Kellen Thornton put up bigger numbers while playing at Tennessee State.
But Saturdays 108-80 victory over the Reno Bighorns wasnt about statistics for Thornton.
No, for the 24-year-old forward from Chicago, Saturdays game was about enjoying the moment.
It felt good to be out there, Thornton said.
A little more than a week ago, Thornton was gearing up for his pro debut after being selected by the Stampede in the second round of this years NBA Development League Draft.
Then, one day before Idahos opener, Thornton left practice and was taken to the hospital.
I had a little heart trouble. It was like a tightness in my chest, and I couldnt catch my breath, Thornton said. But once I got to the hospital and got hooked up to the oxygen, it got better.
Understandably, the episode was alarming for Thornton.
Yeah, it scared me half to death, really, he said.
Coach Michael Peck proceeded with caution, and held Thornton out of Idahos first two games. He chose to sit Thornton until he was cleared to play by the Portland Trail Blazers staff. Portland is the single NBA affiliate of the Stampede.
After passing all of the Trail Blazers tests Thornton returned to practice with Idaho last week without any issues.
That, in turn, cleared the way for Thornton to play Saturday.
I was a little nervous at first, Im not going to lie, but once I got my first basket, that kind of calmed my nerves and I was ready to go, the 6-foot-7, 242-pounder said.
Peck wants to bring Thornton along slowly early in the season, so he limited his minutes. Still, Thornton made an impact in his 13-plus minutes, with six points, four rebounds, an assist and a steal.
Hes got good ball skills, young legs and he can get off the ground, Peck said of Thornton, who led Tennessee State in scoring and rebounding his senior season. Plus, hes strong. He has great hands and can rebound, so thats why we need to start getting him some minutes early in the season. Were going to need him as the season progresses.
Idaho has 47 games remaining on its regular-season schedule for Thornton to develop.
Saturday, however, was about being out on the floor for the first time in a Stampede uniform.
Tonights game really showed that Im back, and that felt good, Thornton said. Now Im ready for the next one.