By Sedrick Durr
Jackson Advocate Sports Writer
For most young aspiring basketball players, the goal is usually making an NBA roster. Consequently, that may still be the case for incoming Duke University freshman Tyrese Proctor. However, putting the cart before the horse has never been a part of the Proctor family’s DNA as it relates to life on the hardwood. It was just simply a basketball life that began over three decades ago in Mississippi for Proctor’s dad, Roderick, which led to a successful career in many parts of Australia. As a result, the goal really turned out to be the journey.
With Tyrese garnering headlines throughout the Eastern globe, much of his success could be and likely will be attributed to his skillful prowess. But the elder Proctor deserves lots of credit. Now certainly, as a dad, it’s easy for Roderick to be humbly proud, but there was also a special cut to his gib when it came to hoops. After all, he was a standout point guard at Mississippi College in the early ‘90s.
Of course, we can talk about MC winning the Gulf South Conference under Roderick’s leadership during the 1993-94 season while leading the team with 108 assists. We can also throw in the 283 dimes that he dropped his entire career which currently ranks second all-time in the school’s record books. Those efforts are likely cherished among Choctaw alums, and many could suspect that the senior Proctor would be appreciative, especially when it led to a similar life in a totally different time zone.
Roderick was able to put together 18 productive seasons including four MVP years and seven championships on the court in the Australian League mostly for the Bankstown Bruins. This comes along with stops in Hong Kong, China, and Singapore. But even behind a career that would be easy to lean on statistical achievements, the game meant something more to the former Bailey Magnet product.
“I took interest in basketball to get away from the real world,” said Proctor. While in the states, I moved from Jackson to Brandon back to Jackson and I needed to hang onto something that would keep me off the streets. Basketball was a major contributor of that.”
Proctor also said that moving to another country was an additional way to focus on improving his quality of life…. particularly one that transition to fatherhood where he was able to instill some of the same values in Tyrese. Even though dad demonstrates positive affection for what his son has become as a person, no one can sneeze at the young Proctor’s game. Heavily recruited by most Division I schools in the United States, Tyrese simply balled out while at Trinity High School and the NBA Global Academy in Canberra. His 25-point per game high school average was not the only attraction that led him to Durham, North Carolina. At 6’4, the freshman point guard is described as savvy, poised.
“Tyrese had a ball in his hand at two,” said Roderick. He played baseball and other sports before taking full interest in basketball and from there he took off.”
Even now at the crisp age of 18, the budding star has shown that he can play with the big boys. This was evident during the 2022 FIBA Asia Cup held in Indonesia over the summer. Sixteen teams representing their countries entered the olympic-style games with some players bringing NBA experience to the court including Proctor’s teammate, Thon Maker. A former Washington Wizard, Maker earned top performer honors for Australia in the finals as they defeated Lebanon for the gold. However, Tyrese visibly left his footprint on each game. While contributing 21 minutes per contest, the Blue Devil signee averaged 10.5 points per game with a personal high of 15 points against Saudi Arabia. Proctor also dropped 10 in the Gold Medal win.
Meanwhile, Roderick now serves as a Skills/Development Manager & Coaching Director for the Bankstown Basketball Association but plans on taking some time to come back to the states and watch his son play at Duke.
With long time legendary Coach Mike Krzyzewski in retirement, Duke is now under the leadership of new Head Coach John Scheyer. Proctor and the Blue Devils will open the season on November 7th at Cameron Indoor Stadium vs Jacksonville University.