Trinitarian’s pathway to basketball eliteDoug Conway
If American basketball pundits prove correct, Tyrese Proctor will be the number seven NBA draft pick in 2024, which would catapult him to a starting salary around $5 million.
The Trinitarian is widely tipped to be on track for a spot in the cream of the crop, the top 15 in the NBA draft lottery.
It’s a sobering thought for an 18-year-old whose sporting and scholastic foundations were built at Trinity, and who is living the dream of sport paving the way to college.
It was a base that set him on a trajectory to win a sporting scholarship this year to basketball powerhouse Duke University in Durham, North Carolina.
“That (going to America) was always his ambition,” said Trinity Director of Basketball Ben Morrissey, who not only coached Tyrese at School but also his American father Rod in professional basketball at the Sydney Comets and Bankstown Bruins of the ABA league.
“We had multiple conversations from the moment he got here in Year 7.
“We made it clear to him you can’t go to college (in the US) unless you perform academically. That helped lay the foundations for him.”
His parents were supportive – his mum Melissa is a primary school principal at Bass Hill – and he responded in a positive way.
“He worked really hard and did all the extras,” said Mr Morrissey.
“He was very coachable; he wanted to learn and he had the ‘team first’ mentality that is our hallmark at Trinity.
“He is a humble, respectful young man, a good kid on and off the court.
“He is tough like his dad, he’s big, he’s athletic, he can score, and he makes the other guys around him better.”
Tyrese starred in Years 7-10 at Trinity before winning a place at the NBA Global Academy in Canberra.
He played in the School’s Firsts as a 14-year-old, made the CAS Firsts the following year, was selected in the NSW under 16 team, showed signs of great things to come on Trinity’s US tour in 2017 and was voted Firsts most valuable player (MVP) in Year 10.
“Trinity played a big part in him finding the balance between school (work) and sport,” said Mr Morrissey.
“He handled the move to Canberra really well, I think because he had such a good grounding here.”
Tyrese retains his ties with Trinity, and returned in January to watch his old mates play in the annual Trinity Challenge tournament.
The 193 cm point guard said he had loved basketball ever since his dad put a ball in his hand aged two.
“This game has changed my life. I am so thankful for the opportunities I have had.
“I’ve got big goals and big dreams. I’ll go anywhere to chase my dreams at the highest level. That’s why I’m taking my game 15,292 kms from home to the greatest hoops fam in the game.”
He becomes the second Aussie since Jack White (2016-2020) to play for Duke, which has won five national championships.
Duke basketball writer Brendan Marks said of Proctor: “He can flat out play. He has ideal size for a lead guard in the college game, with a longer (200cm) wingspan and a decent shooting touch already.”
The Duke Chronicle called him “a good spot-up shooter and skilled passer with a high basketball IQ”.
ESPN basketball analyst Fran Fraschilla said: “He is in the mould of terrific young Australian guards like the Thunder’s Josh Giddey and future NBA first round pick, Dyson Daniels. He’s a smooth, skilled, versatile big guard.”
One US website was even more upbeat, placing him at number seven on its mock 2024 draft list.
Tyrese’s progress builds on the achievements of previous Trinitarian basketballers such as Liam Thomas (’12) who starred in the NCAA Division 1 while studying at Nicholls State University in Louisana; Dom Gilbert (‘13), who has played in Croatia, Holland, and France; and Blake Borgia (‘04) and Davo Hickey (‘17), who made it to Australia’s NBL.