A Chance Comanche sighting on the Landers Center floor wasn’t a given for the first month of the Memphis Hustle’s inaugural season, and any such sighting wouldn’t be too significant. Comanche didn’t see the floor in four games and didn’t eclipse 15 minutes in an outing until December. By mid-December, however, all that began to change.
It changed to such a degree that Comanche was one of 40 players invited to attend the ninth annual NBA G League Elite Mini Camp from May 14-15, a scouting event that featured some of the NBA G League’s top prospects.
“It was a great honor and feeling to know that I was selected out of all of the players in the NBA G League,” said Comanche. “The experience of mini-camp itself was amazing. Talking to all the coaches about what they look for in players, all that kind of stuff, it was just a great experience overall.”
In addition, Memphis Hustle head coach Glynn Cyprien was one of four coaches selected by the league to assist in running the camp. Comanche felt it was advantageous having a familiar face and a convenient point of reference joining him at the camp.
“It was great,” said Comanche. “After everything he told me what I did well and what I need to keep working on, but I think having him there helped me because if coaches wanted to know anything about me on the spot they had a first-hand source to ask.”
The 6-10 center, who played two collegiate seasons at Arizona, certainly did his best to impress. He recorded the fastest reaction shuttle time out of all campers (3.06) and his 7-2 wingspan was only exceeded by five others. In four games, Comanche shot 10-of-16 from the field and averaged 5.5 points as well as 5.3 rebounds off the bench, tying him for ninth in rebounds and including two games where he recorded eight-or-more rebounds.
So, how much did things for Comanche during the season? Through the team’s first 15 games, he made 11 appearances and averaged just 3.9 points and 3.0 rebounds. Over his next 10 games, he averaged 12.1 points and 6.2 rebounds while shooting 62.0 percent from the field and scoring in double figures seven times, including two performances of 20-or-more.
Then, on January 27 against Fort Wayne at Landers Center, Comanche exploded for 33 points on 15-of-16 shooting, which was the highest field goal percentage in a game by any player in the league to that point in the season. Over that four-game stretch from January 27-February 1, Comanche averaged 19.5 points and 10.8 rebounds on 75.6 percent shooting.
In the team’s final five games, he led the team in scoring (15.0 ppg) and rebounding (10.0 rpg) as well as blocked shots (1.8).
“I think it did a great job preparing me for the situation that I’m in now,” Comanche said of his rookie season with the Hustle. “The players and the staff stayed on me about my role about what to do and to help me make it to the NBA, what’s going to get me there and all those types of things. Them staying on me throughout the whole season and everything playing out how it did actually help me in the best way possible.”
Comanche will look to build on that in year two, which fans in the Mid-South hope will be spent in the Hustle uniform. Even if that is the case, don’t expect that to be the case for much longer.