If Dalen Terry has made one thing obvious since hearing his name come off the board on draft night, it’s that he couldn’t be more excited to be a Chicago Bull:
“Honestly, when I worked out here, I just loved the gym,” Terry said. “Loved the facility, love the people around here. And, obviously, this is a rich culture. Who else wouldn’t want to be here?”
The No. 18 pick who radiated energy last Thursday night took a much more disciplined approach to his introductory press conference on Monday. Planted between his front office leader and head coach in the very gym where he will prepare for his first official season as a pro, Terry sounded like someone who may not ever walk out the door: “I love basketball. I’ve loved basketball since I was born honestly. I breathe, sleep, cry, everything, basketball,” Terry said while recalling the basketball tournament he asked his mother to put together for on his 10th birthday.
Head coach Billy Donovan – who had his first opportunity to discuss his roster’s newest member – repeatedly emphasized the 19-year-old’s competitive make-up. While he didn’t want to pinpoint the exact role he envisions Terry playing next season, he sounded confident that the rookie’s work ethic will have him on the floor sooner than later.
“I think if you talk to anyone about Dalen, the thing that comes out loud and clear is his passion and competitiveness to want to win. Impact the team,” Donovan told reporters. “It’s hard to say right now what his role will be because we have to get the group together …
I think he’s very eager to learn, and get better, and grow, and improve. As long as he keeps that mentality, then his talent level will just continue to get level. But I think that’s what we want to continue to do here is bring in guys that have that kind of competitive spirit and mentality, and he certainly has a great deal of that.”
As cheesy as gushing about “competitive spirit” can be, few things describe Terry better. Someone who averaged just 8.0 points for the Arizona Wildcast last season, his two-way energy was crucial to earning the program a 33-4 record and a No. 1 seed in the NCAA Tournament.
A lengthy 6-7 wing who wreaked havoc jumping passing lanes on one end and converting rewind-worthy passes on the other, Terry has the combination of athleticism and hustle that projects to fit effortlessly in today’s positionless era. And that’s exactly why Arturas Karnisovas didn’t sound worried about finding the right role for him moving forward.
“His profile as a player, he can fit any style of play. Being a versatile player, I think he can play different positions, different spots. I think that’s the most attractive thing,” Karnisovas said. “How he’s going to fit, we’re going to find out. It’s one thing at a time. He’s going to get in the gym; he’s going to go to summer league. I think this period of time between training camp and now I think it’s very important for young players like him.”
Terry will stay in Chicago to start Summer League training camp next week. From there, the expectation is he will be the Bulls’ most important roster member in Las Vegas. Not only will he get to demonstrate the set of skills that moved him up draft boards during the pre-draft process, but he’ll have a chance to flash the parts of his game that he’s already started to improve.
Whether Terry can then carve himself out an immediate rotation role on this win-ready Bulls roster is something only time will tell. But, if one thing is for certain, he’ll never stop trying.
Check out the Terry’s full introductory press conference below: