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The Orion

Michael Bethea: a journey

Reno Bighorns Guard Michael Bethea during the NBA G-League Basketball game between the Reno Bighorns and the Memphis Hustle. Photo courtesy of Michael Bethea

Current Reno Bighorns guard Michael Bethea Jr. has had quite a journey to get to where he is now including a memorable stop at Chico State.

Bethea grew up in Staten Island, NY where he graduated from Curtis High School in 2013.

After high school, Bethea went to a junior college in Fremont, CA called Ohlone College. Following his two years playing basketball at Ohlone, Bethea transfered to Grambling State to follow his dreams of playing Division 1 basketball. After one year of starting, Bethea would transfer once again to Chico State.

At Chico State, however, Bethea would find that he would not be starting, and instead coming off the bench.

“Coming into Chico, I thought I would be a starter from a D1, but coming off the bench has prepared me as a pro,” Bethea said. “It has made me always ready when coming off the bench.”

Chico State’s basketball coach Greg Clink praised Bethea on his only year with the team.

“We don’t win the West Region without Michael, down the stretch he played so well for us, he made big shots, made big plays defensively.” Clink said.

Clink went on to say how most players are four or five year players, who have learned the offense and defense and Beathea only had one year.

Bethea believed he would play pro basketball one day. He has the size to be a pro player at six feet and six inches tall, weighing 185 pounds.

“I wanted to be a pro when I first got to a JC,” Bethea said. “I knew coaches on the G-league team and got a tryout and an invite to training camp and made the team.”

Now a pro, Bethea points out many changes in the game from his days playing basketball.

“The athelticism. The NBA court has a lot more space on the offensive end. Harder to guard on the defensive end.” Bethea said.

The level of competition going from the college game to the pro game has forced Bethea to change some parts of his game.

“Mentally most, but physically too. Can’t have bad body language, can’t think about bad plays. Always be ready to go to the next play.” Bethea said.

College basketball and professional basketball have different mentalities and force players to change how they play the game. Whether it’s on the offensive or defensive end of the game, Bethea has realized this and adapted.

“Offensively I didn’t have to change too much, just get stronger,” Bethea said. “Defensively I had to work on decision making and being locked in at all times.”

For anyone trying to make the jump from college to the pros, Bethea has some words of advice.

“My advice is to believe in yourself,” Bethea said. “Don’t let anyone tell you what you can’t do. As long as you work hard and stay humble you can achieve.”

Bethea’s journey has taken him from one side of the country to the other and back and through it all he has no regrets.

“I like how my journey was. It made me who I am today and I appreciate it.” Bethea said.

Chico State coach Greg Clink finished by giving his former player some words of encouragement saying, “He’s a joy to coach, a joy to be around and I’m really excited about what he’s doing.”

Andrew Baumgartner can be reached at [email protected] or @abaum94 on Twitter.

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