There have been some great father and son duo’s who have reached the NBA over the years with the most well known most likely having been Rick Barry and sons Jon, Brent and Keith, but there have also been others. For example Del Curry and sons Steph and Seth or Joe and Kobe Bryant or Mychal Thompson and Klay Thompson or Bill Walton and son Luke just to name a few. But there have also been other duo’s where the sons weren’t able to have that bIG NBA career like their dads like Patrick Ewing Jr or David Stockton or Xavier Silas. And then again also those that haven’t reached the big show as Tyrell Corbin who is the son of ex NBA player Tyrone Corbin who enjoyed a 16 year NBA career with 9 teams averaging 9,2ppg and 4,7 at the small forward position. Son Tyrell has played NBA Summer league, in the G-League and overseas and last season won his first professional title. I recently caught him on an episode of Joe Asberry’s entertaining No Plan B podcast. It dawned on me that I had met his dad before in 2016 and taken a photo with him before a game in Boston. I was all proud and sent Joe Asberry the photo. After hearing the great episode, I for once didn’t pester Joe Asberry about getting the guy’s number, but it was actually Joe who sent me it. For one time in my life I wasn’t thinking about that next interview. But that was probably because I’m swarmed with work. Anyway I got in contact with Tyrell and the dude came over as a very friendly guy right away with absolutely no ‘I’m the son of an NBA player’ allure. I told him right away that we had a connection. He answered back with what is our connection. So I sent him the picture with me and his dad, or so I thought it was. He answered with ‘oh wow, Mark is a really good guy’. Boy was I embarrassed. I could of sworn that my photo was with Tyrone Corbin. ‘That’s Mark West. My dad’s teammate from the Phoenix Suns. They are good friends so it’s easy to get them mixed up’, laughed Tyrell Corbin. Even if it was a humiliating start for us, he took it with a smile and a laugh. Tyrell Corbon has never played in the NBA, but seen so much being the son of dad Tyrone and one would think that having that family tie can only be an advantage. ‘ I honestly think it has been the opposite. I’ve missed out on opportunities because people think I will always be okay since my father was in the NBA. When in reality, I’m grinding the same way anyone else would be. One step at a time’, stressed Tyrell Corbin. Even if the family connection hasn’t been an advantage, he keeps grinding and climbing the basketball ladder.
Tyrell Corbin who remembers guys Alan Williams, James Nunnally, Orlando Johnson, Jamaal Franklin and Xavier Thames as his toughest covers in the NCAA was born on September 21st, 1992 in South Columbia. In the 90’s as a young child he moved around a lot as his dad played for various teams like Atlanta, Utah, Sacramento and Miami. His dad had an immense impact on him in early years right up to adult hood. Especially with his game, he has taken on his vital pointers graciously. ‘He’s been a huge influence on my life. Mostly off the court than on the court stuff. His approach to how he takes care of business, always shows up and always finds a way to make things work is what I admire the most. His story is amazing and inspires me daily. With my game, he is responsible for my footwork, jab steps, fakes, shooting form and my defense’, stressed Tyrell Corbin. He was 8 years old when his dad played his last season in the NBA and remembers that as if it was yesterday. ‘I have so many memories. As much as I could, I would go to practices with my dad or to the gym. His last team was the Toronto Raptors in 2000-01. I can remember talking to Vince Carter a lot and being amazed at him’, added Tyrell Corbon.
He began his basketball career at West High School in Salt Lake City Utah where he was a HS All-State selection in 2009, 2010, and 2011, was a HS West Region MVP in 2010 and was HS Mr. Basketball by the Deseret News in 2011. He then played his freshman season at University of California – Davis (NCAA) playing 29 games averaging 6.5ppg, 2.2rpg, 3.0apg, 1.2spg, FGP: 38.4%, 3PT: 16.7%, FT: 77.9%. It was a solid first year in the NCAA, but that was it after that as he decided to take a few steps back and play JUCO. ‘I remember it being a learning experience for me. I realized that I wasn’t a good shooter yet. I realized that I had to get better at shot selection. Just had to get in the gym and really work on my game to be the player that I want to be. But UC Davis is a great place and I will always have love for it. I chose to go JUCO because I didn’t like the D1 options that were recruiting me and I knew that going back home to Salt Lake would be good. Plus I knew we had a special group coming in for that season’, expressed Tyrell Corbin. His best games as a freshman were against Cal Santa Cruz dropping 16 points and netting 15 points against S Utah. He then played at Salt Lake Community College (JUCO). He led the school to a 29-5 record and to the NJCAA tournament starting 28 of 31 games while averaging 10,3ppg, 3,5rpg and 4,5apg. Taking a step back and playing in JUCO is brutal as it is a place where everyone is trying to survive and get back to higher levels doing anything in order to present their best basketball side. If a player survives JUCO, it is an experience that often carries them to new heights. Every guy I ever spoke to agrees that it was an opportunity that they wouldn’t trade the world for. ‘I absolutely agree with them. JUCO is where you find out a lot about yourself. You’re fighting to get back to D1 and you’re going up against someone who wants the same thing as you. Every game is a dog fight. I was blessed with a great group of guys to go to war with every night and it made our season special. We were the #2 team in the country going into the National Tournament. We all accomplished our goal of going D1. It was great’, stressed Tyrell Corbin. He then finished at California State University Bakersfield (NCAA) playing 31 games as a junior averaging 4.9ppg, 1.9rpg, 2.1apg and played 33 games as a senior averaging 5.6ppg, 2.3rpg, 2.2apg, FGP: 38.4%, 3PT: 35.3%, FT: 78.3%. He definitely had growing pains there, but that is a part of growing up. ‘I was dealing with things that were out of my control at Bakersfield. But I do think that my game grew a lot there. I was working on my jump shot every night while I was there and had some really good shooting nights my senior year. I would’ve liked for us to win more games and for my play to be more consistent while I was there, but again I was dealing with things that were out of my control’, remembered Tyrell Corbin. He hit High Point for 20 points, had 16 points against UMKC and nailed UTSA for 15 points.
The American’s five best teammates of al-time are Eric Washington (Chemnitz German BBL), Gary Payton II (Golden State Warriors), Danuel House (Utah Jazz), Derek Cooke Jr (Gilboa Galil), Michale Kyser (Hapoel Holon) had a whirlwind of a rookie season splitting time with KK Jedinstvo Bijelo Polje (Montenegro-Erste Liga) playing 11 games averaging 10.9ppg, 2.5rpg, 2.9apg, 3.2spg, 2FGP: 54.5%, 3FGP: 17.1%, FT: 84.4%, and played with SBL Khasyn Khuleguud Becks (Mongolia-Superliga). Coming overseas for the first time is always a test for any American. Most guys won’t be playing for star clubs like FC Barcelona, Milan or CSKA Moscow and live in fancy houses and be dreaming about their future career while traveling to road games in a private jet, but instead most likely will be playing in a lower league, sharing an apartment with 1-2 teammates and possibly not see a Mcdonalds until back in the States. For the American playing in Montenegro was definitely something he had never seen before. ‘My time in Montenegro was a learning experience. I was young and thought that I could play through injury. I shouldn’t have played certain games and I got really sick as well. But,I knew I didn’t want to get sent home. My wake up call was that I had to figure out what to do on my own. Things happened and I ended up going to Mongolia to finish the year’, remembered Tyrell Corbin. His best scoring games in Montenegro occurred against South Centar where he proved that he had their number scoring 23 and 18 points a piece. His rookie season then continued in Mongolia a country that most Americans have never been in before. For those few Americans that get the opportunity to experience a place like that, it is one that their grand children will hear about during story telling on Thanksgiving. ‘My experience in Mongolia was great. We went to the finals that year. But the competition was great surprisingly. A few ex NBA players played. Like Chris Jones who is in the Euroleague now was playing out there as well. They love basketball out there so the games were always crowded and the fans showed a lot of love. I enjoyed my time there. It was really cold there. That’s what I remember about it the most’, stated Tyrell Corbin. Before heading back to the States to get that G-League experience, he was able to get some added playing time with Bima Perkasa Yogyakarta (Indonesia-IBL) playing 14 games averaging 24.9ppg, 6.8rpg, 3.9apg, Steals-1 (2.9spg), FGP: 42.9%, 3PT: 25.9%, FT: 69.4%. Here he was able to showcase his total offensive arsenal as it seemed like he was a man playing with kids. ‘That was a crazy year. I can remember being the only import on the team for several games. And I was a man playing with kids haha because we were the youngest team in the league that year. Our lack of experience showed but what I loved about my team is we stayed positive throughout the year and got better daily. We ultimately beat the defending champs in the last game of the season to end it on a high note’, remembered Tyrell Corbin. He had some monster games and explosions against CLS Knights with 50 points, hit Aspac for 39 points and drilled Bima Perkasa for 33 points.
The South Carolina native who has Lebron James, Kobe Bryant, Michael Jordan, and dad Tyrone Corbin on his personal NBA Mount Rushmore then began a new chapter in his professional career coming back to the States and getting a breath of the NBA. It began at the 2017 NBA Summer League in Orlando where he suited up with the Charlotte Hornets playing 3 games averaging 6.0ppg, 1.0rpg, 2.3apg. This was a great opportunity where he could match his skills against top young competition and see how his game stacked up against other guards. ‘That was a great time! I can remember the week of practice leading up to the games and me having a really good week. I knew that my play in practice would carry over to the games. I had a solid game against OKC Thunder. I had the opportunity to go up against Briante Weber, Tai Webster and Gabe York in practice. And during Summer League, I got to play against Pierre Jackson, Marcus Paige and Josh Gray. I can remember my coaches telling me that I had a great week and that I played really well for the Hornets’, said Tyrell Corbin. He then played in the G-League from 2017-2019 with the Northern Arizona Suns and the Stockton Kings. Despite a solid NBA Summer League performance, he got signed very late by the Suns and played only 6 games averaging 1,0ppg. Even if he didn’t see much action, he was able to soak in as much as possible from coach Tyrone Ellis who had had a stellar career overseas ‘Coach Ellis is really cool. Some of my first interactions with him involved us playing 1 on 1. He was a coach but obviously still a great player and I had fun matching up against him. We had a lot of talks during the season and I will always be grateful for his words and for him giving me an opportunity to play for him’, stated Tyrell Corbin. In Arizona he was teammates with talented guard Archie Goodwin who spent some good years in the NBA, but since has also come overseas. Matching up against him on a daily basis helped his game. ‘What I remember most about Archie is that he is a competitor. He wanted to win any drill we had in practice and played really hard in games. His attitude and energy rubbed off on the rest of us that year and made us want to play harder’, expressed Tyrell Corbin. In his second G-League season with Stockton, he played 15 games averaging 2,7ppg, 1,3rpg and 1,5apg. There are so many talented guards that battle in the G-League that have deserved to get a shot in the NBA and don’t. Granted Corbin didn’t get the chance to play consistent minutes to get a real shot, but he had his moments. In his last G-League game, he played 30 minutes scoring 20 points while current Miami Heat Gabe Vincent had 9 points in 30 minutes. Both also played in the same college conference, but worlds separate their basketball careers at the moment. So one has to wonder just how far a guy like Corbin could go for that NBA chance had he received 30 plus minutes on a daily basis in the G-League. ‘Gabe is someone that I still talk to a lot. He is a great player and I think our playing styles are similar. I know that I can still go far. I have mixed feelings about the G-League. I loved the experience and the opportunity to get better every day. As you said, I played well any time I stepped on the floor. I just would’ve liked more time to showcase my game on a consistent basis. I don’t think the NBA is really far away for a guy with my skill level. It’s all about opportunity. All it takes is one team’, warned Tyrell Corbin.
The guard who enjoys watching the games of Chris Paul, Kyrie Irving, Damien Lillard and Jru Holiday continued his career in Noth America after the G-League heading across the boarder to Canada to play with the Guelph Nighthawks (Canada-CEBL) averaging 11.3ppg, 1.7rpg, 2.5apg, 1.0spg, FGP: 33.3%, 3PT: 52.0%, FT: 81.0%. This was another golden opportunity for him to display his improving game in a new league that continues to grow. ‘Guelph was a good experience for me. I was brought in towards the end of the season so I only played the last 7 games. I was given the role of coming off the bench and providing a spark. I shot the ball well and played good defense which helped bring our team back into some of the games that season. I think the league has huge potential. As you can see, there have been a few NBA Call Ups from players who have played in that league and guys who are playing in German BBL, ACB, Winners League as well. It’s a great league’, commented Tyrell Corbin. He had some solid games scoring 15 points a piece against Hamilton HB and Niagara NL. In the past years the CEBL league has had very talented guys and many former players from overseas like Olumuyiwa Famutimi who is still active today as a professional player at age 38. ‘Olu was a great vet to be around! I will always remember how dedicated he was to keeping his body in shape. And watching his routine and approach to everything is why he is still playing today. The most important thing that he told me is that no one can guard me’, smiled Tyrell Corbin. After experiencing basketball in North America for 3 seasons, it was back overseas to Albania where he was able to celebrate his first chip as a professional with team Kamza Basket Tirana (Albania-Liga e pare). This was an experience he will never forget after getting that first taste of COVID and how it could affect the job market. ‘That team was really special to me because I had been sitting out so long because of COVID. I will always be thankful for them giving me an opportunity to come to Europe and continue to do what I love. We had a great team and a great coach who put us in position to win every game. We had a lot of fun’, remembered Tyrell Corbin.
The prolific scorer hasn’t seen the sequel to the classic Coming To America and believes a movie like that doesn’t need a sequel and thinks that Jordan, Kobe and Lebron are the greatest of all-time continues to grind in 2022 even during the hard times with the pandemic. His journey has always been a grind and it didn’t get any easier since the pandemic hit in March 2020. ‘My COVID experience was difficult. I actually was in America when it first started. I had resigned in the CEBL with Guelph but was told that I couldn’t come up because teams were only allowing a certain amount of Americans in the bubble that year. That was disappointing but I just used 2020 as a year to really stay in the gym and prepare for my next opportunity. And now that I’m in Georgia with COVID still out there, just have to stay as safe as possible but I am glad to be back on the court’, explained Tyrell Corbin. Guys don’t only grow on the court, but also off the court as men. With COVID, people have seen the worst possible things and have had to grow in character in order to withstand the difficult times. ‘I grew a lot mentally. COVID affected everyone differently but for me, I took it as a test to see if I wanted to stay dedicated in the gym even when there is uncertainty of ever playing again. I think I did a pretty good job with that’, stressed Tyrell Corbin. A new season, a new team in a new country is just part of the life of a basketball globetrotter as this season he is playing in Georgia with Mega Tbilisi (Georgia-Superleague). He is playing in two leagues with mixed results so far. ‘My experience here has been solid so far. We had our struggles at the beginning of the season and had to deal with a lot of changes with players and even had a coaching change. My first coach wanted to play a slower style and I was asked to be a true point guard. My new coach has a more fast paced system and he wants me to score. I’m comfortable doing both. But we hit a good stride in both Superleague and Caucasus Basketball League. We are on a 11 game win streak’, said Tyrell Corbin. After securing that first dub last season in Albania, his zeal to win the next one is massive. ‘ As a competitor, I love winning. Winning a title last season was a great feeling and it made me want to work even harder this summer to put my team in position to win another one, in whatever country I end up playing in’, warned Tyrell Corbin. He has shown rapidly that he can play his game well in both competitions in Georgia as he hit the Mad Foxes for 30 points and scored 24 points against Cilicia and 22 points against Bavazet. But it isn’t just his scoring that is making waves, but his playmaking is also at the rise at the moment which hasn’t surprised him. ‘I grew up as a scorer and a shooter. But when I got to college, I was asked to be more of a true point guard. So I’ve always had the ability to be a playmaker or scorer on any level’, stated Tyrell Corbin. He also has understood that continuing to diligently craft his game in the lab is one that will continue to help him rise up the ranks. ‘I think every experience makes you better in some way. The G-League taught me to always stay in the gym and ready. I went from not playing a lot to starting games at the end of the season. If I hadn’t stayed in the gym and ready for that opportunity, I wouldn’t have played as well as I did’, added Tyrell Corbin. His game continues to grow and as he is nearing 30, and he knows that his best time is approaching. ‘I think I am nearing my prime. I feel as if I can play at the highest level. It’s all about getting an opportunity to show my game at that level. I’m looking forward to getting on that stage’, warned Tyrell Corbin. It will be interesting to see where his journey will continue to go to. One thing is for sure, his NBA connection hasn’t helped him, but not taking anything for granted in life and just knowing that the grind is what is all about will continue to help him reach his dreams and goals.