Nelson Opens NBA Summer League Play On Friday Night
When Tyler Nelson walks onto the floor of the Cox Pavilion on Friday night, it will be the final step of a long and arduous journey. Tonight, the Massachusetts native will don a Minnesota Timberwolves jersey and play his first NBA Summer League in Las Vegas. He will face the Denver Nuggets in his debut game which begins at 11 pm (EST) and will be televised on NBA TV and ESPN3. Nelson's trek has lasted several weeks as his play with the Fairfield University men's basketball team garnered the experience and the attention necessary to earn several workouts with NBA teams. Each camp helped Nelson gain more confidence while at the same time proved to the guard that he belonged. No workout proved that more than his time with the Washington Wizards which proved to be one of his best opportunities. "My best workout was with Washington," Nelson said. "I broke their shooting drill record with my totals during that run." Being a native of the Bay State, Nelson was especially excited about his chance with the Boston Celtics, his hometown franchise that brought back many basketball memories . "Working out for the Celtics was a dream come true," Nelson said. "Having the opportunity to work out in front of (General Manager and President of Basketball Operations) Danny Ainge and (Head Coach) Brad Stevens was amazing and something that I will never forget. It was an unbelievable opportunity for me." While those work outs along with others that included the Philadelphia 76ers and the Los Angeles Lakers may have gained notice, it was really the effort that he put forth with the Stags that enabled him to get his foot in the NBA locker room door. "My time at Fairfield prepared me for this opportunity," Nelson said. "Each year, I tried to expand my game and get better. My development over four years was everything I could ask for and it paid off by giving me the chance to work out for various NBA franchises." Despite flying coast to coast for work outs, Nelson remains fixated on his lifetime goal of playing in the NBA. The thousands of air miles and hours of court time over the last few weeks may have been difficult, but it was that exposure to the professional ranks that helped him reach Friday night's game against the Nuggets. "The grind of travel is definitely challenging, going from city to city for work out after work out," Nelson said. "But, it is all a part of the challenge of being a professional, and I am just trying to learn as much as I can during the process. That process includes how to remain focused while improving daily so that I'm able to perform at my best and give myself the best opportunity possible to be successful in my first year as a pro." Now, Nelson looks to make the most of his opportunity beginning with Friday night's game.