As NBA 2020-21 season set to begin, Gastonia has 2 players in league at same time for 1st time since 1995

By Richard Walker

Hassan Whiteside

For the first time since the 1990s, Gaston County will have more than one local product on NBA rosters.

Veteran Hassan Whiteside, a Gastonia native who attended Ashbrook, Forestview and Hunter Huss high schools, was expected to make the Sacramento Kings’ roster after signing a one-year guaranteed contract on Nov. 27, but undrafted rookie Nate Hinton defied long odds by making the Dallas Mavericks’ 17-player roster.

It marks the first time since April 1995 that Gastonia has had two active players in the league at the same time.

That was when 1978 Huss graduate Eric “Sleepy” Floyd was in the last of his 13 NBA seasons and 1986 Ashbrook High graduate Darrell Armstrong was in the first of his 16 NBA seasons; Armstrong is about to begin his 13th season as a Mavericks’ assistant coach.

That ended a 13-year stretch of having two Gastonia players on NBA rosters that began in the 1982-83 season with Floyd and 1979 Ashbrook graduate James Worthy.

Nate Hinton

Whiteside averaged 11.5 points, 9.0 rebounds and 3.0 blocks in two preseason games for the Kings, who open their season at the Denver Nuggets Wednesday night at 9 p.m. Whiteside missed two preseason games with a right calf strain.

Originally drafted in the second round of the 2010 draft by Sacramento, Whiteside has played for the Kings (2010-12), the Miami Heat (2014-19) and the Portland Trail Blazers (2019-20) during his eight-year NBA career.

Hinton, a 2018 Gaston Day graduate who also played at Forestview, averaged 3.3 points, 3.3 rebounds and 1.3 assists in three preseason games for the Mavericks, who open at the Phoenix Suns Wednesday night at 10:30 p.m.

Hinton has been signed to a two-way contract, meaning he will move back and forth between the Mavericks and their G-League affiliate, the Texas Legends, once that season gets started.