Warriors

Lee has perfect advice for Wiseman during rookie season

Warriors

Damion Lee traveled a much different path to the NBA than Warriors teammate James Wiseman.

Lee played parts of four seasons at Drexel before concluding his collegiate career at Louisville as a graduate transfer, thanks to an extra year of eligibility. Wiseman, meanwhile, played all of three games before leaving Memphis' program when the NCAA issued -- and upheld -- a 12-game suspension "for recruiting inducements his family received."

Wiseman was the No. 2 overall pick in the 2020 NBA Draft. Lee went undrafted, spending parts of his first four professional seasons in the G League before signing his first NBA-only contract just over a year ago.

Still, Lee has a lot of insight to offer Wiseman, or any other rookie willing to listen.

"It's just a matter of staying the course," Lee told reporters Monday in his video conference. "Everyone's course is different. Whether you're a No. 1 pick and you're all-generation, whether you're ... a top-five pick and you sort of have to find your way, everyone's journey is different. So it's just a matter of understanding that. ... At the end of the day, as long as you keep working, what's done in the dark always comes to light. It's just a matter of keeping on working and understanding that it's for the betterment of you, and your career and your team."

 

Lee's career is a testament to his perseverance, and Wiseman continues to develop his. The 20-year-old admitted he has "a lot" of games that would qualify as his least favorite during his first NBA season, and said it has been hard to not get down on himself at times.

"It could be any rookie," Lee continued. "It could be anybody that's new that's coming into the league or trying to make it into the league. It's just a matter of staying that course, staying that journey and never giving up."

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That's a lesson Wiseman will have to take to heart beyond his rookie year, too. Even if he reaches his potential and leads the Warriors into another championship era, he'll still need to remind himself to stay the course.

Lee has to, after all.

"Sometimes I gotta remind myself that, after all the stuff that I've gone through to get here," Lee said. "It's crazy. But everybody got a story, and as long as we can pay it forward and give the game to the next generation, [we] leave the game in a good place."

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