Bulls president of basketball operations Arturas Karnisovas pointed out when he visited Arizona practice early last season, Dalen Terry was the loudest player in the gym.
Arizona head coach Tommy Lloyd said there was a time when he had to tell Terry and No. 6 draft pick Bennedict Mathurin to cool it in practice. They were teammates, not competitors.
The Bulls are hoping Terry will fill the Advocate Center with energy for the next several years. The 6-foot-7 wing was fairly subdued when formally introduced Monday at the Bulls practice facility.
“I think the one thing that really stood out from the people you speak to, just his energy, his enthusiasm,” Bulls coach Billy Donovan said. “I think if you talk to anybody about Dalen, the thing that comes out loud and clear is his passion and competitiveness. It’s hard to say right now what his role will be because we’ve got to get the whole group together.”
Karnisovas said the start of last season was exactly how the Bulls want to play, creating turnovers and running the floor when Lonzo Ball, Zach LaVine and Alex Caruso were all at full strength. Terry should fit well with that style.
“His ability to adapt and play every game with the same energy, that’s what attracted (us),” Karnisovas said.
Terry produced modest stats last season for a strong Arizona squad. But his shooting and playmaking made jumps from his freshman to sophomore year.
“If you were to ask me a year ago at this time if we would be having a Zoom and Dalen would have been the 18th pick, I’d probably say, ‘Don’t bet on it,'” Lloyd said over the weekend . “But this kid came so far in a year and it’s a credit to his work. He practiced his butt off every day.
“I love his energy and I love his spirit. I think that’s an important part but what I love more is just at the core he’s a high character dude. My only sad thing is that I don’t get to coach him again.”
Terry said he’ll wear No. 25 with the Bulls to honor both Steve Kerr, another former Arizona star who wore No. 25 for the Bulls; and Simeon legend Ben Wilson, who wore the number in high school.
A couple of stories illustrated Dalen Terry’s enthusiasm for basketball. He said for his 10th birthday, he asked for a basketball tournament. So his mother Fenise Yancy organized a three-on-three tourney to celebrate.
“I love basketball, I’ve loved basketball since I was born honestly,” Terry said. “So I breathe, sleep, cry — everything basketball. That’s what I wanted to do that year.
“I play basketball every day, but for my birthday I wanted to play basketball again. So I had my own tournament, a little bit more attention on me. (Mom) was reffing. I got a lot of calls that day.”
Terry’s father Al started a travel basketball program in the Phoenix area for Dalen to play in. He said the idea was to emphasize skill development rather than just playing games.
“I wanted to make sure the kids in our neighborhood and our community had an opportunity to learn and develop basketball the right way,” Al Terry said. “Once you have a blueprint, it makes it easier to open doors for other people.”
The program continues, with the name changing from Valley Elite to DT Elite. So Dalen already sponsors a travel program, following the famous example of Phoenix Suns star Chris Paul.
Ayo skips summer league:
Bulls coach Billy Donovan said Monday he does not expect Ayo Dosunmu or Patrick Williams to play in the Las Vegas Summer League.
Williams is no surprise, since he’s heading into his third season, when most players graduate out of summer league. But Dosunmu is a mild surprise as a second-year player. The feeling is the former Illini star got so much playing time as a rookie, there isn’t anything more for him to show.
“They will probably not play in the games in Vegas, but they will be here working with the group,” Donovan said. “Patrick’s been in and out, Ayo’s been here pretty much the whole entire summer.”
That leaves first-round pick Dalen Terry and two-way addition Justin Lewis from Marquette as the highlight players in Las Vegas, with the rest of the roster to be announced.
The Bulls will open summer league play against Dallas on Fri., July 8 at 3 pm They’ll face New York, Toronto and Charlotte, followed by at least one tournament game.
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