The G-League is the NBA's official minor league and one player with local ties is playing for a team in Reno and as Action News Now's Ross Field reports, he's having a positive experience as he hopes to one day make it to the next level.
Michael Bethea spents last year playing for your Chico State Wildcats and his dream of making it to the NBA is alive and well thanks to his determination and growth in the G-League.
He has the skillsket. He's a 6-foot-6 sharpshooter who can handle the ball and defend. Since catching on with Reno Bighorns, a G-League affiliate of the Sacramento Kings, Bethea has been working hard to make the most of his opportunity.
"Right now my role with the Bighorns is I have to be uplifting and just compete. When I get in a game, knock down some shots, play some defense, it's real simple," said Bethea.
Bethea is a reserve guard and when he sees action he contributes with instant offense. In December, he exploded for 17 points on 5-6 from three-point-range in a game against the South Bay Lakers.
"I definitely know I can play at this level. I'm a very confident guy, but just having the teammates that I have, I have guys that played in the NBA, guys that played overseas and so everyday in practice I just learn from those guys and I'm able to just pick up things along the way," said Bethea.
Local basketball fans are familiar with Bethea. He transferred from Grambling State to Chico State last year and played one season with the Wildcats helping them reach the Elite Eight. He says his time with Chico State helped prepare him for the G-League.
"Coming off the bench really prepared me for the next level because at the next level I come off the bench and you know Coach Clink is a great guy, he taught me a lot," said Bethea.
Bethea is back in Chico this weekend, spending the NBA and G-League All-Star break by rooting on his former team as they make a push to the postseason.
"It feels good, the love is amazing, the fans are amazing, everybody is here is amazing, they've welcomed me with open arms you know, it feels good," said Bethea.
But when the All-Star break concludes, it'll be back to the grind for Bethea as he'll head to Reno for the second half of the season.
"Just looking to get better every day, every game just trying to do good. I don't think I'll ever stop, I think that I'll always keep pushing to try and get to the NBA or just try to get to a higher level of basketball," said Bethea.