Monday Rewind: Dalen Terry to the Chicago Bulls, NIL drama, and the top Pac-12 draft prospects in 2023
Welcome back to the Monday Rewind. Let’s dive in.
Arizona’s showcase night at the 2022 NBA Draft
Tommy Lloyd didn’t want to get into how three draft selections—all of which came within the first 33 picks of Thursday night’s NBA Draft—could help the Arizona Wildcats in recruiting. On a Zoom with members of the media, he cautioned not to overthink anything. His job is to help Arizona become one of the best basketball programs in the country. The rest takes care of itself.
“What I can tell you to do is how to be great at Arizona and if you’re great at Arizona, then you’re going to get an opportunity to go into the NBA,” the second-year head coach says of his message to players.
But let’s be real here. Arizona had a phenomenal night last Thursday. If the NBA Draft spotlighted any Pac-12 program, it was the Wildcats. Christian Koloko—33rd to the Raptors—was widely pegged as an early-second-round guy and some draft analysts nailed the selection. He fits what Toronto likes: long, active. Bennedict Mathurin—sixth to the Pacers—was going to be a lottery selection. He’s young but proven, skilled but promising. Lloyd’s system helped unleash those players.
As for Dalen Terry—18th to the Chicago Bulls—it was a perfect endorsement of what being good at Arizona can do for a player and what being in Tommy Lloyd’s system can do for their skillset.
Chicago general manager Marc Eversley said his team was “pleasantly surprised” to see Terry still on the board when the Bulls went on the clock. As the draft played out, he was the top prospect on Chicago’s board when it was time for Chicago to officially pick a name off of it. They felt he was the best player available, but they also felt he was a tremendous fit for the kind of team Eversley, president of basketball ops Arturas Karnisovas (“AK”), and coach Billy Donovan are trying to build in The Windy City.
“As we look to add pieces to this roster, I think he fits the kind of makeup we want to bring in,” Eversley told reporters on Friday. “He’s a tough kid, he’s competitive, he brings a winning spirit to the room. He’s a ball of energy, and I think we need that in this building every single day.
“… He literally said to us he would run here right now to get started. That’s just the kid he is and we’re excited to have him.”
Donovan told Terry the thing that would be important throughout his rookie season would be finding ways to keep that passion. Terry was ecstatic on draft night. But—and Lloyd told each of the future NBA guys this as well—the 82-game NBA season will be a grind when there’s nothing guaranteed.
Mathurin might get a starting role out of the shoot depending on how Indiana’s offseason evolves. Terry is on a veteran Bulls squad that, if it brings back Zach LaVine, will have three backcourt players in Lonzo Ball, LaVine, and DeMar DeRozan who will all see 30 minutes a night when healthy.
“The hardest thing, a lot of times, over 82 games is one game you don’t play, one game you do play and you play poorly, can you come back every day and be the same guy each and every day? That’s how guys get better,” Donovan said during an introductory press conference on Monday. “I feel very confident that’s going to be his mentality going into this season.”
A reporter asked Terry what his summer plans were.
He looked around the facility within which the presser was taking place, smiled, and said, “I’m gonna be here, right?” If he gets invited out to Los Angeles to work with DeRozan, “I’m there,” but otherwise he expects to be in Chicago learning the city and working with the Bulls’ staff.
That’s the part Lloyd will remember about coaching the versatile guard: his hunger.
“The way I experienced it was very authentic,” Lloyd said of Terry’s enthusiasm and energy, major talking points within the Bulls organization after meeting with him.
“He practices his butt off every day. He comes to work with a smile on his face. You can bring him into your office and you can have tough, honest conversations and he participates in those.”
Chicago is expecting Terry to be in Las Vegas for the NBA’s Summer League. Eversley and Karnisovas both talked about seeing him improve as a 3-point shooter moving forward. Eversley said he felt Terry was a capable shooter, but wouldn’t necessarily call him a shooter.
Instead, Terry is a switchable defender and an intelligent offensive connector. Lloyd harnessed those things.
“I think sometimes usage is overvalued,” Lloyd said. “Dalen helps teams win basketball games, and obviously his best days are ahead of him.
“A lot of times the game just comes down to effort and making effort plays. Dalen excels in that. He and I have talked numerous times and I’ve told him, ‘Hey, we put you in this position. Double down on it. Don’t go out and try to prove to everybody you turned into a great 3-point shooter the last two months or now you’re all the sudden a point guard. Just go out and hoop. Play with great passion, great spirit, and make winning plays. There’s value in that.’”
Obviously, the Bulls felt that value was worth the 18th pick in the NBA Draft.
Before the NBA Combine in May (which took place in Chicago), Terry had a workout with the Bulls. After it was over, he called his agent and said, “That’s where I need to be.” He told reporters on draft night that he watched quite a bit of Chicago this past season. Studying how DeRozan found ways to always get himself to his spots, how smooth LaVine was as he attacked opponents, how Caruso defended.
Terry says he watches bigger guards, but he feels he’s a “one of one” kind of player. The energy, the passion, the malleability. Karnisovas said Terry “can fit any style of play.” Donovan loves to go with guard-heavy lineups, packaging together players who can all handle the ball and move the floor. Terry should be able to find a role.
When he excels—and he will—Lloyd will be able to sit his guys in front of the TV, tune in to a Bulls game, and implore them to simply double down on being themselves. At Arizona, Lloyd will find a way to make it work.
Miami’s NIL operation gets all mixed up
By now you’ve probably seen that high 4-star quarterback Jaden Rashada committed to Mario Cristobal and the Miami Hurricanes over the weekend. There was an initial wave of excitement that followed, but then there was a bit of chaos.
It was reported Sunday night that Miami mega-booster John Ruiz had helped broker a $9.5 million NIL deal with Rashada’s representation, and in that report had direct quotes from Rashada’s representation, attorney Michael Caspino, saying the quarterback didn’t even take the largest deal on the table.
It was reported that Rashada had an offer of $11 million from Florida’s Gator Collective and chose Miami instead.
Ruiz publicly refuted the report, saying that he never talked to Caspino about the quarterback. Caspino then responded to Ruiz by saying the two have, in fact, never spoken. Gator Collective released its own statement denying any communication with Caspino and going so far as to call into question his ethics. Then Rashada released his own statement saying his commitment to Miami wasn’t about money.
Oregon was in on the Pittsburg, California, quarterback until recently. Rashada cut the Ducks from his top five while Oregon turned its attention to 5-star quarterback Dante Moore. The latter was in Eugene over the weekend kicking it with Marcus Mariota and a score of other blue-chip 2023 prospects.
Maybe this whole saga gives the Ducks some relief.
That’s quite a bit of drama over a thing most people assume is just standard operating practice right now. NIL is part of recruiting. The rules are that there are no rules. And, yet, according to Florida-based attorney Darren Heitner, the founder of Heitner Legal who works with The Gator Collective to provide legal counsel regarding NIL law, Caspino just went on record admitting to an NCAA violation.
Have fun with that one, Cristobal.
If Oregon lands Moore, and there are a number of signs pointing to that scenario coming to pass, the Ducks will have gotten the better quarterback without so much as a headache.
The question I’m left with is a simple one: how much longer are we going to play this game?
If the argument is that a top-50 recruit at the most important position on a football roster is worth anywhere between $9 million and $11 million, then OK. We can presume that to be the reality of the game right now. And that might be fair considering the money college football generates.
What’s the expected ROI for that deal? Does the booster or NIL collective forking over seven or eight figures hope they’re bankrolling a national championship? A conference championship? Or is the juice literally just getting Player X to School Y?
Rashada ranks as the 45th overall recruit in the 2023 class, per the 247 Composite. Compare that to the same range in the 2021 class and we could look at Ty Thompson (Oregon) or Jake Garcia (Miami). Garcia threw 14 passes last season and appears set to be a season-long backup to Tyler Van Dyke and… then… to Rashada? What if Garcia sticks around long enough to get into a QB battle with Rashada and beats him out?
What happens when big spenders start paying out hefty chunks of change ($9 million is still $9 million) for what amounts to in-case-of-emergency depth for two seasons and then a transfer somewhere else?
Does the wheel just keep turning because football is king and people have a lot of money? Or, in three or four years, does everyone look back at this and view it similar to the NBA cap spike in 2016 when Timofey Mozgov got $64 million from the Lakers just because?
Kinda feels like this is funny money right now. I’m curious how long it continues to be.
The top 2023 NBA Draft prospects from the Pac-12
The next draft is a year away but let’s just have some fun, shall we?
Here are my top five:
- Kel’el Ware, Oregon
- Amari Bailey, UCLA
- Azuolas Tubelis, Arizona
- Harrison Ingram, Stanford
- Jaime Jaquez, UCLA