Roy to Nowell: Be Patient and Good Things Will Happen
Jaylen Nowell has been back in the NBA for a month now, having shuttled between the Minnesota Timberwolves and the G League's Iowa Wolves for much of his first pro basketball season.
By all accounts, he is doing everything necessary to succeed, showing plenty of patience with the process and waiting his turn.
Nowell came back to Seattle over the All-Star break and made the rounds, visiting with former University of Washington coaches and even bumping into Brandon Roy at the Garfield High School gym, where both were standout players.
Roy, a former All-American at UW, NBA All-Star and now the Garfield basketball coach, was impressed with Nowell's approach to this dues-paying moment in time.
"It sounds like he's got his head on right," Roy said. "He said the NBA is not just about talent, it's about building relationships and having good character, and sometimes that's the guy who gets the extra chance.
"When he said that, I said, 'I don't have to give you any game.' He's getting it and figuring it out."
Nowell, the reigning Pac-12 Player of the Year, passed up his final two years of college eligibility to make himself available early for the NBA draft last June. He's played in 11 games for Minnesota, averaging 11 minutes an outing and 4.2 points and 1.3 assists per game.
He had a high game of 12 points in 16 minutes in a 104-102 loss to the Milwaukee Bucks last month. He averaged 21.1 points in 26 games for his Iowa G League team.
"I asked him if he was making his dreams come true and he said, 'Coach, it's unbelievable,' " said Huskies leader Mike Hopkins. "That puts a big smile on our faces."
Nowell went to Minnesota in the second round, taken by the Timberwolves with the 43rd pick overall. He ended up with a franchise that has brought in a lot of Seattle-area talent over the years -- among them Jamal Crawford (one season), Martell Webster (two seasons), Zach Lavine (three seasons), Roy ( five games) and Will Conroy (four games).
Roy reminded Nowell that former Husky Isaiah Thomas similarly had to keep pushing for his opportunity and everything paid off for him. Thomas became one of the NBA's best guards by taking an upbeat approach.
What Roy didn't tell Nowell was he selfishly would have loved see to him play another season of college basketball.
"I wish he was still playing for the Huskies this year," said Roy, who will be featured on Husky Maven/Sports Illustrated in the coming days. "(Having the) returning Pac-12 Player of the Year would have been real cool to have on the team. He did what was good for him.
"He's making more money than he would sitting in the dorm room right now."