The first thing you should remember about Terry Armstrong is that he’s a professional basketball player.
That part has been overlooked by most with the all of the hype surrounding his other two peers in the 2019 class who also made the decision to go the “prep-to-pro” route over college.
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First, R.J. Hampton told USA Today Sports that he would be suiting up for the New Zealand Breakers next season. A month later, Hampton, who was ranked No. 2 in USA Today Sports’ Chosen 25, went on to sign five-year multi-million dollar shoe deal with Chinese brand Li-Ning.
After that, LaMelo Ball announced that he’d be suiting up for the Illawarra Hawks for the 2019-20 season. Ball has 4.8 million followers on Instagram and is the son of Big Baller Brand founder and national television mainstay LaVar Ball.
Armstrong announced last month that he would play for the South East Melbourne Phoenix and signed with Bedrock Sports Agency last week.
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All three players will compete in the National Basketball League.
“R.J. and Melo are great players and they deserve the attention that they get,” Armstrong said. “We’re all coming out of high school going pro so we all have something to prove, but I feel like I have more to prove. I’ve got an even bigger chip on my shoulder now.”
Stark contrast from the carefree, dominant teen he was last season at Bella Vista Prep (Scottsdale, Arizona) where Armstrong was racking up multiple MVP awards in top tournaments to lead the Bears. He eventually signed with Arizona.
Armstrong described the decision to go pro instead of to Tucson as “one of the toughest I’ve ever had to make.”
“I love Arizona,” said Armstrong, who checked in at No. 62 in HoopsHype’s 2020 aggregate mock draft. “But when I saw down and thought about it, going pro was the best decision for me and my family. A big reason why I wanted to go pro was because I’m from Flint, Michigan and my family is still affected by the water situation there. They still have to get the filtered water out of the sink to bathe every day. I want to put my family in a better position.”
To that end, Armstrong has been in Miami training to prepare for the coming season. A video production crew follows his every move filming the documentary “Going Pro,” which details Armstrong’s preparation for the pro jump.
He’ll be in Flint later this month to pass out fresh water to the people in his community.
“That means a lot to me because my family is going through the same thing,” Armstrong said. “I’m just doing what I can do to help.”
Armstrong said he “can already tell” that his mindset has shifted to “all business,” which makes him eager to get to Australia.
“I wish I could go today,” Armstrong said. “I want to get acclimated to the culture and the food and the people, just everything. I know I have to prove myself. I’m ready to. I know I’m not as talked about as the other guys, but we’ll see this season. All three of us are great players, but I feel like I am hungrier than everyone else.”
Follow Jason Jordan on Twitter: @JayJayUSATODAY