After playing basketball professionally for several years, Nuggets guard Torrey Craig knows that every opportunity needs to be weighed against which ones he already has.

When the Nuggets offered Craig an opportunity to play on their Summer League team, he wanted to make sure the offer to play was for real.

“I wanted to make sure it wasn’t a waste of time, or [if]  I was just coming to fill the roster or sit on the bench,” Craig told Sean Walsh and T.J. McBride on Mile High Sports AM 1340 | FM 104.7. “I wanted to make sure if I came [to Denver], it was meaningful, so I decided to come and [I] got my opportunity, and I’m trying to take advantage of it.”

After a strong summer league, in which he averaged 11.5 points and 4.8 rebounds per game in six appearances, Craig signed a two-way contract with Denver. The two-way contract means that Craig will now spend the season working with both the Nuggets and in the NBA Gatorade League.

Nuggets head coach Michael Malone recognizes Craig’s talent and is more than ready to give the guard his shot. “Torrey had a great training camp up in Boulder,” Malone said during practice. “I think what it’s going to come down to is, Torrey Craig just needs an opportunity, and when he gets that opportunity, I think he’s going to be an NBA player for a long time.”

Both Malone and Nuggets General Manager Arturas Karnisovas have spoken highly of Craig’s talent and his performance since he joined the Nuggets.  Craig embraces the recognition and uses it as motivation to continue working hard.

“You work hard to improve yourself every day, and for those guys like that, of that caliber, to acknowledge you, it definitely goes a long way,” Craig said. “I try to come in and work hard no matter if I’m defending or rebounding or running the floor or whatever it is I’m doing, I’m just trying to do it at a high level, and for those guys to notice it, it means a lot.”

Craig, who is 26, had an interesting, non-traditional path to the NBA. After college, Craig found himself in Australia and New Zealand playing in the National Basketball League.

“I was impressed by how competitive it was and how high-level it was,” Craig explained. “So, after college I went over there and I played two seasons with the Cairns Taipans. Then, my third year I went to the Brisbane Bullets and had my breakthrough seasons, and then was offered to come play Summer League with the Nuggets, and took advantage of that.”

Craig spent four years in both the Australian and New Zealand National Basketball League. The Australian league runs from October to March, while the New Zealand league runs from March until June. Across the two leagues, Craig earned several awards through his career in the two leagues, including the ANBL Defensive Player of the year, the NZNBL Most Valuable Player and the NZNBL Most Outstanding Guard.

Now with the Nuggets, and with the preseason wrapped up, Craig looks forward to the regular season NBA action when Denver travels to Utah to face the Jazz.

“The guys on the team are anxious to get this thing started, we’ve been going hard – training camp, practices, playing with each other – and through the preseason games we’ve tried to learn as much as we can and take as much as we can from those games,” Craig said. “I think the guys are pretty anxious to get the first game underway and play when it really matters, so, it’ll be interesting to see how the guys build up for it.”

The Nuggets kick off the regular season against the Utah Jazz on Oct. 18 at 7:00 p.m.

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