Nick Minnerath RumorsAll NBA Players
Jorge Sierra: Free agent forward Nick Minnerath will take part in the Nets’ mini-camp next week, we’re told.
Greg Joyce: Minnerath’s agent is meeting with the #Kings tomorrow after the NBA Las Vegas Summer League wraps up. Other teams could pop in too.
Greg Joyce: No NBA team has offered Minnerath guaranteed money with a camp invite yet, but that could change. Decision will be made in a week to 10 days
The Kings staff called the agent for Nick Minnerath at 2 a.m. Friday morning, just a couple of hours after the NBA drafted ended, to confirm the Titans forward would play for their Summer League team, scheduled to compete in Las Vegas starting July 13.
Two years later, Minnerath signed with Detroit, where he elevated his game so much that he received one of 64 invitations to the predraft Portsmouth Invitational Tournament after last season. His performance landed him nearly a dozen individual workouts. “Portsmouth was definitely a bonus,” Minnerath said. “There’s no question playing for a mid-major you can get overlooked. Once the season was over I started to turn some heads. I was able to show my athleticism and my shooting ability. “Once I got the first workout out of the way in Washington, my confidence grew.”
Drug use and other poor decisions left Minnerath’s life in what he termed “a mess.” He played one year in high school in Massachusetts, dropped out of Cape Cod Community College after one year, then caught a break. A family friend contacted Jackson Community College’s then coach, Steve Finamore, and, after a brief tryout, Minnerath signed with the school. “From Day 1, I sent him text messages trying to be uplifting,” Finamore said. “Make no mistake. I had nothing to do with his success. It’s 99 percent Nick.”
Do you see yourself maybe as a stretch four in the NBA? Nick Minnerath: Yeah, no question. A three or a stretch four.
Sean Cunningham: 6’9″ PF from Detroit Nick Minnerath will be in Sacramento for a pre-draft workout on Friday. #NBAKings Kid already suffered ACL/MCL tear
For Minnerath, the term “dark days” holds at least two meanings. The first one encompasses the two years after high school which he spent doing too many drugs. He worked minimum-wage jobs and moved farther away from reaching the dream he’d always held, the one where he becomes a professional basketball player. He can remember the days he felt disgusted by himself. He woke up one morning — “strung out on drugs for God knows how long, about two years,” he said — and decided to get his life back together. “I was working jobs I couldn’t stand (in construction, at convenience stores and driving a taxi), and I knew I didn’t want to do that for the rest of my life,” he said. “One day I woke up, not even 20 years old, and thought my life was over. I knew I had to get clean. Regardless of anything else, getting clean was the priority.”
Minnerath’s work ethic followed him from junior college to Detroit, where he won the Larry Doyle Most Dedicated Titan Award during each of his final two seasons. After he tore his ACL and MCL, Detroit coach Ray McCallum said he’d never seen a player work so hard to come back from injury. “Security guards used to come into my office,” Finamore said, referring to Minnerath’s junior college days, “and tell me, ‘Nick was working out at midnight last night. We had to kick him out of the gym.'” “I think he can make the NBA, he can be a great guy on the end of the bench,” Finamore added. “He’s a good guy, a great teammate, a basketball junkie. He could be like DeJuan Blair for the Spurs, someone who’s ready to play whenever he gets the opportunity.”
He started playing pickup basketball again at a YMCA shortly after. When he dominated the competition, opponents asked him what team he played for. “I’ve been on the couch for two years,” he told them. Dark days can also be used to describe the times when his favorite team, the Celtics, stunk. Minnerath is a Paul Pierce fan, even had posters on his wall as a youngster. Growing up in Cape Cod, it took him about two hours to make his way into Boston. He would buy nosebleed seats just to watch games from inside the TD Garden, then called FleetCenter. At the time Boston was in the middle of a 22-year NBA championship drought, the longest in the franchise’s history. As a measure of the Celtics’ ineptitude, Brett Szabo started 24 games for the team in 1996-97. After that season, he never appeared in another NBA game. Yes, Minnerath laughed, those were dark times to be a Celtics fan. “But it was good and bad,” he said. “I used to be able to get tickets for $10.”
Minnerath, a 6-foot-9 senior power forward from the University of Detroit Mercy, worked out for the Washington Wizards last week and is scheduled to work out for the Pistons on Wednesday. Minnerath used a last-minute invitation to the Portsmouth predraft camp to impress some NBA scouts. He averaged 14 points per game at Portsmouth and was one of the standout players. Since then he has interviewed with the San Antonio Spurs and Utah Jazz. “Portsmouth definitely got me a little more exposure at the right time after the season was over,” said Minnerath. “I think teams have seen things during the year and I’ve been able to bring those things to the workouts. Maybe they didn’t think I could shoot as well or maybe teams thought I couldn’t do some other things and I’m showing that I can.” As far as feedback, he said, “Everything so far has been positive what they’ve been saying to me afterward.”
Minnerath has said he worked himself clean about two years after he finished high school. He found a spot on the Jackson (Mich.) Community College basketball team and showed enough promise there to earn a scholarship offer from Detroit Mercy, where he averaged 12.9 points and 5.3 rebounds over parts of three seasons. His senior season was cut short because he tore the ACL and MCL in his right knee, but he returned for a redshirt year and completed his final NCAA campaign with averages of 14.6 points and a team-leading 5.9 rebounds. Capable of big offensive outbursts, he scored 36 points against Valparaiso, 34 against Cleveland State and 27 against Youngstown State.
But Minnerath’s story is an important one, even if the Truro, Mass., native doesn’t get drafted by the Celtics or any other team. At 19 years old, he’s said, he had begun taking serious drugs and his life was “completely out of control.” He stands 6-foot-9 with impressive athleticism, yet he was doing nothing with his basketball talent except dominating pickup games at a local YMCA. Thanks to a mixture of bad luck and poor schoolwork, he’d only played one full season of high school hoops as a sophomore — other than that, he failed off the team twice and broke his ankle two games into his senior year. He attended junior college briefly right after high school but didn’t play basketball there. According to separate stories published about him, he worked at a convenience store, as a taxi-cab driver and in construction. “I was 19 feeling like my life was already over,” he told WXYZ TV Detroit earlier this year. “I knew I had to make a change before it was too late.”