
I have always been so close with my family. They always supported me with everything that I wanted to do. They just wanted me to be happy and they were behind me 100%.
When it came time to choosing a college, it was a hard decision for me. I definitely did not know which college I was going to right away. I had a close relationship with all the coaches and had a great experience with each school.
I knew I needed to make the right choice for me and take a bit of time to think it through instead of jumping right into a school.
I grew a pretty close bond with a lot of schools like Kentucky, Michigan but I think I knew in the back of my head which school was meant for me.
The atmosphere of the school made me feel like it was the right fit for me. The school had a tradition of being a basketball school and I just felt the family atmosphere from my first encounter. So even though there were many schools in the running, I knew I was destined to be a Spartan.
There were so many games and so many memories that I will never forget. I remember when we would go out on the road we had the crowds go against us. Even being the opposing team, it brought out my competitive drive to make me want a win even more. It was a completely different atmosphere than playing at home.
Every day I tried to do whatever I could just to get into the NBA. I always had goals. I stuck to my workouts, trained and everyone around me was just working extremely hard. You see how much everyone wants it and the drive in their eyes.
After the stretch, I was just relieved. You know how hard you have worked and everything you have put into it so when you get to the draft, you just want to see where you will go.
I remember sitting there and thinking to myself that I would be grateful for the opportunity to be drafted by any team. I had my parents and my two younger brothers both there to support me. My parents were by my side and by brothers stayed in the green room. We all just waited. There must have been 19-20 players invited to stay in the green room as well.
I just felt it all. All of my nerves were coming out at that moment. I was nervous, excited, and grateful. I just had so many great feelings coming through. For me, I had so many thoughts going through my head. You don’t know where you are going to end up and you don’t know that if at only 19 years old you will have to be away from your family and your home. It almost doesn’t feel real.
This is what I have dreamed about almost all my life and it is finally happening. My time was finally here.
I was sitting there and it was so surreal. You walk on stage, shake the commissioner's hand with your hat on and you just take in the moment. All I could think while I was up on stage was how excited I was and happy to even have that opportunity.
See for me, every day that I have the opportunity to play the game, the love grows even more. I am grateful that I have the chance to play with and against some of the best players in the world. It was my first time playing in the NBA. I have all older guys on my team so I wanted to do everything I could to prove myself when I got there.
This was one of the biggest moments of my life and I will always be forever grateful that I even have the opportunity to be in the spot I am in today.