After taking a hiatus due to COVID last year, the 2021 Tarkanian Classic returned with 175+ teams spread across multiple gyms in Las Vegas, NV over the span of a week. Featuring elite basketball competition in prep and high school divisions, the must-see annual December high school tournament provided evaluators an opportunity to watch the prestigious NBA Academies in Africa and Latin America, in addition to programs from around the U.S., Canada, and even Germany.
Pro Insight was on hand to cover the event and caught up with Tyrese Proctor of the NBA Global Academy in Canberra, Australia. Proctor has been a part of the NBA Global Academy since 2019. Two years ago, he played at the annual Tarkanian Classic and was the youngest player in attendance at 15 years old. Since then, the skilled guard has continued to develop his game and evolved into a versatile scorer, creator, and facilitator. Bringing excellent positional size, Proctor is comfortable in a lead guard role as well as playing off the ball. Looking ahead, Proctor is poised to join the ever-expanding list of NBA Academy alumni who have made the jump to college basketball.
As part of the Pro Insight Q&A series, Proctor talked about a day in the life at the NBA Global Academy, takeaways from competing at the Tarkanian Classic, his relationship with other Australian players, and much more.
For the next installment of the Pro Insight Q&A series, we present NBA Global Academy’s Tyrese Proctor, from Sydney, Australia:
Pro Insight: How did you get to where you are today?
Tyrese Proctor: Thanks for having me. So my dad's African-American so he was born in Mississippi in the U.S. Mum's Australian and I got a sister and a half-brother. Grew up in Australia my whole life in Sydney. And then yeah, got with our Global Academy in 2019. I think it was in November, or so. Yeah, just been with them for the past couple years.
PI: Before the NBA Academy, where were you playing in Australia?
TP: I just played on my rep teams so my local teams back home so I was playing for the Sutherland Sharks my whole junior career. And then you know, just state teams, [played] for New South Wales, so that's where I was playing my whole juniors here.
PI: Talk a bit about your experience at the NBA Global Academy. What does a typical day in the life of Tyrese look like?
TP: Yeah, so you know when I had school…so I just finished school, so when I had school, [I woke] up about 7:30, 7:40 [AM], [went to] eat breakfast, [got] on the bus, [went] to school and then depending on the day, [I] might have training. [At] one o'clock, two o'clock and then weights after or before. And then you know get up extra shots after and then just chill. Chill out after that.
PI: In your opinion, what do you think is the most impressive aspect about the NBA Academy?
TP: I think just the facilities and the coaches. Great facilities, basketball say whenever you need it just across the road, and then the coaches…the best coaches pretty much in Australia. Just teaching you little things every day, getting you that one-percent better every day.
PI: What are the most important things you took away playing at Tarkanian Classic?
TP: Yeah so you know, coming in with a new group, I think just leadership has been a big thing as well. Sort of had it my whole life, you know, dad has put a real emphasis and pushed me on that. So I think just coming in with a new group of guys and then just winning. I like winning. I think all of the boys like winning so coming in with our best effort and trying to win.
PI: You played with the NBA Academy Africa guys, what was it like playing with different teammates?
TP: I think my passing has gotten a lot better since being here for the past week or so. You're just playing with a lot taller and bigger guys, so yeah just passing the ball and just trying to create for myself and others.
PI: Of all the opponents you’ve played recently, who has been the toughest to matchup with?
TP: Probably one of the guys at Southern California [Academy]. They were a pretty good team. So yeah, probably one of them.
PI: Besides your dad, any other athletes in the family?
TP: Nah, not really. Just my dad. My sister is playing basketball now, but yeah, mum wasn't really an athlete.
PI: Did you play any other sports growing up?
TP: Yeah, so I played soccer for a little bit, a few years and I played baseball as well as basketball.
PI: What are your current measurements?
TP: Yeah, so I'm 6’4,”, 6’6”/6’7” wingspan, and I weigh about 80 kilos (roughly 176 pounds).
PI: For those that aren’t familiar with your game, what are your greatest strengths and play style?
TP: I think I'm pretty versatile, you know, offensively and defensively. I can move the ball pretty well. I'm a pretty good passer. And when I need to score, when the team needs me to score, I can do that.
PI: What do you feel you still need to improve on the most? What have you been working on?
TP: Yeah, just finishing. I think finishing is a big big part of my game right now that I need to improve and then just small things on defense. You know rebounding, boxing out, just the little things for positioning, so yeah. Just a lot of those things I'm working on.
PI: Who do you model your game after and try to study on film?
TP: I watch a lot of Chris Paul and Steve Nash, so those are the two guys I really watch a lot of, you know, pick and roll. And then just Jamal Crawford and Allen Iverson. I try to model my game off them, you know, shiftiness, a lot of just different size up packages and stuff like that.
PI: Obviously, there is an abundance of basketball talent in Australia — what’s your relationship with some of the older Australian players? Have you had conversations with them?
TP: Yeah yeah, for sure. You know, Josh Giddey, he was at the Global Academy. He's in the NBA right now. I've spoken to him a couple times throughout nationals and tournaments and stuff, just getting his thoughts on some things. And then Dyson [Daniels] is one of my best friends. He's with the G League Ignite team right now doing well, so always keeping in touch with him and just seeing how they go throughout their career and just [getting] little tips off them and stuff.
PI: Describe your experience with the Australian National Team.
TP: Yeah, it was really cool, you know, the culture of the Boomers and the way they go about themselves. Even if it's just walking in and out of venues, it's really professional and it's just really fun to be a part of and a really cool experience.
PI: What are your short term goals you have for yourself as a player?
TP: I'm traveling with the Global Academy, so [my] short term goal is just playing well at the tournaments wherever I play. And then just winning, you know, I want to win. I don’t really like losing so yeah, just playing a lot of those tournaments that we go away.
PI: You’ve received the attention of many high majors, how does it feel to get love from NCAA schools?
TP: Yeah, it's good to see them there. You know, just shows all the hard work that you put in early on starting to pay off now so that's good. But yeah, just trying to focus on my game and keep getting better.
PI: What is your recruitment update?
TP: Yeah, so [I have offers from] Arizona, St. Mary's, UNC Charlotte, UCSB, Tennessee, Louisville, and Oklahoma.
PI: What are your biggest interests outside of basketball?
TP: I'm a pretty big video game guy, so you know just hang out with mates whether that's playing 2K or FIFA or something and then just going outside and doing some stuff with the boys.
PI: Who's the best 2K or FIFA player at the Global Academy? Is it you?
TP: Yes, I'm the best 2K player. I reckon at Global [Academy], Joshua Ojianwuna is the best FIFA player, but I have beaten him a couple times so I'll take that in the back pocket.
PI: Who’s your go-to team for FIFA and 2K?
TP: On FIFA, [I play] Liverpool, yeah I use them. We normally go randoms [in 2K]. Yeah, so whoever I get, just try and win with them.
PI: Who are your favorite music artists?
TP: Lil Baby, for sure.
PI: If you were stuck forever on a deserted island and had all the food, water, and shelter you needed — what three personal items would you bring?
TP: Probably my mum, you know, can't go anywhere without my mum. A phone. Need a phone and probably a basketball.
PI: You have one hashtag to describe yourself. What is it?
TP: Umm hashtag…#coolpersontobearound (laughs). I don’t know. Yeah, put [the words] all together.
PI: If you woke up tomorrow to see a fortune in your bank account, what would be your first purchase?
TP: Yeah, for sure get my parents a house 'cause family means a lot to me so make sure you give back to them 'cause they've given a lot of time and money [to] me.
PI: If you weren’t pursuing a career as a professional hooper, what do you think you would choose to do?
TP: Yeah, I’m not too sure. I haven't really thought about that, but I'm still, you know, 'cause basketball might not always work out, so still gotta have a plan B, but yeah, right now I'm not too sure.
PI: What’s the best advice you’ve ever received?
TP: I’d say my dad. You know, just keep pushing every day like all these colleges and stuff is cool, but like you gotta get better. You can't just keep working and then just stop once you get where you want to go. So yeah, probably just blocking out all that and just keep getting better every day and just keep playing hard.
PI: How would you define the word ‘success?’
TP: Yeah, so success…well, to me it's winning. Success is winning. You can have success and lose, but I think for me success is winning and playing hard, playing as a group and then just benefiting and helping my teammates.
PI: Who’s someone you really look up to?
TP: Definitely my dad. Dad’s had a big impact on my basketball career and also my personal life and then yeah, so probably my dad.
PI: What is your biggest pet peeve?
TP: I hate when people chew with their mouths open. I hate that (laughs). Yeah, it's frustrating.
PI: Where do you see yourself in five years?
TP: Well, hopefully in the NBA. That's always been my long term goal. So yeah, NBA for sure.
PI: Name four words that best describe you.
TP: Versatile, funny, active, and friendly.
PI: At the end of the day, what do you hope to be remembered for?
TP: Yeah, just [a] respectful player on and off the court. You know, [a] really humble guy and just a good person to be around.