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'I just tell him to stay confident' | Spurs' Vassell urging rookie Josh Primo to be ready

"He comes in and puts in the work," Devin Vassell.

SAN ANTONIO — Spurs rookie guard Joshua Primo is on the path many young players have taken in their first steps as a pro in San Antonio.

They spend most of their first year making frequent trips to and from San Antonio and Austin, suiting up for both the G League and the NBA teams.

However, as the season moves forward, Primo is seeing more time in San Antonio than Austin.

It's allowing him to get valuable NBA minutes on the court or sitting on the San Antonio bench absorbing what it takes to make it in the NBA.

And it is paying off from what his teammate, Devin Vassell, is seeing from Primo. 

"I think his confidence is growing," Vassell said. "I think each and every day he comes in and puts in the work."

Credit: AP
San Antonio Spurs' Josh Primo celebrates after a three-point basket during the second half of a preseason NBA basketball game against the Utah Jazz on Monday, Oct. 4, 2021, in San Antonio. (AP Photo/Darren Abate)

Vassell did not have the opportunity to experience the Austin-San Antonio trek in his rookie year.

He stayed with San Antonio and was not assigned to the G League bubble last season but can only imagine what Primo goes through.

"Being a rookie is tough," Vassell said. "Especially in a situation where you're up and down in the G League. It's tough."

RELATED: Spurs rookie Primo finds three point shooting inspiration from Pacers legend

Primo has been making the most of this time in San Antonio.

On Dec. 7, he recorded four blocks and three steals against the Suns. He joined Dwight Howard (2004) as the only two 18-year-olds ever in NBA history with four-plus blocks and three-plus steals in a game.

He's currently averaging 2.5 points per game including 1.1 rebounds, and 50-percent shooting in 7.9 minutes per game in 10 games played.

He has a season-high in points with nine against Detroit on Dec. 26 and is showing confidence not found in many 19-year old NBA players.

"I just tell him to stay confident. Stay ready. Stay prepared," Vassell said. "When his number is called he has to make sure he is ready."

RELATED: 'I love how he plays defense' | Austin head coach applauds Spurs' Josh Primo's defense, physicality

That kind of talk from Vassell is what Primo enjoys about the second-year pro. He looks at Vassell as a mentor after their time on the Spurs 2021 Summer league squad.

And just like any mentor, Vassell is upfront with the fan-favorite Primo about seizing his opportunity with the San Antonio squad.

"If you mess up, that could be that last opportunity that you have," said Vassell. "I just keep telling him to be ready when your number is called." 

Twitter: @KENS5, @JeffGSpursKENS5

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