Desmond Bane was already dressed for the moment when the Grizzlies signed him to his rookie contract.
The first-round pick from TCU wore on a ‘”Memphis 901″ hat and a Memphis Grizzlies hoodie that a local company gave him when he arrived in his new hometown. He also got T-shirts with grizzly bears wearing Bane masks like the character from “The Dark Knight Rises.”
For someone who’s one of 23 grandchildren, it made him feel at home right away.
“We’re family first and as soon as I got drafted to Memphis, you know, Memphis becomes my second family. I’m going to do everything that I can to represent Memphis the right way,” Bane said during his introductory video conference Wednesday.
After interviewing with the Grizzlies in the spring, Bane said Memphis is who he hoped would select him. But Bane and his agent doubted that would happen with the Grizzlies picking at No. 40 in the second round.
What he didn’t know was the Grizzlies wanted him, too, and planned to trade up to get him. A career 43.3% 3-point shooter fit a key need as the Grizzlies adopted new coach Taylor Jenkins’ style of shooting beyond the arc.
In each of his last three seasons, Bane shot no worse than 42.5% on 3-pointers while averaging nearly five attempts a game. But the Grizzlies’ front office also loved his maturity, competitiveness and how it improved each season as his role changed.
“He was a guy that kind of rose to the top because he fits so many things that we’re about here,” Jenkins said. “He’s a playmaker and he’s unselfish. Those are big things we talked about being a together and unselfish team.”
TCU guard Desmond Bane, right, drives to the basket as Texas Tech forward TJ Holyfield, left, defends during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game in Fort Worth, Texas, Tuesday, Jan. 21, 2020. TCU won 65-54. (AP Photo/Ray Carlin) (Photo: The Associated Press)
The same could be said for the rest of the Grizzlies’ newest members. The team introduced second-round pick Xavier Tillman Sr. of Michigan State last week and on Tuesday, they officially signed forward Killian Tillie and guard Sean McDermott to two-way deals.
Jenkins called Tillman another playmaker who can play great defense and be a communicator. The 6-foot-9 Tillie was somebody the Grizzlies had eyed for several years at Gonzaga.
Tillie went undrafted due to a history of injuries but if he can stay healthy, Jenkins will have another big who can space the floor and give great effort defensively.
“He’s got an unbelievable feel for the game as a big,” Jenkins said of Tillie. “A passer who can advance the ball, can shoot it at a high level, good finishing package. He’s just an overall really, really good player.”
The rookies won’t have much down time or much time to get acclimated to the team with training camp beginning in early December.
Jenkins said Bane is already diving into film sessions with assistant coaches. Memphis may be his new home but he wants to return the kindness and support he’s felt in just a week.
“I’m ready to go, I’m ready to compete,” Bane said. “I’ve worked on my game for countless hours throughout this pre-draft process so I’m just trying to control the things that I can control and approach every day the same way that I have in the past.”
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You can reach Evan Barnes on Twitter (@Evan_B) or by email at [email protected]