Bulls guard Ryan Arcidiacono discusses journey to NBA, his teammates’ hair and more in this week’s Chat Room

Bulls guard Ryan Arcidiacono’s career has been all about overcoming the odds.

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Chicago Bulls guard Ryan Arcidiacono hustled his way to be where he is with the Bulls this season.

AP Photos

In July, guard Ryan Arcidiacono and the Bulls agreed to a three-year, $9 million deal.

Finally, Arcidiacono could rest easy. He made it.

His career has been all about overcoming the odds.

In April 2016, Arcidiacono, who hails from Langhorne, Pennsylvania, was at the pinnacle of his college career, leading Villanova to its first NCAA title in 31 years. Two months later, his dream of being drafted by an NBA team was crushed.

But he didn’t lose hope.

Arcidiacono signed a Summer League deal with the Spurs, though he was ultimately cut after their preseason finale.

The Bulls eventually called and signed Arcidiacono to a G League deal.

Was it ideal? Perhaps not. But it was an opportunity.

Arcidiacono was persistent in his pursuit of an NBA opportunity. Before he knew it, his deal turned into a two-way contract.

During the 2018-19 season, the Bulls were riddled with injuries, and Arcidiacono stepped up. That’s why he earned that security this summer.

Arcidiacono is a reminder that you don’t have to be a star to be considered a success in the NBA. And he hopesto inspire younger fans to work hard at their goals.

“Not many people thought I would be playing in the NBA at all outside of my family or my agent,” Arcidiacono said. “So having been at the highest of highs with the national championship to getting cut and working my way and progressing from the G League, to two-way, to non-guaranteed, to a guaranteed contract, it’s definitely something that kids and people can look at and admire whether it’s in their work life or in another sport or something similar.”

Arcidiacono reflected on his basketball journey and dished on some of his teammates in this week’s Chat Room.

Since the 2016 draft, did you ever feel deterred?

Ryan Arcidiacono:“Nah, I didn’t think I was good enough to play in the NBA at the time. I thought it would take me some time to learn how to develop my game and how to transition from college to the NBA. So it took me a year, year and a half with the G League to help my game progress to the NBA level.”

Did you ever think you would be where you are now?

RA:“I always had a belief in myself that I could do it if you put enough work into it. I think good things happen to good people, so I try to be the best person I can be, and the rest will take care of itself.”

Who has the best hair on the team?

RA:“Myself. Nah, I think I have pretty good hair. [Chandler Hutchison] has got a great hairline. [Shaquille Harrison] has great waves. Coby [White] has some very unique hair that I think is very different. So we have a lot of good guys with good hair on our team.”

Who needs to work on his hair?

RA:“Luke Kornet. His hair is a little interesting, so maybe he can work on it a little bit.”

What’s your secret to good hair?

RA:“Get a good haircut and put some product in, then hopefully it stays in and doesn’t sweat and goes all in my face. [Sometimes at practice, Arcidiacono can be spotted wearing a Lululemon headband to keep his hair off his forehead].”

If you weren’t playing basketball, what would you be doing?

RA:“I would probably be coaching somewhere, but I feel like that’s a bad answer, so I would probably be living in the Philadelphia suburbs, trying to figure out a job.

“I had never even thought about it because I’ve just been in love with basketball my whole life, and I felt like I was going to be a part of it, and that’s what I was going to do. I didn’t know I was going to be in the NBA, but I always felt like I was going to be connected to the game in some way.”

Who are the best and worst dancers on the team?

RA:“Worst dancer would probably be Luke, I guess. I’m really ganging up on him. But the best dancer, I mean, I gotta think Kris Dunn is pretty good or Shaq. Yeah, one of those two.”

If you could challenge anyone to a one-on-one game, who would it be?

RA:“Zach LaVine.”

Didn’t you beat him in a one-on-one tournament before this season?

RA:“Yeah, I beat him in that one-on-one game, so I’ll play him again and beat him again.”

What’s something that most fans don’t know about you?

RA:“I’m a laid-back person. I’m probably the most likely or not most likely, but to the common fan, I feel like I’d be the one they would like to have dinner with and grab a beer with.”

Where would you go?

RA:“I don’t know. Any, like, local place. It could be a dive bar or it could be any nice, fancy restaurant.

“I’d be down for whatever. So if anyone wants it, just let me know. We’ll grab a drink sometime.”

Team plane with the full traveling party goes down on a desert island, who gets eaten first and who is the last survivor?

RA:“Who’s the first person that gets eaten? I don’t even know. . . . I’d probably go with [TV announcer] Stacey King, I guess. And then who would be [the last one]? I feel like I could be a survivor type of guy. I feel like I could outlast everybody . . . or, like, one of our strength and conditioning coaches [Geoffrey Puls]. He was in the Marines, so he has survival skills.”

(For what it’s worth, LaVine and Wendell Carter Jr. also said King would be the first to go.)

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