By Michael Kinney
OKLAHOMA CITY – After spending a year in Australia playing basketball, the first trip Terrance Ferguson made once he got back to the states showed he was a typical Oklahoman. He went to What-A-Burger.
That was just one of the stories Ferguson told Saturday when the Oklahoma City Thunder introduced its newest member to the media. The Tulsa native made it clear, he was glad to be back home.
“I just want to give thanks to the Thunder organization just for believing in me,” Ferguson said. “It’s been a long journey, many sacrifices, but I’m proud to be here. I’m back home. I’m thankful for my family for being by me every step of the way, and it’s exciting. I’m ready to start my journey.”
The introductory press conference was held at the CHK Central Boat House with Ferguson’s family and friends in attendance as well.
The Thunder selected Ferguson with the 21st pick in the first round of the NBA draft Thursday. He was the only draft pick Oklahoma City had this year, but one General Manager Sam Presti seems to think can help the franchise for years to come.
“I want to start just by saying what an exciting day it is for the Thunder to welcome not only a player but a person like Terrance to the organization,” Presti said. “He represents many of the things that we strive to bring into the Thunder and also into the state of Oklahoma, who he’s obviously relatively familiar with, with his roots here, so that’s another wonderful aspect to him being a part of the organization.”
Ferguson said the Thunder gave him no hints they would be taking him if he was still around when the 21st pick came up. But something inside him told him he could be returning back home.
“I actually didn’t. I actually didn’t,” Ferguson said. “But I was really relying on it, especially when they said the 20th pick, I put my phone down and I was just waiting, just waiting for my name to be called. I just put my head down, just like, please call my name, and when I got the information that I was coming, I want to tell you I went crazy, everybody went crazy and I was just full of tears.”
Ferguson grew up in Tulsa before moving to Dallas where he played high school basketball at Deion Sander’s Prime prep Academy for three years. He made the decision bypass college to go oversees and play in Australia.
“Australia was a great experience for me, but I’ve moved forward for now,” Ferguson said. “I’ve matured a lot, learned a lot as a player and as a person, but now I’m excited to be a part of the Thunder family.”
Whether it was his time oversees or playing for high profile academies, Ferguson comes across as a very polished and mature his 19 years of age. Even when he was asked about past social media posts in which he praised the Kevin Durant, Steph Curry and the Golden State Warriors, he handled the situation like a veteran.
“That’s actually pretty funny because I turned my notifications off just because of that video,” Ferguson said. “But that video is just — because me and Steph Curry are Under Armour family, so Under Armour, we’re really close. Everybody is pretty much each other’s brothers, so whenever they were playing I was cheering the Golden State Warriors on, but now I’m Oklahoma City Thunder, so that’s all that matters.”
Ferguson will most likely begin his NBA career with the Thunder at the Orlando Pro Summer League next week. He will join several Oklahoma players, such as Semaj Christon, Domas Sabonis and Josh Huestis.
The league runs July 1st through 6th. After that, he will be back in Oklahoma preparing for his rookie season in his own backyard.
“Oh, man, there’s nothing like home,” Ferguson said. “I don’t think anybody can say there’s nothing like home. So to be back at home and playing with the Thunder is definitely a huge opportunity and blessing for me.”
Michael Kinney is a Freelance Content Writer with Eyeamtruth.com