Pro basketball:

Stanback grateful for Nuggets’ opportunity, however limited the minutes


Sam Morris / Las Vegas Sun

Former UNLV swingman Chace Stanback plays with Denver against New Orleans Wednesday, July 17, 2013 during the NBA Summer League at Cox Pavilion.

NBA Summer League - Chace Stanback

Former UNLV swingman Chace Stanback laughs on the bench while playing with Denver against New Orleans Wednesday, July 17, 2013 during the NBA Summer League at Cox Pavilion. Launch slideshow »

There are no records that indicate former Rebel Chace Stanback has played a single minute in this year’s NBA Summer League. And "Chace Stanbeck," (the misspelling listed on the Denver Nuggets’ roster) isn’t doing much better. He’s played six minutes.

The typo is a small error that reflects the huge gap between where Stanback currently sits and where he’d like to be. Getting an invitation to the Summer League was nice but if it doesn’t lead to anything — and at this stage it’s unlikely it will — then it’s just another thing Stanback feels he must overcome.

“Everybody wants to play,” Stanback said. “Unfortunately that’s not the case for me.”

Stanback’s six minutes all came in Denver’s loss Tuesday night, dropping the Nuggets to 0-3. However, as he watched from the bench, the Nuggets bounced back to win Wednesday in the first round of the Summer League’s new tournament format.

The Nuggets won 87-82 against the New Orleans Pelicans, who played without second-round pick Pierre Jackson because the Desert Pines grad has pinkeye. Since it’s contagious they elected to keep him away from the bench.

In the year since ending his UNLV career, Stanback has seen a few different sides of the basketball world. His first professional job was with Asvel Villeurbanne in France, where he played for about a month.

“It was a huge culture shock for me,” Stanback said. “It took me awhile to get used to their system and, unfortunately, I wasn’t able to finish out the year for them.”

He was cut but eventually caught on with another team, the Erie BayHawks of the NBA Developmental League. Stanback played 12 games for the team, averaging six points in 16 minutes per game.

Since then Stanback has been working to stay in shape. That was it until he got a call from his agent in the week leading up to the Summer League. The BayHawks are affiliated with the Nuggets, and the organization wanted Stanback to have one of its roster spots in Las Vegas.

While the games haven’t been what he was hoping for, Stanback said, the practices give him confidence moving forward.

“In practice I’m holding my own, I’m knocking down jumpers just like anyone else on the team,” he said. “Unfortunately, I just haven’t been given the opportunity to play.”

Still, he said, the Nuggets coaching staff has been very positive.

“They’ve been really helpful and very encouraging even though I haven’t been able to play,” Stanback said. “They always tell me to keep my head up.”

The Nuggets play again Thursday at 3 p.m. against the Toronto Raptors in the Cox Pavilion. Another win would advance them further in the bracket while a loss would drop them into the consolation. Two defeats and Denver’s done, leaving Stanback once again without a clear path to realize his dream of playing professional basketball.

Even if he doesn’t play another minute or get his name fixed in the box score, Stanback said he’s grateful for the opportunity the Nuggets gave him.

“Just for the experience, the exposure,” Stanback said. “People seeing me, seeing that I’m out here. I’m still fighting.”

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