His success in college did not follow him into NBA, as his career was partially derailed by a car accident during his rookie season that threw him from the truck he was driving, causing life-threatening injuries.
“Thinking I was going to make a big impact on my franchise and I was drafted, that didn’t really go as planned for me,” Hurley said in a recent interview, InsideLocal reported.
“I was coming off a great career at Duke and had a lot of success there. In the ACC, I played against a lot of NBA high caliber point guards. I felt pretty confident I could be a difference maker in that franchise,” Hurley said of Sacramento Kings.
“I went after it hard in the workouts just to make sure I was getting drafted to a team that could utilize my abilities,” he noted.
Former guard added that it’s about the right fit with the coach, what the organization is looking for and then bringing in a player that fits that need.
“It was an exciting process and it was a dream come true for me to be drafted at that level,” he recalled.
Hurley then went on to speak about the beginning of his NBA career and the car accident that stopped him from fulfilling his full potential as a player.
“I was feeling my way through and finding my way as a player. I was leading all rookies in assists at the time and trying to figure out a way how I fit in with Sacramento and figure out what my role was going to be,” he said.
“It was obviously a tough thing to go through. There’s no preparation for it and really unfortunate. You can’t ever prepare to be in that moment and then have your life go in one direction. It came with a set of circumstances you’re not ready to deal with, but I made sure I got my body right as much as possible. After that, we dealt with the scars, mentally and physically,” he noted.
“I put the work in to get back on the floor inside a year. That was pretty remarkable. My body healed up pretty well and I had great people working with me. Maybe looking back on it, I might’ve taken some more time and not been in such a rush to get back out on the floor and get the weight back that I had pre-accident. It became an issue for me to regain the type of muscle mass that I had and I wasn’t that muscular to begin with. Dealing with that was a life-altering night for me,” Hurley explained.
He went on to say that different people have different outcomes from such car accidents, adding that he felt fortunate.
“I’ve carried baggage with me on that for a while. It’s hard for me to let it go just because I drove myself pretty hard as a player. I always had high expectations of what I did and accomplished. But I didn’t accomplish what I set out to do professionally. It affected me when I was in post-basketball life for a period of time,” he said.
“But the best thing that’s happened to me is the therapeutic part with coaching for the last four years and last three as an assistant coach for two different schools with Wagner and Rhode Island. To be back in a competitive role as a coach has replaced kind of what I was searching for with the post-basketball life,” Hurley added.
Speaking of how his career would’ve turned out if not for that car accident, Hurley said it’s hard to judge.
“It’s a super competitive league. There’s so many good and talented players that I can’t project. But I know I would’ve done better and I would have stayed longer in the league and had a more productive career. But I can’t say how much exactly it factored into everything,” he said.
“I knew I was lot better than I showed. I’m able to know that deep down,” Hurley admitted. “It did hand me some physical limitations that I didn’t have that prior to that happening.”
Hurley averaged career high 7.1 ppg and 6.1 apg during his rookie season in 1993-94. He played in total of 260 NBA games (62 started), averaging 3.8 ppg, 3.3 apg in 15.5 minutes per game. Hurley retired from the NBA after the 1997-98 season.Follow @exnbadotcom
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