MEMPHIS, TN (WMC) - The newest Memphis Grizzlies have arrived in the Bluff City.
Ivan Rabb and Dillon Brooks are the two players Memphis claimed during the 2017 NBA Draft. Already, Head Coach David Fizdale is gushing about their potential.
"They're like, 'I'm coming in the gym coach. Just have someone in there to rebound for me.' So immediately they already clicked with me, because that's how I like to go too," Fizdale said.
Rabb and Brooks both faced adversity on their road to the NBA. Now they're out to prove their doubters wrong.
Rabb, a 6-foot-10 power forward from the University of California, was thought to be a first-round draft pick in 2016. But he chose to return to school, and that ultimately hurt his draft stock.
"I feel like I was penalized. I feel like I was over-analyzed a little bit," Rabb said. "Instead of being judged for my body of work, and it was probably a little frustrating for sure not getting drafted. Like I said at the end of the day, I feel like I came to a great fit, so I think it's going to pay off in the long run."
Brooks' journey is a little different.
The Canadian-born small forward, who played three years at Oregon, was one of the most electric players in the PAC 12 in 2017. Indeed, he took home PAC 12 Player of the Year honors and led his team to the NCAA Final Four.
Despite his impressive resume, Brooks fell to the 45th pick in the draft.
"You know it was a pretty hard road," Brooks said. "Mostly Americans look at Canadians and say they're soft. I'm far from that, and I always pride myself in being a tough player."
Fizdale said he's not worried about the path Rabb and Brooks took to get to Memphis. Instead, he's ready to see them prove themselves on the court.
"You landed with a coach that plays young players. I don't care about your age, and if you can play you can play for me," Fizdale said.
Rabb and Brooks will be on display in the NBA Summer League in Las Vegas starting in July.