For most college basketball players, the dream goes the same: They're sitting in the green room, with their agent and family, then the commissioner says their name, and they stride up to the stage, pull on a ballcap and smile for the cameras. No one ever dreams of being taken with the last pick. For No. 60 overall pick Tyrone Wallace, rated as the No. 89 overall prospect in this year's NBA Draft class, once his name was called, it was surreal.
"I never gave up on myself, or anything like that. I stayed confident, and I heard my name called as the 60th pick, which is something everybody dreams of. It’s something I’ve definitely dreamed of, since I was a young kid. I just wanted to get drafted and be a part of an organization, so I’m truly thankful to the Jazz organization for selecting me.”
Coming out of Bakersfield (Calif.), Wallace was ranked the No. 88 prospect in the 2012 class, the No. 16 point guard.
Going into last week's NBA Draft, Wallace was ranked the No. 19 point guard, and the No. 89 prospect overall in a draft that had just 60 slots. It was nothing new for Wallace. He'd been counted out, before.
"Even all throughout high school, before I came to college, I’ve always been – I think I was 60-something in the top 100," Wallace said. "So, I’ve always been a guy who hasn’t been at the top of the list, but I’ve always found a way to make things happen, to keep fighting and keep pushing. That’s what I’m all about. I didn’t look at it as anything to get down on. It was more of an opportunity to carry that chip, and come out and continu to work on my game, and get better and be the best player that I can be."
http://www.scout.com/college/california/story/1540333-tyrone-wallace-ret... Before deciding to return to California for his senior year, Wallace was pegged to go in the late first round of the NBA Draft. Instead of turning pro, he kept a promise to his late grandfather, Charles James "Buddy" Johnson. He would be the first in his family to get his college degree. Now, after being picked No. 60 overall by the Utah Jazz, he has a special distinction.
“I’m happy I made the decision," he said. "I think that we had a great year at Cal, and I do believe that we could have gone further, if we were healthy, but things happen. I’d definitely say I’m happy that I graduated from Cal, and to get drafted, that’s a once-in-a-lifetime experience. Not many people can say they graduated from Cal, and got drafted. It’s an experience that I will never forget, ever.”
Wallace's senior season didn't go as planned. He sat out six games with a broken hand -- first, breaking the third metacarpal in his right (non-shooting) hand, and then, just before the Bears left for Spokane, Wash., and the NCAA Tournament, seeded No. 4 -- the highest in program history -- he broke the second metacarpal.
As a junior, Wallace shot 42.5% from the field (44.9% from inside the three-point arc), and 31.8% from three-point range, while pulling down those 7.1 boards per game.
As a senior, Wallace's stats on the whole took a step back, as he averaged 5.3 rebounds per game, 1.0 steals (1.3 as a junior) and 15.3 points (down from 17.1 as a junior).
With Wallace back home in Berkeley, Cal lost in a stunner to No. 13-seeded Hawaii.
"I think that we had a great year at Cal, and I do believe that we could have gone further, if we were healthy, but things happen," Wallace said.
Still, Wallace became the only Cal player to currently rank among the school’s all-time top 10 in scoring, assists and steals, as well as top 15 in rebounding. He is eighth in school history with 1,613 points, sixth in assists with 437, seventh in steals with 139 and 13th in rebounding with 676. Wallace is also tied for fifth in school history with 129 games played. He was selected as an Honorable Mention All-Pac-12 performer as a senior.
After the season, Wallace saw teammate Jaylen Brown invited to the NBA Draft Combine. Wallace was not. Of the 60 players taken in Thursday's draft, Wallace was the only one not to be invited.
“I try not to get too high, not to get too low," said Wallace. "It was just an opportunity for me to have a chip on my shoulder, and I want to come out and prove to people that maybe I should have been invited.”
Wallace was, however, invited to 13 separate workouts with NBA teams. He rattled them off on Friday: Indiana, Orlando, Brooklyn, Denver, Phoenix, the Los Angeles Clippers, the Los Angeles Lakers, Sacramento, Dallas, Milwaukee, Chicago, Houston and the Utah Jazz, who had the final pick in the draft.
“I think my interview there was probably the longest one that I had, and I think a lot of teams expressed interest," he said. "I think I performed really well there in my workout. I did feel like my interview there was a lot longer than others. They asked a lot of questions, just really wanted to get to know me.”
The Jazz worked Wallace out as a point guard, and that's where he expects to compete, likely in the NBA Summer League in Las Vegas, though he does not yet know specifics of his schedule moving forward.
http://www.scout.com/college/california/story/1681209-wallace-picked-no-... “It’s pretty clear that my position is going to be a one at the next level," he said. "When I went in for my workout, that’s what we talked about, and that’s what I played during the workout. I know they have a lot of guards, currently, but I’m going to go out there, work hard, and you never know what happens.”
As Wallace sat in his aunt's home in Bakersfield on Thursday evening, his nerves were doing the samba.
"Aw, man, I was extremely nervous," said Wallace. "You’ve got so many people who enter the draft, and who probably know somewhat where they’re being chosen, so I’m sitting there, so nervous, and at one point, I couldn’t even move. I was just sitting on the chair. I didn’t even know what was going on. I was just watching, trying to patiently wait.”
59 picks went by. Brown went No. 3 overall to the Boston Celtics. It seemed like an eternity between that pick, and the final one.
“I always knew there was a possibility," he said. "I’m a very confident player. I’m confident in myself, and each and every workout I went on, I did my best, and I feel like I played really well at a lot of places. I felt like I set myself up with a good opportunity to be drafted. Even when they got into the second round, late into the second round, I was still hopeful that I would be picked up, that a team would see me and give me an opportunity.
Former teammate Allen Crabbe was a second-round pick, back in 2013. He, though, was taken 31st overall, by the Cleveland Cavaliers, with his rights being traded to the Portland Trailblazers. Crabbe has gone on to carve out a role with the Trailblazers, averaging 26.0 minutes and 10.3 points per game this season on a playoff-bound team. In the postseason, Crabbe averaged 27.5 minutes, 2.9 rebounds and 9.5 points, as he and Wallace kept in touch.
“I talk to Allen frequently," Wallace said. :When they were in the playoffs, I was able to catch a game down in L.A. against the Clippers, and I text back and forth with him, we talk on the phone. We keep in touch.”
Wallace now looks to Crabbe as an exemplar.
“I think there are plenty of examples of guys who have gone in the second round and maybe exceeded expectations, did more than people thought they would, so there’s always going to be guys who go in the second, and perform well, and make a name for themselves," Wallace said. "I think Allen is a good example. He went 31, and now, he’s in a great situation. He got his opportunities, played well, and I’m truly happy for him. I think it’s definitely something to look up to, as well as other cases where guys have gone late and performed and exceeded expectations.”
He'll need to follow in Crabbe's footsteps, particularly because the Jazz now have seven point guards on their roster. It's a challenge he doesn't shy away from.
"I’m definitely familiar with their roster," he said. “I know they drafted several guards. They’re just giving me an opportunity to go in there, work hard, and prove myself out there on the court, and hopefully get an opportunity."