Nobody ever questioned Dalen Terry’s flash and bravado.
But almost everybody questioned whether the former Corona del Sol High wing, known for his flamboyant personality, pesky defense and high-flying dunks, was ready to make the leap to the pros after two seasons at the University of Arizona. His statistics were not eye-popping (8 points, 4.8 rebounds, 3.9 assists, 1.2 steals a game) and he was regarded as an average shooter.
Even Terry hedged his bets, initially taking advantage of rules that allowed him to test the waters while retaining the option to return to college.
And Wildcats Coach Tommy Lloyd wasn’t so sure, either.
“If you were to ask me a year ago at this time if Dalen would have been the 18th pick, I’d probably say, ‘Don’t bet on it,’” Lloyd told reporters at a draft-day function for Terry at LoLo’s Chicken and Waffles in Scottsdale after the Chicago Bulls selected Terry in the first round of the NBA draft.
“But this kid came so far in a year and it’s a credit to his work,” Lloyd said of Terry’s climb into the first round. “He practiced his butt off every day. He comes to work with a smile on his face. I love his energy and I love his spirit.”
The Bulls, who need help everywhere, see Terry as an athletic wing who can make his mark with defense. He fits their up-tempo style, scoring on breaks off recoveries.
The turn of events sat well with Terry, who moved on to Hillcrest Prep after two years as an Aztec.
“When I heard it was Chicago it was like, ‘Yeah, perfect,’” Terry told reporters at LoLo’s, where he’d signed a name-image-likeness contract last summer. “I feel like I could fit into their system just bringing energy. The way they play is right up my alley.”
Terry, who turns 20 on July 12, passes the eye test. He was measured at the NBA Combine at 6-feet-7-inches, with a standing reach of 8-10 and a wingspan a fraction of an inch under 7-1.
He got on scouts’ radar during UA’s 33-4 season. And then, Terry’s stock really took off as scouts saw him in camps and workouts after the college season. That cemented his decision to turn pro.