Tyrese Proctor might be even tougher than he is talented.
Tyrese returned from the under-14s Australian Club Championships in November having led Sutherland to a creditable fifth place in the Shield division and 17th overall.
The 13-year-old’s personal numbers in Dandenong made for excellent reading, with Tyrese finishing with the second highest average points, second most match points and second most number of three pointers at the tournament.
Not bad for a kid with a broken finger.
“The first day we played two games and in the second he came off with a sore finger,” Sutherland coach and Tyrese’s dad, Roderick, said.
“He said he was alright so we put him back in the game and he played the rest of the tournament. The physio on site said to go get it x-rayed. But he wanted to watch a few other teams and could cope with it. We treated it with ice like he’d jarred it.
“We got back home after the tournament and the finger started swelling and had a cut along the top. We took him to the family doctor and got referred to a specialist who found he’d developed a staph infection in the fracture and had surgery that afternoon. He couldn’t do anything for six weeks.”
Fully recovered, it looks like being another big year for Tyrese who will play with Sutherland’s under-16s representative team. The point guard has also been chosen in the East Coast Challenge state development team as the squad’s only bottom age player.
Tyrese, from Bangor, will also continue to chase his dream of eventually playing college basketball in the US. And he has the right lineage given his US-born father’s experience in the game as a coach and player which included a season with the Sydney Kings in the NBL.
“From a coach’s point of view, Tyrese has had a ball in his hand since he was two-years-old,” Proctor said.
“His mother and I noticed he could dribble with his left hand when he was two. I knew then he could be special.
“As a father though it’s his work ethic. During any off-season he gets up every Saturday morning and is at the stadium at seven or eight o’clock to get put through his paces for two or three hours. It’s his commitment that stands out. He’s not afraid of hard work.
“He does [want to play professionally]. With me coming from the [United] States I didn’t ever want to put pressure on him. But he’s always been around it. He said to his mum ‘I want to go America for college’. He has spoken about making the NBA. That’s what he wants to do.”