Spending time with Terance for over a month has been nothing short of a blessing. He won over the hearts of his coaches, teammates and fans. Every article written mentioned Terance has been impressive so far and is a valuable asset to a championship team.
As a rookie that praise can be a double-edged sword. Expectations are high. Mistakes must be few. The pressure can be overwhelming.
This a crucial time period in his early NBA career. Although for the first time in 22 years I have temporarily stopped coaching women’s college basketball, I have never stopped coaching my son.
We have spent the past 30 days together in Los Angeles. We spent quality time together, cooking, watching movies and shopping. While these are daily routines to some and may seem insignificant to most, these were all new experiences for us as we lived hundreds of miles apart for the last several years. The one thing that has not changed is I am still coaching him. The message and direction are the same. The only difference now is the coaching is not done by phone, hundreds of miles away. We’re together going over his every single move on – and off – the court.
Terance had a great showing during the preseason. He played the point guard position, which is very different from the position he played in for four years at Florida State. His high basketball IQ and passing ability made the adjustment seamless. He was able to use those skills to solidify a role on the team as a rookie.
However, the NBA is very different from the college game. The speed of the game on both ends of the floor is at a faster pace. I shared my thoughts that he must remain ready and an option on both ends. Whether that means staying shot ready on the offensive end or constantly moving in and out of defensive positions on the defensive end. I noticed this was an adjustment he had to make in order to be more effective at the NBA level.
We discussed his game while I was teaching him to cook family recipes such as stewed chicken, curry chicken and jerk chicken. Just like basketball, Terance picked up the skill of cooking very fast. I found out from his roommates that In my absence, he made several dinners which from their account were all delicious.
It was no surprise when we learned Terance made the final roster for the LA Clippers. Most second round draft picks are sent to the G League. We were both excited he would remain with the Clippers. The hard work, countless hours in the gym and studying the game were all paying off.
His upside was noticed by everyone. He even showed some grit and toughness when he got into a little scuffle during a game. I left LA I headed home to the East Coast and watched that last preseason game sitting in my favorite chair in front of my 65 inch TV …the same spot where I was glued to the TV watching his games at Florida State. This game was different though. He started for the Clippers, but made several defensive and offensive mistakes early in the game. I was frustrated, Doc was frustrated and I know Terance was, too. I could see it in his demeanor. This frustration came out when the Mavericks’ Luka Doncic pushed him. Oh boy… the beast was awakened. Terance went on to score 6 straight points and continued to lock him up defensively. As a coach, I was proud of the resilience he showed bouncing back from his poor performance to start the game. As a mom I knew this would play out on the national stage and every media outlet would be talking about the scuffle. Not the type of press that I wanted as a mom.
It was clear that Terance has more to learn and adjust to. I am certain he will remain coachable and serve as a great teammate – even if that means sitting on the bench until his number is called or playing any role presented to him. I raised a true champion and on opening night against the Lakers it showed. Terance didn’t play one minute but his energy on the bench, his excitement for his teammates and his attention to the game showed why he will always be a winner! Yes, I watch his bench decorum as well…very closely. He has always been taught that everyone on the team has a role even if they never get on the court.
So he is off to play in back-to-back road games and I will be on the couch in my familiar spot watching his every movement both on and off the court. The phone conversation will begin shortly after.