The 2016 NBA G League Draft was a stressful process for both Keith Hornsby and Bryson Fonville. They were, after all, about to see where their basketball future was going to take them. As it turns out, the answer for both of them would be the Texas Legends.
For Hornsby, he was just down the street anyway. “I was with my fiance right across the street from Dr Pepper Arena where she lives. It was an amazing coincidence, an insane coincidence.”
Now he can sit back, relax, and see what new teammates he’ll have in the upcoming season. “It’s definitely a different feeling,” says the former LSU Tiger. “Last year was very stressful. I didn’t get much of a heads up that I would be coming here. You’re sitting at home like ‘what city am I gonna go to?”
For the 2017 watch party, which saw Hornsby gladly take on the role of spectator, he made the same exact trip from a year prior. “It’s the same drive I did today. It’s a very different feeling. I’ve got a year under my belt now, it’s a different perspective.”
Hornsby was selected ninth overall in last year’s draft by the Legends and is returning to the club in his sophomore season. Also doing so is point guard Bryson Fonville. Like Hornsby, Fonville was more than happy to witness the events from the outside.
“It’s just amazing. It’s a blessing,” says the 23-year old. “To see how much can change in one year. Last year I was at home live streaming it on my laptop waiting to see my name pop up. To be here in the actual atmosphere is great. (laughs) It’s a lot less stressful.”
Just like the new draftees on Saturday, Fonville received a special phone call after he was selected in the fifth round. “Coach Bob called me. He called me and was like ‘are you watching it?!’ I was fired up. My mom’s in the background screaming and yelling.”
Also in attendance, the Legends staff were decked out in various jerseys from last year’s team. Senior Director of Corporate Sponsorship Blaine Morris wore a blue Satnam Singh jersey while Legends President and General Manager Malcolm Farmer sported a white Stephane Lasme uniform.
Strikz Entertainment in Frisco once again supplied food and drinks and then more food, especially pizza, for all involved and the Legends kept the draft “war room” door open for fans to observe and ask questions. Commonly, war rooms are off limits to the outside but as usual, the Legends incorporated their fans into the inner workings of the organization.
When the Legends first pick swung around in the second round and they got their guy in John Gillon, Owner Donnie Nelson announced it to the crowd along with a scouting report from one of the assistants.
With every pick made –whether it be the Legends or not– an assistant coach would give an in-depth evaluation to the fans in attendance. The all-inclusive gathering provided a unique experience for everyone and a greater understanding of what it takes to build a G League basketball team.
As they witnessed the draft instead of participating in it, Hornsby and Fonville dined with fellow teammates and fans at Strikz, posing for pictures and signing some autographs in between bites.
Training camp is underway and the two second season players are already salivating at the opportunity to take the court in Legends blue and white once more.
“I’m coming in with a lot more confidence and comfort,” says Fonville. “I’ve been through a whole season so I know more of what they expect. Seeing a lot of familiar faces makes you feel good. I’m just excited to get things rolling and get back on the court with the guys.”
Hornsby echoes the sentiment and hopes to see an expanded role in 2017-2018. “I’m hoping to play more this year. Last year we had really good guards and I learned a ton from them. It was hard to really know where I was at lots of times as far as my game. There’s a saying Coach Mac has that I really like: just try to get a little bit better every day. So this year, I’ll try to get better every game and go from there. That’s all you can control.”