Initially, Prosper wanted to place himself and the four dozen family members and friends who would be on hand to support him on his big day in a specific section of the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, NY, but those plans were dashed when Prosper received a crucial last-minute call from the NBA that he and some of his family members would get to sit in the prestigious green room.
The green room is the area near the stage where the crème de la crème of the 2023 draft class hangs around before and during the draft. It is also known as the spot reserved for the who’s who of that draft class.
Essentially, in the eyes of the NBA, Prosper had elevated himself to green room status after his stock rose during his many impressive showings at pre-draft workouts.
“Being in the green room, it was a great honor to be there,” Prosper said. “Knowing that I was in the green room, that’s something as a kid you look at everybody in the green room.
Prosper heard NBA Commissioner Adam Silver call his name as being selected No. 24 overall in the first round by the Sacramento Kings. But a short time later, the Dallas Mavericks stepped in and acquired Prosper in a trade with the Kings.
For Prosper, it was like a deal made in heaven. It’s because of the 17 teams he worked out for while driving around the country—and to Toronto—during his busy pre-draft workout schedule that he truly fell in love with the Mavs and hoped this was where his NBA -journey would begin.
“The first thing for me was the people (with the Mavs),” Prosper said during Monday’s introductory news conference with the Dallas media, which was held at the Mavs’ practice facility. “I came here and (Mavs general manager) Nico (Harrison) bought me dinner with (assistant general manager) Michael Finley.
“And it just shows how people are. I felt welcome. They embraced me here.”
And that’s not the only thing that made Prosper feel right at home.
“My training was one-on-one training, but just the coaches and everybody else, it felt right,” he said. “Everyone was welcoming.
A 6-8, 230-pound forward, Prosper averaged 12.5 points and 4.7 rebounds for Marquette this past season. Since the draft, he’s tried to soak up everything that comes with being a coveted first-round draft pick, but also stay focused on what’s next.
“I’ve been trying to take it all in, stay in the moment and enjoy the whole experience,” Prosper said. “This is something you work for your whole life – to be here.
“So you have to cherish and celebrate every moment. Now the draft party is over. Now it’s time to get to work and get ready for summer league.”
But before Prosper joins the Mavs on their summer league team in Las Vegas – that’s from 7-17. July – he was very grateful to the people who watched over him and helps guide him on his journey to Dallas.
“Family and coaches and friends — you need everybody,” Prosper said. “You can’t do it yourself.
“It’s been great. I’m happy to be down here in Dallas.”
Prosper’s bloodlines suggest he was destined for the NBA. Prosper’s mother (Guylaine) and father (Gaetan) were both multiple All-Stars at Concordia University in Montreal, Canada, where he grew up. Guylaine Prosper also competed for the Canadian women’s national basketball team.
In addition, Prosper’s sister, Cassandre, is a 6-2 freshman guard at Notre Dame who played on Canada’s U16 national team in 2021 and on its U17 national team in 2022. She also made the FIBA Americas Cup All-Star Five Team in 2021 and 2022.
“First of all, I’m the better player,” Prosper said, smiling. “Me and my sister, we train together. We just have a special bond. Seeing what we’re doing now and knowing that when we were kids we talked about what we’re doing now all the time, it’s amazing.
“When she sees what she’s doing now, the process is going in the right direction for her. She wants to play in the WNBA and I know she will just because of her work ethic and her dedication and hard work. I’m just there to guide her.”
To himself, Prosper is a renaissance man who speaks English, Spanish, French and Haitian Creole. By all accounts, the Mavs’ hierarchy believes he is a well-rounded individual who has a good head on his shoulders.
“You have to have people around you who tell you what you need to hear, not what you want to hear,” Prosper said. “Trust them to transition, and you trust people who have been through it.”
Asked what advice he would offer other young athletes, Prosper said, “The biggest key is finding people who you know have your best interest at heart heart and people who know you best, people who have been with you since day one, who have seen you fail, who have seen your highs, who have seen your lows. These are the people you want around you. People who stayed with you through those times.
“The biggest thing I tell the young kids too is believe in yourself. There’s going to be a lot of people out there, a lot of new people saying this and that. People are going to criticize you left and right. It’s about you self.”
When discussing Prosper and the Mavs’ other first-round pick — center Dereck Lively II — Harrison explained that he was sold on more than just their athleticism.
“I think if you just boil it down to just athletics, I think you miss the big picture and also miss who they really are,” Harrison said. “I think both are good on and off the field and I think they are defensive as well.
While defense may be Prosper’s calling card, he’s also a huge energy guy.
“Defensively, I’m a guy who can guard multiple positions. . .and offensively, I can knock down open shots and that can put pressure in the paint,” he said. “I’m big on energy. Many of them could be high fives, screaming for a last-minute block. Anything to bring energy to the team. That’s what I want to bring.
“Energy is contagious and a guy like me, anything I can do to help my team . . . that’s just how I play this game. You’ve got to play and leave it all out there and you’ve got to be happy And have fun.”
Prosper, who turns 21 on July 3, is also looking forward to playing alongside Mavs four-time All-Star point guard Luka Doncic.
“He’s an unselfish player. He’s a player who wants to pass it and create. I’m just excited to play with a guy like that and learn from him and just compliment him.”
Prosper is also a man of perfect timing. When asked what he knew about the Mavs, he drew laughter when he said, “One of the first series I saw in the (NBA) Finals was in 2011, (Miami) Heat vs. Dallas. I was only nine years old.
“At that point, I saw guys like coach (Jason) Kidd with Dirk (Nowitzki), against guys like LeBron (James) and (Dwyane) Wade, and you think, ‘This is where you’re going to get to.’
It’s a blessing that Prosper hopes will help him thrive as a rookie and beyond.
“Right now, my goal is to grow and learn as much as I can — especially now with summer league — and help this team as much as I can in my rookie season,” he said. “Obviously, the goal is to win the championship, but there are steps to that.
“So for me right now, my goal is just to get as good as I can, prepare as much as I can to get better and help this team as much as I can.”
And keep those memories of the green room tucked away safely in his memory bank.
“To be honest,” Prosper said, “it was a great feeling to be a part of the green room experience.”