Overseas opportunity: DSU grad Hurd to play basketball in Australia
Tevin Hurd had nearly given up hope of continuing his basketball career.
After multiple failed attempts of playing in different parts of the world, Hurd finally found a home in Australia.
“I was ready to give up, because I’m 23, so I figured if I didn’t do anything this summer then I would hang up the shoes,” he said. “I was pretty much on my last leg. I’ve been playing basketball since I was three and every summer I’ve had a basketball team to play on.
“Even after college, I played in the adult league in San Francisco. It got to a point recently where, ‘How long am I going to do this for?’ If I’m not headed in a positive direction and trying to build a profession out of it, how long can I stay around? I wasn’t going to give basketball up completely, but just in terms of playing in other places.”
Hurd has signed to play with the Tamworth Thunderbolts in Australia’s State League. The league doesn’t play Hurd a salary, but helps with rent and a job coaching basketball.
The journey to Australia began with emails to head coach John Ireland and ultimately led to Hurd signing about a week later.
“Normally, players play there for like a year or maybe two and then sign with a summer team, which is like semi-pro. That’s the league you get pay to play in,” Hurd said. “I’m just going to try to work my way up. Do it the old fashioned way up.”
The biggest asset Hurd has opposed to many point guards in any level of basketball is his stature. Hurd stands 6-foot-6 and has the majority of his basketball experience at the guard position.
The height at the guard position was an attractive feature when Hurd transferred from William Jessup University (Calif.) to DSU. However, Hurd said he has played every spot on the court.
“It was obvious that Tevin was a very good player and to get to know him off the floor — like I do all my players, I get to know them off the floor — that he’s just a phenomenal person,” DSU head coach Ty Orton said. “He’s the same way on and off floor. He had the complete package.”
Yet, the game of basketball holds a special place in Hurd’s heart. Hurd said basketball was the outlet for pent-up energy when he was younger.
The game quickly turned from an outlet of energy to making sure he was doing well in school. If he wasn’t passing classes, he wasn’t going to play. He made his school work a top priority to make sure he could still play basketball.
In 2013, Hurd graduated from DSU with a bachelor’s degree in psychology with a minor in communications.
“Growing up, you play basketball to meet people or to stay out of trouble or keep your grades up, which is what I did,” Hurd said. “But you never think it could do so much for you and it saved my life in a lot of different aspects. The only problems I had growing up are that I couldn’t stay seated in school and I talked too much. I didn’t like to pay attention in class and I hated going to class, but if I didn’t go to class, I couldn’t play basketball.”
Basketball has not only helped Hurd graduate with a college diploma, but aided him to travel across the United States and around the world.
Hurd has traveled around the Midwest, the western United States, China and Philippines.
“I love to travel and I’ve been pretty blessed so far,” he said. “Being somewhere you aren’t used to is just a remarkable experience for me. I’m a little bit addicted to it now. I just want to travel and see how many different places this sport can take me.”
However, the transfer to DSU wasn’t just a chance to continue playing collegiately, but an opportunity to play with his older brother, Jeff.
Tevin was a sophomore in high school when Jeff was a senior. After a series of injuries, which sidelined Jeff during his collegiate career, the brothers from Fairfield, Calif., transferred to DSU the same year and played together during the 2010-11 and 2011-12 seasons.
“It was real positive experience (at DSU), especially because I got to play with my brother — which had never happened before — because he’s two years older than me,” Tevin said. “That was a lot of fun.”
Jeff said it was a special opportunity to play basketball with his brother. He said even though they haven’t played on the same court together — in a competitive sense — prior to arriving at DSU, the play between the brothers was natural.
“During high school, all we had was practice time together,” Jeff said. “When got to Dickinson and we could play together, it was great. We played together all of our lives and everything clicked really easy.”
The memories at DSU didn’t just happen on the basketball court for Jeff and Tevin. Both experienced their first sight of snow together.
The brothers made videos of the snowfall to show their friends and family back in California.
“The first time it snowed, it was a big deal for me and my brother,” Tevin said. “We looked out our window and it was September and that year to snowed like Sept. 30. My brother was ready to buy a plane ticket and go home. We were outside and everybody else has a hoodie and thin sweatpants on. We have these thick jackets and like three pairs of sweatpants.”
Jeff added with a laugh: “It was cool to see the snow, but once the snow kept coming and coming and it got colder, we were over it.”
Run of bad luck
The old saying is, “If it wasn’t for bad luck, I wouldn’t have any luck at all.”
Those words were nothing but the truth for Tevin Hurd.
He was in talks with multiple teams around the world to play basketball, whether it was professionally or to continue playing for a university abroad.
Yet, once Hurd had the ability to leave, the team had already picked up another player at his position.
He wondered if he was ever going to get his chance.
“I kept having horrible luck when I tried to keep playing,” Hurd said with a smile. “As like a last push, I just started emailing coaches and if no one emailed me back, I was going to take it as a sign that I’m done. Luckily, coach Ireland hit me back.”
The luck finally shined in his favor. All Hurd needed to play basketball in Australia was to get a visa, clearance from USA Basketball and clearance from DSU.
Orton said Hurd is the 27th player since he’s been coaching to sign a professional contract. The DSU head coach said Hurd can help a team in many aspects.
“He’s got the capability because of his size and his position playing that one or two guard that he can make an impact and turn some head to get a contract,” Orton said. “It’s a great opportunity for him and everything that he does.”
When Hurd found out he was going to Australia to play basketball, he was excited.
But not as excited as his friends and family, especially his mother, Delphine Fuller, and father, Jeff Hurd, Sr.
“I’m losing sleep at night, because I’m crazy excited,” Tevin Hurd said with a laugh. “My family is extremely supportive and they told me if I don’t go, then I’m an idiot. It never occurred to me not to go. When they said they wanted me, I asked when because I’ll be there tomorrow.
“My family and girlfriend are sad to see me go, but that’s all we’ve been able to talk about. They are probably more excited than I am.”
Jeff Hurd couldn’t be happier for his brother. Jeff said if he had the opportunity to play basketball with Tevin in the Australia, he would be there in a heartbeat.
“It’s a blessing for him to get to go over there,” Jeff said. “It’s something he’s always wanted to do. He always wanted to keep playing after he graduated and he’s been searching for somewhere to play. Once he got the call to go down there, it was really a blessing.”
Tevin Hurd couldn’t express the amount of gratitude and thanks to DSU for giving him the opportunity to play basketball.
“I want to give my appreciation to the school, because it helped me move on to bigger and better things,” he said.