Terrance Ferguson Excited to Be Back Home, Ready to Work
By Jimmy Do | okcthunder.com
Near downtown Oklahoma City in the Boathouse District, the backdrop of an overcast morning at the CHK|Central Boathouse where the inside wraparound views from the north shore of the Oklahoma River through the lofty floor-to-ceiling glass windows reminded Terrance Ferguson of Semaphore Beach in Adelaide, Australia.
Dressed in his Sunday best in a slim-fitting no-nonsense white button up shirt, black tie and dress slacks, the newest member of the Thunder ambled his way atop the stage with Thunder General Manager and Executive Vice President Sam Presti and Thunder head coach Billy Donovan for an introductory press conference Saturday morning.
The moment was the realization of a plan when Ferguson, the 21st overall selection of this year’s NBA Draft, traveled 10,000 miles away after graduating high school to jumpstart his development at the professional level in the National Basketball League (NBL) in Australia for the Adelaide 36ers last year.
While gaining invaluable experience during his time in the NBL, the Tulsa native was ready to be back home in Oklahoma to play in front of the Thunder faithful.
“There's nothing like home,” said Ferguson. “So to be back at home and play for my home team. It’s very exciting and I’m blessed.”
And the timing could not be more perfect to launch his NBA career in the state he grew up in, coming full circle for Ferguson.
While Ferguson’s rim-jarring aerial acrobatics collected a swelling crowd of curious YouTubers since Thursday night, his athletic fusion of hyper-competitive instincts and ability to cover ground quickly using a staggering blend of speed, size and length produced the most intrigue toward a defensive force in the making.
Understanding what he could bring to the table, the young swingman took pride in his ability to disrupt on that end of the floor.
“Definitely my defense. My defense, I'm going to work as hard as I can and just play defense,” said Ferguson.
Ferguson possessed the kind of otherworldly athletic prowess that seemed to be incubated in a remote lab somewhere promising on-court rewards. A unique compound of international hoops experience, work ethic and team-player mentality from a 19-year-old made Ferguson one of those rare, exciting players for the Thunder.
“It's rare to find a player with this type of makeup, but also skill set,” said Presti. “We're looking forward to many great years with him wearing Thunder blue.”
Donovan concurred as he was already familiar with the caliber of not only Ferguson’s play on the court, but his character from the recruiting trail during his Florida years.
“He is a phenomenal runner that can get out ahead of plays and an exceptional shooter, but I think his speed in the open floor is important,” said Donovan. “His has ability defensively to guard multiple positions and he's got a mentality competitively that I think is very unique.”
While Ferguson has the physical capabilities to play fast and above the rim, his demeanor was more down-to-earth wielding a team-first attitude on development when discussing his adjustment to the NBA despite having a year of playing against professionals under his belt.
“I don't really think it's a big adjustment, but mostly I'll lean on my coaches and my teammates,” said Ferguson.
That kind of receptiveness showed his confidence to maximize his role as a contributor to the team, which underscored an excellent match for both Ferguson and the Thunder.
“What an exciting day it is for the Thunder to welcome not only a player but a person like Terrance to the organization,” said Presti. “He represents many of the things that we strive to bring into the Thunder and also into the state of Oklahoma, with his roots here, so that's another wonderful aspect to him being a part of the organization.”
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