The newest member of the Denver Nuggets comes with quite a nickname and some infectious energy.
Nah'Shon "Bones" Hyland was Denver's pick, the No. 26 pick in Thursday's NBA Draft. Hyland, a 6-foot-3 shooting guard, played two seasons at Virginia Commonwealth University and was the Atlantic 10 Player of the Year in his second season. If he was able to play in an NCAA Tournament – the 2020 tournament was canceled and the Rams had to forfeit in 2021 due to COVID-19 protocols – Hyland said he felt like he would have been a top-10 pick. He came into the night thinking his range was between pick 14 and 23 but wasn’t bummed about being available at 26.
“If everything went how it should’ve went, I would have probably been a top-10 pick for sure, but I’m glad I’m with the Nuggets,” a visibly excited Hyland said on Zoom call with the media. “I don’t care about nothing else. Nuggets, baby, I’m here.”
Hyland averaged 19.5 points, 4.7 rebounds, 2.1 assists and 1.9 steals as a sophomore and shot 37.1% from 3-point range on nearly eight attempts per game. He scored 30 or more points three times last season, including a 31-point effort against Western Carolina when he made 6 of 11 3-pointers. He was selected to the Atlantic 10 All-Rookie Team after he posted 9 points, 2.2 rebounds and 1.8 assists, shooting 43.4% from 3, as a freshman for the Rams.
“He’s got a nose for scoring the ball. He’s got in-the-arena range. He’s got extremely deep range. He’s one of the better shooters that we saw in this draft, and he’s got a flexibility and creativity to his game that’s not super common right now. He’s a guy you can tell grew up playing on playgrounds and playing a lot of basketball,” Nuggets president of basketball operations Tim Connelly said.
“He’s got a whole lot of things he brings to the table, and it will be fun to see how he develops and how we can help achieve his best potential.”
The Wilmington, Del. native was the state’s Player of the Year following his senior season at St. Georges Technical High School. He chose VCU over Connecticut, Boston College, Temple and others, according to his VCU bio.
After his junior season at St. Georges, Hyland had to jump from a second-story window to escape a house fire that killed his grandmother and a young cousin, according to Delaware Online. Hyland escaped with a torn patellar tendon.
The full nickname, according to a Richmond Times-Dispatch story, is “Bizzy Bones,” a nod to his slight frame and penchant for getting busy on the court. He’s also dabbled with music in his spare time and rapped for the Nuggets’ executives during a pre-draft interview.
“I would say the Nuggets is probably my favorite (interview), though, honestly,” Hyland said.
“I rapped in there. I just felt a different type of vibe with the coaches and the staff that was in there. It was like they knew they was drafting me, honestly, when I went in there for an interview. It was just like ‘Wow.’ I felt like I belonged with them. I feel like I’m going to get along with them.”
Throughout the draft process, Hyland said his game was compared to the likes of Immanuel Quickley, Jamal Crawford, Ja Morant and Trae Young. But none of those players, he thinks, is a perfect comparison.
“I don’t really compare myself to nobody. I don’t like to mold myself, my game, after nobody as well. I feel as though I’m very unique in my own way,” Hyland said.
“I feel as though I’m very unique. I’m not like no other. I’m just Bones Hyland.”
The 26th pick was Denver's only selection in the draft.
“He’s got a creative offensive game, and he just loves to play ball. He’s a hooper, and we’ve had some good luck with those types of guys,” Connelly said.
“We felt like energetically and culturally, he’s a guy who really fits kind of who we are.”