What a rollercoaster ride this past season was.
It was definitely a mental challenge dealing with my time in Portland. I struggled to get consistent minutes off the bench, and I never really seemed to be included in the overall game plan. On top of that, the team started off hot. That was especially tough for me. Being a young player, I’m trying to do anything I can to make a name for myself. I was in a position where my team was winning, so I didn’t want to complain too much. But at the same time, you want to play because you feel like you can contribute to the team. So it was definitely an everyday fight with my ego. But I managed it well; I cheered for my teammates and was a good guy in the locker room. I tried to keep the mentality that things would eventually pay off for me.
I had a lot of support from family and friends, but it was mainly my family that I communicated with. I’ve got a great support system. There wasn’t a day that went by that we didn’t talk about my situation. They helped with keeping my spirits up. Instead of getting down on myself about my playing time, I went to the gym at night and just tried to keep myself ready for the next opportunity. That’s the only thing you can do if you’re in that kind of position.
When the opportunity came up to play ball in Denver, I was both relieved and excited. I’ve known Tim Connely ( GM of the Denver Nuggets) since I was about 12 years old. I’ve worked out with one of his brothers since I was in high school. We know each other pretty well. So, on that end it was good. But at the same time, he is even harder on me because he knows me and expects a lot out of me. That puts me in a good position because now I won’t take anything for granted. I go out there and work hard for everything I get. With increased minutes, I was able to work on my game and become familiar with the Nuggets system. More minutes also helped me build confidence on the court. I was able to produce about 12 points per game and a little over 4 assists per game. Although our record didn’t show it, I felt that I finished off the season strong in Denver. I’ve been working my tail off so far this offseason, and can’t wait for the start of the 2015-2016 season.