Fall 2023

Nuggets rookie Hunter Tyson impresses in Summer League, says he finds his identity in Jesus

Only two players scored more points at the NBA Summer League than Denver Nuggets second-round pick Hunter Tyson. The former Clemson star averaged 20.8 points and 6.0 rebounds while knocking down 18 of the 36 3-pointers he attempted in the five games he played.

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His impressive performances earned him a spot on the All-Summer League first team alongside Keyonte George (Utah Jazz), Sam Merrill (Cleveland Cavaliers), Orlando Robinson (Miami Heat) and Cam Whitmore (Houston Rockets).

Tyson’s best game came against the Heat. He went 11-of-13 from the field, 7-of-9 from 3-point range and finished with 31 points in a 112-81 win.

In his five seasons at Clemson, Tyson went from averaging 1.6 points per game in limited playing time to an All-ACC first-team selection who nearly averaged a double-double (15.5 points, 9.5 rebounds). And he says his faith in God helped sustain him through the most challenging parts of his college career.

“It wasn’t easy, and I had a growth period,” he said in a feature for the Clemson athletics website. “A lot of hard days and a lot of hard practices that make you question if you are sure this is what you want to do. Deep down I always knew that basketball is something that God had planned for me, and I just stuck with it, kept working hard at it every day and then five years later, had a little bit of success.”

Tyson knocked down 41% of his threes for the Tigers last season, which helped put him on the radar of NBA teams. The defending champion Denver Nuggets selected him with the 37th overall pick, acquired from the Oklahoma City Thunder as part of a pre-draft trade.

 

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Talking to Altitude TV’s Katy Winge after the pick was announced, Tyson gave thanks to God for allowing him to realize his dream.

“When my name was finally called, it was just such a blessing,” he said. “I’m just glad God put me in this position, and I’m very thankful to be here.”

Tyson also uses social media to publicly share his faith. Proverbs 14:23 is included in his bios on Twitter and Instagram, and he put 2 Corinthians 4:8-9 in an Instagram post after breaking his clavicle during the 2021-22 season.

 

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Tyson’s ability to stretch the floor and rebound make him an ideal fit for a Nuggets team loaded with talent and looking for complementary pieces as it attempts to repeat. He believes the various roles he had at Clemson will help him adjust to whatever role he has in his rookie season.

“I’ve played a lot of high-level basketball throughout the years, was in college for five years,” he said in the interview with Winge. “Had to accept several different roles throughout my college career, and I think that’ll help me and I’m prepared to be able to do that here at this level.”

Yet, as he prepares to enter the NBA, Tyson knows that basketball is not what ultimately defines him.

“I find my identity in my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ,” he told Clemson. “At the end of the day I know no matter how many points I score, how many wins, it’s not what’s most important.”

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