LAS VEGAS – Tyler Harvey didn’t envision it this way, his basketball career trudging through Pennsylvania, France, Italy and Tennessee.
After being selected in the second round of the 2015 NBA draft by the Orlando Magic, the former Eastern Washington star thought his career was headed to “the league.”
But the Magic opted not to invite Harvey to fall camp after a stint in the NBA Summer League and instead invited him to play in the D League. There was no invite back, and he ended up overseas for two years.
After the Magic traded his NBA rights to the Memphis Grizzlies, he was added to the roster of their G League affiliate, the Memphis Hustle, where he put up some impressive numbers last season before breaking his foot and being sidelined the last couple months of the season.
Now he’s looking for a second chance to get back in the league.
“I try to take it each year as its own,” said Harvey, who is playing for the Grizzlies in this year’s summer league. “I went overseas for two years and I was like ‘why not give it another shot and try to make the league.’”
As it turns out, it was his two years overseas that helped mature Harvey, who turns 26 on July 17, both as a player and person.
“You have a lot of alone time by yourself,” he said. “My fiancée came out for a little bit, but for the most part you’re out there by yourself. It gave me a chance to work on my mental game and just self-awareness type of things. I try to stay consistent with my emotions; try not to let them get the best of me. I try to have that persona of just everything’s calm, everything’s gonna work out.”
Back in the states, he’s applying what he learned in the slower-paced Euro leagues to help his game. Harvey said he was able to see the game a bit differently, taking what coaches teach in France and Italy. His reads have become clearer, while his approach is much more precise.
This week during his second run through the summer, he’s looking to apply everything and grow as a player while keeping an eye on Memphis’ regular-season roster in the fall, especially since he’s grown fond of the organization since playing for the Hustle.
Grizzlies summer league coach Taylor Jenkins said he’s been impressed with Harvey’s work ethic, coming back from his foot injury, and reapplying his dedication toward his dream.
“It’s been great,” Jenkins said. “Recovering from injuries, I know it’s been awhile since he’s been playing some 5-on-5. Get some games under his belt out in (the) Utah (summer league). Teams are putting a lot of pressure on him to make a lot of decisions. Hittin’ 3s and making the right reads, he’s been great in facilitating our offense.”
And it’s that kind of admiration and respect Harvey has felt since joining Memphis’ organization.
“They really take pride in helping you improve your game each and every day and I really appreciated that,” Harvey said. “We worked out in their practice facility every single day. It’s been a great experience overall for me. I’m just trying to take it one game at a time and not look so far in the future and try to make the most of this moment right here.”
W.G. Ramirez is a freelance reporter in Las Vegas and the Southern Nevada correspondent for the Associated Press. Follow him on Twitter at @WillieGRamirez
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