It’s becoming harder and harder to overlook Torrey Craig

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LAS VEGAS, NV - JULY 12: Torrey Craig #1 of the Denver Nuggets handles the ball against the Houston Rockets during the 2017 Summer League on July 12, 2017 at the Thomas & Mack Center in Las Vegas, Nevada. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2017 NBAE (Photo by Bart Young/NBAE via Getty Images)

Featured Image Credit: Denver Nuggets via Bart Young/NBAE Getty Images

“A dream come true.”

That’s how Torrey Craig described finally making it to the NBA after recently signing a two-way contract with the Denver Nuggets.

The road to the NBA wasn’t an easy journey for Craig, a small-town boy from Rock Hill, S.C.

Constantly overshadowed by players who attended big-name high school programs and played for AAU teams dressed in Nike down to the socks, Craig was always overlooked.

While attending Great Falls High School, Craig was a dual-sport athlete who played football and basketball for three years before deciding to stick with just basketball. Due to the conflicting seasons Craig only played AAU travel ball for one year, which set back his looks from high Division I basketball programs. Though he did great in high school, only playing against local competition worried coaches about his ability to compete against players that were bigger and stronger from more competitive areas at the next level.

Craig, not getting any love from top programs, decided to stay local and took his hidden talents to USC-Upstate to play under head coach Eddie Payne. Craig appeared in all 30 games as a true freshman for the Spartans and never left the starting line-up after getting his first start against East Carolina in November. Craig received the Atlantic Sun Freshman of the Year award and high school coach John Smith’s phone started ringing off the hook. Schools in the SEC and ACC that didn’t give Craig a second look in high school wanted him to transfer to their program. Craig decided to stay where he was, and it turned out to be the right decision.

Graduating from USC-Upstate, Craig left his mark as a 3x First-team All-Atlantic Sun (2012-2014), Atlantic Sun Player of the Year (2012) and AP honorable mention All-American (2012).

Self-motivated, making it to the NBA was his main goal.

“I motivate myself because I set a goal a long time ago and I’ve been working towards it ever since,” Craig said.

The time had come, the 2014 NBA Draft was underway. Craig never heard his name called.

Despite all of his accomplishments in college, once again he went unnoticed. It was on to Australia where Craig would spend three years overseas before getting another shot at the NBA.

Making his name known amongst the Aussies as one of the best defenders in the NBL, Craig was awarded the 2017 NBL Defensive Player of the Year award and caught the attention of the Denver Nuggets.

At 6-foot-6, 215 pounds, Craig can play both guard and forward positions. He can also shoot the ball.

The Nuggets reached out in hopes of picking up a guard with great size and defense that could knock down the open shot for their NBA Las Vegas Summer League team. They got just that, and more.

Craig managed to lock down some of the top guards in Summer League while being a scoring threat himself for the Nuggets. His best game was against the Houston Rockets during the first round of bracket play dropping 27 points, grabbing 11 rebounds, and blocking three shots.

“Even though I wasn’t one of the go-to guys when it came to scoring, I figured opportunities would present [themselves] and I could take advantage, that’s what I tried to do,” said Craig.

Craig averaged 11.5 points, 4.8 rebounds in Vegas and got his shot at making a NBA roster again when Denver offered a two-way contract after his performance.

“It’s a dream come true,” he reiterated. “It’s been my goal to get here since I started playing basketball, and looking back at my journey seeing how far I’ve come is an amazing feeling. From trying and failing to get to the NBA after college, to playing overseas for three years wondering if I would be able to play in the states again, it’s really a humbling experience.”

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