Dusty Hannahs entered his professional career with the reputation of a marksman, and he proved that archetype in his 47 games (13 starts) with the Memphis Hustle. Hannahs’ overall averages (9.2 points, 1.9 rebounds, 1.8 assists) were weighed down by a smaller role early in the season and not indicative of his play as he was the only player in the NBA G League this season to shoot at least 44 percent (.441) from three-point range and 90 percent (.905) from the free throw line.
When Hannahs got his first chances early on, he certainly made due. Against Oklahoma City on Dec. 10, Hannahs shot 8-of-11 (7-9 3P) in a 23-point effort. On New Year’s Eve against Northern Arizona at Landers Center, with just six available players, he put up 33 points (11-18 FG, 6-9 3P), tied for the Hustle record, and eight rebounds in arguably the team’s most impressive win of the season. Overall, Hannahs ranked fourth in the NBA G League in free throw percentage and fifth in three-point percentage. He also had four 20-point games and averaged 14.4 points over his final seven games.
Whether Hannahs returns to the Hustle next season remains to be seen (the Hustle do hold his returning rights within the NBA G League), but until then he has pretty big plans in his first pro offseason. A lot of which isn’t shocking. He has worked out in both Little Rock, with his trainer Marcus McCarroll, and in Fayetteville with Arkansas strength and conditioning coach Adam Petway. In addition, Hannahs makes sure to get some court work in with old friends.
“I’ll go get up about 500 jump shots and then later in the day at 4 o’clock a lot of the old Razorback guys, alums and current guys will be there playing pickup at the facility,” said Hannahs. “I’ll go get a couple games around 4.”
Additionally, the 24-year old guard is already investing heavily into his body. Just as you see from much older NBA veterans in former Memphis Grizzlies guard/forward Vince Carter and Cavaliers forward LeBron James, body maintenance has not fallen on deaf ears for Hannahs.
“I feel like I’m 24, but I want to keep my body feeling how it feels right now, which is great,” explained Hannahs. “I’m going to keep going hard with my recovery. I do ice baths if cryos aren’t available. I became kind of a hot yoga person last summer. I need to find a place in Fayetteville where I can do that a couple times a week. Those are all really big keys and I think that and a person’s diet can keep careers going forever.”
The former Razorback also has ‘game’ plans for the summer. Hannahs will compete with fellow Arkansas alumni in The Basketball Tournament, an annual, open tournament that this year will dole out $2 million in prize money. The 72 teams (18 per region) are determined by the previous year’s regional champion (4), four slots available for purchase in each region (16), the nine most popular teams in each region as of June 1 (36), and four at-large teams in each region (16).
Currently, Team Arkansas has over twice as many supporters as any other team still in contention to make the bracket, has the fifth highest ‘experience level’ of any team and is considered eligible for this year’s tournament. The field will be announced on June 6 and fans can watch the action on ESPN, ESPN2, and ESPN 3. In addition, 10 percent of the prize money will go to the Top 201 fans of the winning team. Team Arkansas’ profile can be found here and fans can become a supporter of Team Arkansas by clicking on this link.
Hannahs’ first goal of the summer is to participate in the NBA Summer League, perhaps with the Grizzlies, but when he found out this tournament took place following the NBA’s annual event, he couldn’t turn it down.
“Once he said that and a 2 million purse, I said why not?,” said Hannahs. “It’s more games under my belt and it will be a fun experience to go travel and not only play for my state one more time, but having a chance to win that kind of purse and compete with former Hogs and friends of mine.”
Don’t let the fan and experience numbers fool you, their opponents won’t be slouches. The tournament regularly features an abundance of pros, including former NBA players. Team Arkansas alone features former NBA and Grizzlies forward Ronnie Brewer, Michael Qualls, who played for the NBA G League’s Texas Legends and Salt Lake City Stars this season, Rashad Madden, who played with the Grizzlies’ Summer League team in 2016, and several others with professional experience at home and overseas.
Hannahs credits his rookie season with the Hustle for prepping him for the intense competition in The Basketball Tournament.
“Going against some of the top talent in the world in the G League was big,” said Hannahs. “The first half of the season, learning how to accept a role, come off the bench, play small minutes, I think that had me hungry. Then, by the end of the season when I got my turn it made me ready and showed me how to be prepared for each and every game. I think that’s the most I grew as a pro was knowing how to be locked in and ready for each game.”
Again, Hannahs’ return to the Hustle next season remains to be seen, but it’s clear that his debut season as a pro has him moving in the right direction for the remainder of his career.