Nate Pryor, for whatever reason, couldn't make it work at the University of Washington. The point guard committed to the Huskies out of West Seattle High, but academic shortcomings instead sent him to junior college.
A year ago, he joined Mike Hopkins' Huskies but received the briefest of opportunities during a 5-21 disaster of a season and he turned to the transfer portal.
On Monday, Pryor finally found what he was looking for in the college game with New Mexico State — a headliner moment. At the infamous Pit in Albuquerque before a raucous crowd of 13,019, the 6-foot-4 junior came off the bench to hit an improbable game-winning shot in the Aggies' 78-76 overtime victory over New Mexico in their Rio Grande Rivalry.
With time running out, Pryor brought the basketball up the floor, gave it up to a teammate, took a return pass down low and flipped the ball up over his head and it went in.
"The ball was kind of slippery, so it came off my hand and I had to just throw it up," Pryor explained.
The buzzer shot capped Pryor's first extended playing time with his new team. In 34 minutes against the Lobos, he finished with 8 points, 7 rebounds and 4 assists for the Aggies (7-2).
Pryor showed up to New Mexico State in June with an undisclosed in injury and had to play himself into shape. He missed the first five games, played briefly in three others and finally was healthy enough to stay on the floor in Albuquerque.
"He's a veteran," Aggies coach Chris Jans said. "He knows that he's going to have to go through some barriers cardio-wise and get his rhythm back, but it's nice to see him in a uniform."
Pryor played in 16 Husky games last season and received only one real opportunity from Hopkins to play meaningful minutes. He started twice and averaged 4.1 points and 1.6 assists per game. He had a high game of 15 points against Colorado.
He ran the floor well, but mostly watched last winter. New Mexico State clearly can use him.
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