Sky coach James Wade was there for Jaylen Hoard when what was supposed to be a momentous occasion momentarily turned sour.
Wade, Hoard’s godfather, and his wife had dinner with Hoard, his parents and siblings in Chicago during the 2019 NBA Draft last month.
Hoard, a 6-8 forward out of Wake Forest, worked out for about 10 teams and was projected by many mock drafts to be selected late in the first round or early in the second round.
But as the evening went on and the middle of the second round came, Hoard could feel his dreams of being drafted slipping.
“It hurt a little bit,” Hoard said. “Obviously, I wanted to get drafted. You see the guys get drafted and feel like you’re better than them. It just puts a chip on your shoulder.”
The pain didn’t last long.
The Trailblazers called Hoard after the draft ended and signed him to a two-way contract, officially announcing the signing Monday.
Due to the stipulations of a two-way deal, Hoard can spend up to 45 days on an NBA roster and the remaining time on an NBA G-League roster.
Hoard will make his debut with the Blazers Saturday against Pistons during the 2019 NBA Summer League in Las Vegas.
Wade said he and Hoard talk every day.
Wade has tried to pass down his knowledge of the draft process and what teams are looking for to Hoard as he makes the transition from the collegiate level to the professional world.
“I just told him it’s going to be a grind,” Wade said. “Now you’re a professional. Now they’re going to look at you and you’re responsible for everything you do.
“It’s not just everything on the court. It’s things off the court. You have to carry yourself in a manner that shows professionalism. He’s never had a problem with that because he grew up in a professional household.”
Hoard’s humbling experience of going undrafted put a chip on his shoulder. He said his goal is to receive a full-time NBA contract and make his mark in the league.
Wade said he was happy to help Hoard through the draft process and he’s looking forward to seeing Hoard make his mark at the next level.
“We’re appreciative of the Trailblazer organization appreciating his talent and wanting to invest in him,” Wade said. “We think he’s going to prove a lot of naysayers wrong and I can’t wait to see it happen.