Thursday, October 30, 2008

A wonderful story of perseverance and determination

Earlier this week, the San Jose paper described DeMarcus Nelson's rise from undrafted rookie to NBA starter as "a wonderful story of perseverance and determination."

According to the article, it's "the first time since the Warriors moved to California in 1962 that an undrafted rookie free agent started in the opener."

Says DeMarcus:

"I wouldn't say that I'm surprised because I set my goals high. It is a blessing that I'm getting this chance so early. But I just knew that if I could get an opportunity, I could open everybody's eyes about who I am.

Every kid who ever plays basketball dreams of hearing their name called and knowing that they've made the NBA. For that not to happen, it felt as if my dream was being taken away. There were guys who went in the lottery that I completely destroyed in workouts.

I thank God for this opportunity, but now it's my job to run with it. I'm going to make mistakes. But as long as I make them out of aggression, I think the team can live with them."

A defensive standout at Duke, "Coach Mike Krzyzewski's structured system changed his game from pure scorer to well-rounded player. As the lone senior and captain last season, he averaged 14.5 points, 5.8 rebounds and 2.9 assists and [in March] was named the ACC's defensive player of the year as Duke won 28 games."

Said DeMarcus' father (pictured above with his son) an associate Baptist pastor:

"I know people reading this story are shocked about DeMarcus. But my son is tough. We did have a five-minute pity party after the draft. But in life, you have two choices: You can lay down or you can get up. He got up and did it the hard way."

Says Warriors coach Don Nelson:

"You just have to pencil in that he's going to be a rookie and he's playing out of position a little bit and he's going to make some errors. You just have to deal with it. But he does so many other things. He's good to have on the floor and he's competitive. I'm willing to sacrifice some mistakes by having him out there."