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Huestis fulfills lifelong dream with first NBA minutes - KXLH.com | Helena, Montana

Huestis fulfills lifelong dream with first NBA minutes

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PHOTO CREDIT: OKC THUNDER PHOTO CREDIT: OKC THUNDER
PHOTO CREDIT: OKC THUNDER PHOTO CREDIT: OKC THUNDER
GREAT FALLS -

Josh Huestis had no idea that he’d make his NBA debut on a random Thursday night game late in the season against the Utah Jazz.

“I had dressed for other games,” Huestis said. “I knew I was going to be suiting up but I didn’t know what to expect. I wanted to stay ready and when (coach Donovan) called my name it was super exciting.”

The only people more excited than the CMR grad? His Oklahoma City teammates. Huestis received a chest bump from Thunder superstar Kevin Durant as he checked in. And after scoring his first NBA points on a three from the left wing, the bench erupted in celebration.

“Those guys are my brothers and my family,” Huestis said. “Guys like KD, Russ (Westbrook) and Serge (Ibaka) to have that kind of excitement when I went in, and the fact that they got so excited over my first basket means a lot to me. It just shows what kind of people they are and how tight knit we are as a team.”

His stat line was modest. Three points on one field goal, one turnover and two missed free throws in five minutes of action. But for Huestis, those five minutes fulfilled a lifelong dream of playing in an NBA game.

“I can’t think of a time in my life when I wasn’t thinking about that moment honestly,”

Huestis said his phone has been blowing up with messages of support since last night in the form of texts, phone calls and even a tweet from Montana Governor Steve Bullock.  

“You know how Montana is,” Huestis chuckled. “Despite the fact that it’s a smaller state everyone is really invested in each other and everyone goes crazy if you’re from Montana. It’s a great feeling just to know that the entire state has my back and supports me and cares about how I’m doing.”

Though he was drafted in June 2014, Huestis has had to be patient these past 21 months with stints in the NBA Developmental League and a year-long wait before signing his rookie contract with the Thunder. And he hopes this career milestone is the first of many to come.

“I’m very optimistic about my career and now that I’ve got the first points under my belt I can keep moving forward and keep getting better and have a long and successful career.”

Behind the elite combo of Durant and Westbrook, the Thunder have clinched the Northwest Division and hope for a deep playoff run this summer. Huestis says he’s ready to contribute. But whether he sees the court or not again this season, he’s enjoying the ride.

“You can feel it in the air around the building- the optimism that we’re one of the teams that can go really far in the playoffs and hopefully add a championship,” Huestis said. “To be a part of that is really exciting.”

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