Joyner Hopes D-League Draft Leads to NBA
Terrence Joyner believes it’s only a matter of time before his NBA dream becomes reality.
Joyner, who starred at Mississippi Valley State for two seasons, has entered his name in the NBA Development League Draft. The 24-year-old point guard is expected to be one of the top guards selected in Friday’s draft and he hopes to use the D-League as a springboard to begin his NBA career.
“I think the D-League is the best route for me,” Joyner told HOOPSWORLD. “I think I have the skills to be an NBA point guard. Once I get drafted, I’ll definitely prove myself and show what I can do.”
Last season, Joyner averaged 13.1 points for MVSU, leading the Delta Devils to the NCAA Tournament after winning regular season and conference titles in the Southwestern Atlantic Conference.
After finishing his college career, Joyner did his pre-draft training at Impact Basketball in Las Vegas, where he worked out with fellow prospects such as Dion Waiters, Terrence Ross and Maalik Wayns. He went undrafted, but shortly after he played for the Milwaukee Bucks during the Las Vegas Summer League and received a number of offers from overseas teams before deciding to join the D-League.
Joyner never considered taking a job overseas because his goal is to play in the NBA. He’s confident that he’ll experience success in the D-League and get called up at some point during the season.
“I think I’ll be in the NBA by February,” Joyner said. “I think my skills will stand out and teams will eventually realize that I’m an NBA-caliber player. I’m not worried about it. I’ve been working out and my confidence is high.”
Joyner compares his game to current NBA point guards George Hill of the Indiana Pacers and Eric Maynor of the Oklahoma City Thunder. He’s a high-energy player who creates for himself and others and plays effective defense. Joyner also provides leadership, which is a skill he honed as the big fish in the small pond at Mississippi Valley State. Joyner’s game should transition well from college to the pros. He knows his role and is willing to do anything to help his team. He says that every team needs a reserve that does the dirty work and goes at the team’s starters during practice, and he’d love to be that guy.
“I know I’m an NBA player,” Joyner said. “I know I’m an NBA talent. The D-League gives me the chance to prove it. I can’t wait. My dream is to play in the NBA. I’ve been waiting for this my whole life. Now, I’m right there. These D-League games are going to warm me up and then I’ll eventually be in the NBA. I’m really confident about my game – I know I’ll be one of the better players in the D-League this year.”
Joyner isn’t lacking confidence, but that’s because he has been holding his own against NBA players for many years. Growing up, Joyner played with and against NBA stars all the time. James Harden is one of his best friends and the two have worked out and played together for a long time. He is also close with Russell Westbrook, Brandon Jennings and DeMar DeRozan, playing against them on a regular basis. Joyner met these players as a high schooler, when he was one of the nation’s top recruits. While academic issues kept him from taking the conventional route to the league like his friends, he knows he can compete on their level and he’s been picking their brain ever since they made it to the league.
“A lot of the guys that I grew up with and played against are in the NBA and have done very well,” Joyner said. I play with James [Harden], Brandon [Jennings], Russell [Westbrook], DeMar [DeRozan] and guys like that all of the time. I grew up playing with those guys and I play with them over the summer. I’ve been around these guys as they went to the NBA from college and they’ve given me advice on and off the court to prepare me for the NBA. Having guys that I grew up with in the NBA and entering their third and fourth season is definitely an advantage I have over other guys who are trying to make it.”
Soon, Joyner will have the chance to audition for NBA teams on a nightly basis and prove that he’s worth a call up and roster spot. He has worked his entire life to play in the NBA and now his play in the D-League will determine what his future holds.
“I’m ready for that opportunity,” Joyner said. “I can’t wait.”